Happy New Year, everybody!
I hope 2014 turns out to be all that you wished for – not only in culinary terms, but in your personal and professional endeavours, too!
Now, on to my first post of this year: gluten-free yeast-based sweet dough.
Back in the day when I still ate gluten, one of my favorite things to eat fresh from the bakery was Challah (Hefezopf) or raisin buns. Around November a lot of the bakeries also sell men made out of this dough, with raisins for eyes and a ceramic pipe or a small red lollipop in hand. All of these things are essentially made from the same sweet yeast-based dough. The thing is: they are best when fresh out of the oven. So naturally, I had to learn how to make these. You can’t really buy gluten-free versions of these. The raisin buns, the challah and also the men with their pipe, called Weckmänner, are big childhood memories. The dough is soft, and not too sweet. I love eating it with butter, with cream cheese or simply on its own. Either way: it’s delicious and whatever baked good you end up on hand with, they make a lovely base for French toast. Been there, done that, definitely doing it again!
350g gluten-free flour mix (I used one half Harina de Reposteria by Adpan which I ordered online from www.glutyfreeshop.de and one half Konditormehl by Hammermühle)
180ml warm milk
1 package gluten-free dry yeast
½ tsp salt
chopped almonds (I used the ones in the form of tiny sticks)
whipping cream (for brushing the challah, buns or men)
In a bowl, combine the gluten-free dry yeast, the sugar and the warm milk. Whisk until the yeast has diluted. Add the egg and mix well. Add the butter. In another bowl, combine the gluten-free flours, the sugar and the salt. Add the butter and the gluten-free flour-mix to the yeast-milk liquid and knead into a smooth dough. Add the raisins. Let rest overnight at room temperature, covered with a damp cloth.
Heat your oven to 190 °C. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Sift a bit of flour onto the dough and with clean fingers divide into three balls. Roll each ball out into a snake and place next to each other on baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between each. Fold the three dough rolls into a braid. Garnish with chopped almonds and brush generously with whipping cream.
Bake your challah at 190 °C for twenty five minutes, until golden brown and done inside.
For buns, roll the dough into a bit larger than golf-sized balls, omit sprinkling with chopped almonds and generously brush with the whipped cream.
For the men: take out a piece of dough, approximately the size of an orange, form the head and the belly. Make four incisions into the belly and from there on form the legs and the arms. Use Reese’s Pieces, gluten-free Smarties or raisins for the eyes.
For French Toast: beat two eggs into a bowl, add about 100 ml milk. Cut challah into thick slices and one by one soak them in the egg-milk-mixture. Heat up a pan with butter, add french toast slices and fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup, or cinnamon and sugar.