Gluten Free Brioche Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on February 13, 2012

Post image for Gluten Free Brioche Recipe First of all, I have to come clean here on this gluten free recipe – I haven’t actually tasted “regular” brioche since going gluten free almost 2 decades ago, so I had to rely on references to what brioche should be like to know if this recipe came close.

So I did my homework and determined the characteristics of brioche then compared my recipe to what my research turned up.

  • Yeast bread enriched with butter and eggs… Check.
  • Slightly sweet… Check.
  • Tender crumb… Check.
  • Dark golden crust… Check.

Is this brioche just like one you would buy from a bakery in Paris? I don’t know. What I do know is that this gluten free brioche is absolutely delicious!

It produces a rich loaf of bread that is not too soft and not too dense and that lasts for days! Perfect for sandwiches, French toast and bread pudding. Perfect just sliced and eaten (especially warm).

I had seen a recipe going around the internet for Brioche however the copious amounts of cornstarch turned me off and the recipe lacked eggs which, along with butter, is what makes brioche, “brioche”! I can understand subbing-out dairy free butter for the butter but I can’t see how a bread recipe without eggs can be considered brioche. It may be lovely bread but I am not sure I would call it brioche.

So I went and studied traditional brioche recipes, came up with a plan and then I tested and tested and tested – painstakingly changing one thing at a time and retesting until I came up with this recipe. I played with flours, adjusted ingredients and rising times and even tested different pan sizes and shapes.

I always like to share the process with you in case you’re interested. I believe that understanding what goes into a recipe and why helps you use the recipe for a springboard in case you want to go off and come up with your own creation.

Brioche is yeast bread that is enriched with butter and eggs. Use the best butter you can get or, if you’re dairy-free, use a good quality butter substitute. The eggs actually add a lot of flavor so again, use really good eggs.  I prefer to use organic, cage free, pastured eggs, feed pure grains with no animal fats or by-products – mine were from Nature’s Yolk – fresh from the Amish farm lands in Pennsylvania.

Brioche is also a little sweet. I made the bread with agave, honey and sugar. As much as I wanted the agave recipe to be the best, the one with sugar won the blind taste tests. But if you don’t eat refined sugar, agave is a great substitute. Honey came in third but still made an awesome loaf of bread.

To keep the bread light enough in texture, it requires starch. I tried potato, tapioca and a combination of the two. Tapioca alone produced the best crumb.

To make the bread a little denser and to add some whole grain goodness I used superfine brown rice flour. I actually didn’t test it with white rice flour but making an educated guess I would say it would work just fine as long as it is super fine. What I wouldn’t use is brown rice flour that isn’t milled really finely; I think it would be too heavy.

I tried making the dough in a stand mixer with the whisk and paddle attachment and in the food processor. They all worked but the easiest was using the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I didn’t try mixing by hand, I love you all very much but I am way too lazy to mix dough with a spoon. You could do it if you put some elbow grease into it.

Loaf pan size seemed to make a difference, the best was an 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pan, the bread rose higher and the sides were straighter. Since my husband likes a high crust ratio I tried baking it in a ring mold – it was ok by a little dry. Letting the bread cool in the pan after baking is essential, the added structure of the pan helps the sides not cave in.

One of the challenges was getting a deep brown crust and having the inside of the bread not come out too wet. Making a ¼ deep slit down the middle (lengthwise) of the loaf helped allow steam to escape while baking handling the wetness and doing a double coating of egg wash (an egg beaten with about a tablespoon of water) and baking the bread in the lower third of the oven produced a beautiful crust. Before baking I brushed the top of the loaf with egg wash, let it sit for 5 minutes and then brushed it again.

You don’t want to rush this recipe – when blending in the butter, take your time. Blend the butter in 1 tablespoon at a time until it is fully incorporated. Don’t try to hurry this along with melted butter (tried that!) believe me when I say this makes all the difference. Take the time to let all your ingredients come to room temperature first, the eggs and butter need about half an hour. And this recipe requires two risings. It seems that I could be a little loose with rising times. Two hours seemed perfect for the first but once I forgot and it rose for almost an hour longer, everything was fine. I also tried doing a long second rise in the fridge overnight and to my delight, it worked great! Such a great thing if you want to have freshly baked bread in the morning!

After I perfected the recipe I tried doubling the recipe because heck, if you are gonna make bread why not make 2 loaves instead of one? It worked perfectly! I even tried using the dough for a simple cinnamon bun – more on that in a later post.

The really great news is that while coming up with the recipe was complicated; the recipe itself is very straight forward and simple. Yes, it takes a little to make the dough and then there are those two risings but it is not at all difficult and it rises unattended.

Gluten Free Bread - Brioche

Gluten Free Brioche Recipe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon dry active yeast
5 tablespoons sugar (or agave nectar or honey)
¼ cup warm (not hot) water
2/3 cup superfine brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
4 large organic pastured eggs – use divided
9 tablespoons unsalted butter (or dairy free butter) at room temperature – use divided

Directions

Combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and warm water in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 6 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer whisk together the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar, xanthan gum and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Put the bowl in the mixer and mix on low speed to combine. Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg in thoroughly. Add 8 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until the butter is fully incorporated. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat for another minute or two until the dough is smooth. Scape the dough into a clean mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and let sit in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. If it looks a bit more than doubled, that’s ok.

Butter an 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pan with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Make sure you really coat the pan well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into the pan evenly. With a wet spatula, smooth the top. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 45 minutes. (To do a cool rise in the fridge, cover the pan with a tea towel and let rise in the refrigerator from 2 to 24 hours. When ready to bake, uncover the pans and let the pans sit at room temperature for 15 minutes while the oven preheats.)

Place the rack of the oven in the bottom third and preheat to 350 degrees.

Cut a slit about ¼ inch deep down the center of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor blade dipped into some tapioca starch. Mix the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water, whisking well. Brush the mixture onto the top of the loaf, let sit for 5 minutes then brush again with the egg wash. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the bread is deeply golden brown and the bread sounds a little hollow when tapped. Let cool in the pan for 15 – 120 minutes.

The bread stays moist for several days. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Servings

A gluten free recipe that makes 1 loaf of bread eight inch by four inch.

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Categories:    Breads
  • Mary

    do you think potato starch would work in place of tapioca starch?

    • Carol Kicinski

      I did try it with potato starch and it was heavier but still very good.

  • http://www.wheatfreemeatfree.com Kalinda

    Looks gorgeous Carol. As per usual, stunning pictures. The gluten-free community is lucky to have an ardent recipe tester like you.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Oh thank you so much Kalinda!

  • http://www.glutenfreespinner.com/ Mary Glutenfreespinner

    Beautiful! I’m so excited to try your recipe…thank you so much for sharing as well as going through the process. Hooooray for Brioche! And hooray for you!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks so much Mary!

  • http://elegantlyglutenfree.com Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free

    A beautiful idea that sounds delicious, too.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thank you Pat!

  • Sharon

    This looks heavenly! I’m going to give it a try this weekend!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Enjoy Sharon!

  • http://intolerantchef.blogspot.com InTolerantChef

    Thanks for doing all the hard work so we can just enjoy the fruits of your labour!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Aww, my pleasure!

  • Kerry Smith

    Did you try it using your flour? I have lots of that on hand and would love to use it in baking bread!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Kerry,
      I did not try it yet but I see no reason why it would not work. In fact I am thinking it would be even lighter. I try not to make my blog an advertisiment for my flour so I offer other options :)

      This and the French Bread recipe would be good ones for my flour.

      Enjoy!

  • Julie Tien

    Do you think I could do this in my breadmaker?

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Julie,

      I haven’t tried it yet but I think you could. If you do it, let me know!

  • http://www.glutenfreediet100.com Chloe Boggs

    Wow, looks delicious, love to try this in the morning, the recipe is easy and simple to make. Good way to start the morning a gluten free diet. Thanks for this!

  • http://death.bychocolate@rocketmail.com Cedar

    This will be the next recipe of yours for me to try. So far, I have loved everyone I have made. Very impressed with you and your ability to come up with such great recipes. Thanks so much.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Aww, thank you so much Cedar!

  • Sowmya

    Can I use white rice flour instead of brown rice flour??

    • Carol Kicinski

      Yes! I was trying to add some whole grain in there but white would work very well.

  • sally

    I just made the bread it raised really nice in the oven but sunk when I took it out.. I did not use rice flour but sorghum I also, use instant yeast….. Hubby loves the taste and the texture is great, it is done in the middle and very golden brown. Can you tell why? Thanks sally

    • Carol Kicinski

      I would have to play around with that s I used rice flour and not sorghum – my off the cuff thought is you would need to add some more starch to give it more structure. Also I am not sure if the instant yeast would make a iffernce or not. I am going to have to look at this further.

      • sally

        Thanks I also used to big of a bread pan? Making it again and going to use the right size… I have check into instant yeast they only need one rise no proofing, it may also be oven getting a new one soon. I will add some more starch to this batch and let you know. just me sal

        • Carol Kicinski

          Great, thanks Sally – oven temp can play a big role – I have 2 ovens, 1 is 25 degrees too cold and 1 is 50 degrees too hot! I always use an oven thermometor.

          • sally

            Sorry it took so long to write back,life got in the way. Ok second loaf came out great!!!! smaller pan, only one rise with instant yeast, and more starch flour about 3 tablespoons… This bread stays soft and dose not crumble at all. Thanks, got new stove tomorrow I will make another loaf…. Thanks so very much….

          • Carol Kicinski

            Thanks for reporting back Sally and YAY!!!!

  • Jean Daniel

    Thanks Carol. I am making your GF French Bread, replacing eggs with 2 Tbs Ground Flax Seed and 6 TBs water. This is the 1st GF Bread that isn’t too moist, taking ages to bake. But I have trouble with it being dry and travelling up onto bottom of beater stand. Think I need to add more liquid. Have 2 batches in oven at the moment. Would love your feedback.I hate that eggy pudding gone wrong bread that is sold. Thanks again Jean

    • Carol Kicinski

      I am a little confussed – are you asking me this about the french bread or brioche? My guess is if too dry, add just a bit more liquid. I have not tried either recipe without eggs personally but others have and left comments that when using egg replacer the dough need a little more liquid. Hope that helps.

  • Jean Daniel

    Asking about the French Bread. Will add a little more liquid next time. Many thanks for your help.
    Jean

    • Carol Kicinski

      My pleasure. Let me know what happens.

  • Carina

    do you know if I could make this in my bread maker? I just got a crusinart that has a gluten free cycle.

    • Carol Kicinski

      I think so but I am not a bread maker expert – sorry!

  • Simone

    Could you please convert your recipe into grams and mls.
    Many thanks.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Simone, there are many on line converters you can use to so this.

  • Jacque Sherman

    I made this bread yesterday in a Welbilt bread machine and it turned out great! I made the adding of ingredients match the order in the breadmakers instruction book with the softened butter last and set the machine to 1lb. loaf, basic bread and light crust. It was done when there was still 22 minutes left on the bake cycle, so watch the bread near the end. It looks just like your photo, has great texture and a very nice taste. I do not do gluten free as a rule, but am developing this recipe for family members who are, and this bread is delicious first and gluten free second. I’m going to try plain egg bread next and then pannetone.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks for letting us know how to do this in a bread machine – I get so many questions about this and now I can refer them to your comments! So happy you liked the bread and what a good family member you are!

  • Gayle

    I just made the brioche dough, but added about 2 extra tablespoons of rice flour. After it had risen I divided it in half and rolled eat half out on a piece of rice-floured parchment paper. I spread the dough gently with very soft butter. On one half I sprinkled a mixture of sugar and orange peel. I rolled that up, cut it into slices using dental floss, and placed in greased muffin tins to make orange rolls. When they’re cool I’ll frost them with a mixture of powdered sugar and orange juice. The other half I spread with butter and then with walnut filling. I rolled it up and formed it into a ring to make our traditional Swedish Tea Ring for breakfast Christmas morning. My newly GF daughter and I (15+ years celiac) tasted the orange rolls – excellent!! By far the softest and most flavorful sweet rolls I’ve made – and I’m an ardent baker.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Gayle. Wow your adaptaion sounds absolutly amazing! How lucky your family is. Happy Holidays to you all!

  • Kori

    We have been gf for almost a year now and up to this point I have just avoided baking. I’m feeling ambitious since it’s that holiday time of the year and I wanted to ask – if I use a gf flour mix (such as King Arthur all purpose) that has rice flour and tapioca mixed, do I still need to add tapioca or potato starch to your recipes? Or do I just add up the flours and go from there? I’m thinking Brioche french toast on Christmas morning!!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Kori – no, you can substitute a gf flour blend for the flours and starch. But even if your blend has xanthan gum, add it anyway. Good luck baking and Happy Holidays!

      • Kori

        Great!! Thank you!!

  • Cherry

    HELP! I’ve made this twice and it hasn’t risen either time. I made biscuits out of the first batch but I really wanted a loaf of bread this time. My yeast was foamy and I’ve double checked my ingredients and the amounts but its just not rising. I did the first rise in my gas oven without the heat on. What am I doing wrong? The biscuits were heavenly btw.

  • http://recipesdays.ru/ recipesdays

    This is so lovely. And looks delicious.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks so much!

  • http://www.nibblesnbites.com Jenn

    Made this today as a test for making King Cakes next month and the bread turned out fabulous! I’ve only recently gone wheat free and I was anticipating much more of a challenge. So glad to be wrong!

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and your process. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thank you so much Jenn and I am excited the recipe works for King Cakes! Good luck with your journey. Do uyou live in New Orleans per chance? One of my favorite cities!!! Laissez les bon temps rouler.

  • Deb

    I made your brioche recipe for the first time last night…I used white rice flour and made it in my Breadman bread machine on the gluten cycle. You have to watch it…doesn’t take as long to bake as the machine programs for! But I digress…I wanted to thank you. I have just recently gone gluten free. My decision came after trips to the ER and a week long hospitalization for still undiagnosed gut issues. I have been tested for Celiac three times, each time testing negative…the only thing that seems to help my symptoms is staying off gluten and processed foods. I cried for three days at the prospect of never eating bread, pasta, etc. again but mainly it was the loss of bread that crushed me. I realize now how addicted I was to all that destructive wheat. Your brioche was a revelation and again, I cried, but with joy. This tastes, smells, and has the texture of “regular” brioche. Eggy, buttery, sweet, light and crumbly!!! Sunday’s have become my baking day…next week I will tackle the French bread recipe. From the bottom of my heart–thank you!!! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Carol Kicinski

      My pleasure Deb and I am glad your tears have turned to tears of joy! It gets easier, trust me! And feeling better is so worth the effort.

  • Veronika

    can I use tapioca flour instead of starch?

    • Carol Kicinski

      Yes, it is the same thing. Enjoy!

  • Flower

    I made this bread today. It rose like crazy! I used tapioca flour (is that the same as starch??) and used 2 large chicken eggs and 2 small duck eggs. It baked VERY quickly! Liekin 15 minutes as opposed to 45. Good think I checked it when I did…even so it was a little brown, but looks just like the pic above, was very light and fluffy and pretty tasty! I will make this again and will monitor the time in the oven better next time. I wonder if my chick pea flour would work instead of the brown rice?? I will experiment! Thanks!

    • Carol Kicinski

      I have heard that duck eggs make things rise more. I have never used duck eggs so maybe what I hear is true! I think chick pea flour would be fine, it would just change the flavor a bit. And yes, tapioca starch and flour are the same thing.

  • Sherri

    I just made this bread this morning. It’s a keeper! My hubby loves it and says it tastes much better than the store bought gluten-free breads. Here’s the modifications I used (by accident), but it still turned out awesome:

    - I used salted butter and cut back on the salt in the recipe to 1/4 tsp.;
    - I used a 9 x 5 pan because I thought the batter wouldn’t fit in the smaller pan after it rose in the bowl;
    - I used 4 eggs in the recipe instead of using 3 and one for the outside of the bread (I wasn’t paying attention). I then basted the top of the bread with butter instead because I was out of eggs.

    I’ll definitely be baking this again, only following the recipe to a T. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thnaks Sherri, so happy you liked it. Sounds like your alterations worked out perfectly well :) Thank you for reporting back!!!

  • bo

    this is one of my favorite breads.
    Being wheat free and finding a good tasting bread and the texture on the plait that is not gretty or dry, has not been easy and a lot of waisting. NOT any more. I wonder how the calories are in this, any idea?
    thanks
    Bo

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Bo, thanks so much, Happy you enjoy the recipe. No, I have never calculated the calories, sorry!

  • Claire

    Hi, looking to try this recipe. Is it two thirds of a cup of brown rice flour or 2 to 3 cups? Thank you :-)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Claire, it is two thirds of a cup. Enjoy!

  • Jane

    Hi, I was wondering why the need for xanthan gum in the recipe? Jane

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Jane. Whenever you have yeast in a gf recipe you need structure to help hold it up. Often true with any gf bread or baked goods recipe but especially true with recipes that contain yeast. You could try guar gum or physillium husks if you like instead but I did not test the recipe that way.

  • Errnessitine

    Hi Carol, after incorporating the butter, would the dough be more of a liquid batter or a soft dough?

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