Tuesday, April 28, 2009



We have been having trials and tribulations with bread in general and challah specifically. The first week after Passover we settled for giving Lillie frozen Millet Bread from Food for Life purchased at Whole Food's near Hubby's work. She liked it not at all. I am very open about food and not "picky". But when I tasted it, I wanted to spit it out---it was awful! Instead I smiled and told her "not bad", in order that she wouldn't feel bad. The following week I picked up Food for Life brand Rice Bread at my local Stop n' Shop. It was about the same price as Whole Food's. It was a huge improvement. The look and texture are about the same as glutenny white bread. I tried it toasted, and at first bite it was quite good. Upon further chewing I did notice a mealy sort of texture that I now realize is part and parcel of some GF (gluten free) breads, as they lack the elasticity that results when strands of gluten form in wheat bread.

The second Shabbos I tried Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix
The mix is quite easy. You just add water, cider vinegar, 1 egg yolk and egg whites. I added 2 egg yolks, b/c after all it was supposed to look like challa. So, I am not sure how the true texture is supposed to be without the extra egg. I divided the batter into 4 mini loaf pans. The batter rose nicely and puffed up even more in the oven. Then it fell as it was cooling. The resulting loaf was similar to a brioche loaf, which I thought was a good thing, but Lillie did not as she doesn't know what a brioche tastes like, or even what it is for that matter! It was nice heated up and looked the part at least, but cold the next day it got quite dry. I have since learned that gluten free breads should remain frozen until ready to eat as they dry out, similar to rice left in the refrigerator. I do recommend this product though, it was easy, can be made either with a mixer or bread machine, tastes good and was reasonably priced.

I should mention that so far all the breads I have made so far, one cannot make Hamotzi on as they do not contain oat flour---the only gluten free flour on which one can say Hamotzi. Since Lillie is not obligated in mitzvos yet, it's OK for her. But check with your local Rabbi if you have any questions pertaining to this issue. I have ordered gluten-free oat flour this week from Lara's Cream Hill Estates. The best price I found was on Amazon.com with free shipping if I order $25 worth of eligible items on Amazon.com (which for me is not hard as I am a one-click ordering junkie). It is about 6x the price of the specialty high-gluten bread flour I normally use for challa, so we decided that I will not be making oat flour for the entire family (at least until I can find a cheaper source).

A fellow Celiac has developed a good recipe for oat challah which she says has a nice light texture due to the addition of seltzer. It appears on frumceliac.org. I look forward to trying it when my oat shipment arrives.

Today I tried a new recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free rice bread that I hope is not taste free. It comes from The Best Gluten Free Family Cookbook by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. I purchased it because it is supposed to have very good bread machine recipes.

It originally called for almond flour, which I replaced with white rice flour. I also made a change in the technique, as the author instructs you to mix the yeast in with the flour instead of proofing it first. I found the rise to be disappointing with this technique, so I follow a traditional method below:

A Nice Rice White Bread
This recipe is gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free.

1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 Tbsp. powdered egg replacer (such as Ener-G brand)
2 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. powdered yeast (1 packet)
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1 /3 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. cider vinegar.

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients, set aside.

2. Add yeast and sugar to water and stir. Wait 5 minutes and check if small bubbles appear on surface of water. If no bubbles form, your yeast is not active. Try a new packet of yeast. If bubbles form, you are good to go. Move on to the next step.

3. Add yeasty water, oil and vinegar to the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together with paddle attachment until well blended. With mixture on lowest speed, add dry ingredients slowly until combined. Stop mixture and scrape down sides with a rubber spatula, every so often. Beat for 4 minutes on medium speed. Dough will be sticky like cookie dough.

4. Spray a 9- inch by 5-inch loaf pan or 4 mini-loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon dough into prepared pan. Smooth top with damp fingers. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft free place for 60-75 minutes, or until dough has risen to top of pan.

5. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the pan immediately and let cool completely on rack.

Based on "Egg-Free, Corn-Free, Lactose-Free White Bread", p. 87. The Best Gluten Free Family Cookbook, Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, Robert Rose, Inc. 2005


  1. I am so impressed with how much you seemed to have learned, improvised, researched, baked, and baked again, in the short time since your daughter was diagnosed with celiac's. Wishing you lots of success in your challah-endeavors.

    A friend of mine with celiac's recommends "Beth's All Purpose Flour Mix" from Gluten Free Pantry brand. She adds Orgran's "Gluten Substitute." She uses these products, in lieu of flour, in the Basic Chocolate Cake recipe from the "Spice & Spirit" kosher cookbook. But I suppose they may work well for challah, as well?

  2. Thank you for your helpful product comments. I look forward to trying that flour mix!