Thursday, December 17, 2020

Gluten Free Challah

This week I officially became an aunt (to a human)! I've been an aunt to my brother's dog Beau for a few years. My brother and sister-in-law get very upset if you say I wasn't an aunt before. But this week my sister-in-law gave birth to my nephew Dylan Scott Marshall, named after his maternal great-grandmother Dorothy and paternal great-grandfather Sheldon. He's literally the cutest baby, even when he cries. And he has the cutest big cheeks, which def come from me because I'm the only one in the family with big cheeks. Covid complicates things because I can't just go and see him, so for right now I'm settling for lots of pics and facetime. But I cannot wait to spoil that baby! My mom always called my brother "Muff" or Muffin Man, I was princess pie (and she wonders why I'm a JAP) and my sister baby cake. So I think we need to start calling Dylan mini-muffin, or maybe some other baked good. Knowing my brother who has given Beau a million names including Beau-Beau, Beausy, Snoop Dog, Snoop.... and the list goes on.... we will probably never cause Dylan by his actual name.

I've never baked anything gluten free before. But we are having a healthy holiday bake-off at work and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make a gluten free challah! I probably need to do a little more experimenting with the recipe. But not bad for a first attempt!

Recipe: (makes 1 large challah)
3/4 cup water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sugar
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough, 1 for baste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1.75 cups gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour that contains some xanthan gum)
1.75 cups almond flour

Mix 3/4 cup water, 2 1/4 tsp yeast4 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp of sugar in a mixing bowl. Place in a warm place. This could be next to a window that gets sunlight, or I like to place it in a warm oven and then turn off the oven. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam.

In a separate bowl mix 2 eggs and 1/4 cup oil. Add to the yeast mixture after it has foamed. Add salt,  xanthan gum, gluten free flour, and almond flour. Make sure you mix the flour as you are adding it. Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands. Knead dough into a ball.

Oil the large bowl and then roll the ball of dough in the oil. This prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises. Place the ball back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place. Let the bowl sit for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. The gluten free challah dough won't get as large as usual.

Remove dough from bowl and knead to get out all the air.

Separate the dough and roll out each ball into a strand. I did a six strand challah, but you can do whatever shape you want. Gluten free challah dough is much harder to braid and the strands kept breaking. The dough was almost like clay in that I kept trying to piece it back together or smooth the cracks. 

After braiding the challah, either butter a cookie sheet or use parchment paper and place on a pan and cover with plastic wrap and allow the challah to rise for at least 30 minutes in a warm place. This allows the dough to rise again.

Baste with egg wash (1 egg mixed).

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 or until internal temperature is around 170. If the top of the challah is getting too dark or hard then place a piece of foil on top of it while the inside continues to cook.

Not bad for my first time cooking gluten free!


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