Recipe Image
Carol Kicinski
Brioche is a delicious type of bread that you don’t have to say goodbye to, even if you’re gluten-free!

Gluten-free basics: Brioche

Author Byline Image   First of all, I have to come clean and admit 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 went through a trial and error process to come up with this recipe. Here’s what I discovered.
   Brioche is yeast bread enriched with butter and eggs, so be sure to use high-quality butter and eggs. Brioche is also a little sweet. I tried making 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 dense enough and to add some whole grain goodness, I used superfine brown rice flour – it’s important to get superfine milled flour over regular-milled flour, or it will 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 the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I didn’t try mixing by hand, but you could probably do it
Gluten-Free Brioche
Makes 1 loaf
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
   Combine yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and warm water in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Let sit until foamy, about 6 minutes.
   In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the flour, tapioca starch, remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, xanthan gum, and salt. Make a well in the center and add yeast mixture. Put the bowl in the mixer and mix on low speed to combine. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg in thoroughly. Add 8 tablespoons 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 1-2 minutes, 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.
   Coat an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan very well with the remaining tablespoon butter. Scrape batter into prepared pan. With a wet spatula, smooth the top evenly. Cover with a tea towel and let rise 45 minutes. (To do a cool rise in the fridge, cover pan with a tea towel and let rise in the refrigerator 2 to 24 hours. When ready to bake, uncover the pan and let 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 F.
   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 water, whisking well. Brush the egg wash onto the top of the loaf, let sit for 5 minutes then brush again. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread is deeply golden brown and the bread sounds a little hollow when tapped. Let cool in the pan 15 to 20 minutes.
   The bread stays moist for several days. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
with enough elbow grease.
   The best loaf pan size was an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan, the bread rose higher and the sides were straighter. Letting the bread cool in the pan after baking is essential, the added structure of the pan helps the sides not cave in.
   You don’t want to rush this recipe. It’s very straight forward and simple, but make sure you follow directions carefully, as every step has a specific purpose. Believe me when I say this makes all the difference.
   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 or just sliced and eaten as-is (especially warm).