We went to Disney World a few years ago. Let me tell you, that place is a racket. But, also let me tell you, it is the most fun and amazing racket EVER. Not only do they anticipate your every need (and charge you for it), but they are also miles ahead of the rest of the hospitality industry when it comes to catering to guests with food allergies or restrictions. I can't wait to go back and watch my son get to eat practically anything he wants while I enjoy my meal without the nagging worry that he might be getting accidentally glutened due to a kitchen that doesn't totally understand Celiac. If you have Celiac or have a kid who has Celiac, save up your pennies and plan your next vacation to Disney World. You will not be disappointed.
Anyhoo.... last time we went, we ate at Kona Cafe at The Polynesian and the whole family loved their GF Hawaiian Bread. It was sweet, soft, full of holes, and amazing with a light spread of butter. So, I was super-excited to find this recipe in "Gluten-Free and More" shortly after our trip. I've made it a few times and it doesn't disappoint. It's sort of like an egg bread or a challah.
Full disclosure, we have a combi oven that I love for so many reasons, but especially for how it bakes up my breads. The little bit of humidity that it adds to the bake turns out a consistently good crust. You do not need to have a combi oven to make this bread. I've used a regular oven as well... but if you do have a combi, by all means, please use it for this recipe.
Also, something to prep for... this bread has yeast in it which means you need to set aside some time for proofing and rising. Don't let it intimidate you. It's really not that tricky and you'll gain a world of kitchen confidence from being able to bake with yeast. A Thermapen will really come in handy with this recipe. It will ensure that you are proofing your yeast with the right temperature water and that your bread loaves are cooked all the way through.
Gluten-Free Hawaiian Sweet Bread, (makes 2 small boules)
1/2 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
2 tsps sugar
1 package Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast (2.25 tsps)
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 TBSP xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
3 TBSPs vegetable oil
3 large eggs, plus 1 more for an egg wash
1/2 cup warm milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease & flour two 6-inch round cake pans. Bring 1/2 cup of water to 105-110 degrees F. The temperature is truly important, so don't fake-it-until-you-make-it with this step. Be as precise as you can or your yeast will not proof properly. Combine warmed water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stir until sugar and yeast are dissolved. Cover with a dish towel and place bowl in a warm area for approx. 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in your stand mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, blend dry ingredients on low for approx. 3 minutes.
While dry ingredients are mixing, whisk together vegetable oil, eggs and warm milk in a separate bowl. At this point, your yeast mixture has probably been proofing for about 10 minutes. Take a peak under the kitchen towel. The mixture should have formed a foam head about an inch tall. Cooking is so cool, isn't it???
Time to combine it all into a dough. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and blend to combine. Once combined, add the yeast mixture and blend until the ingredients come together into a dough, about 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and very sticky.
Pour dough out evenly into the two cake pans. Wet your fingertips to spread out the dough into the pans. Place the two pans in a warm area to rise for 40 minutes. Dough should rise at least to the top of the pans. Again, isn't cooking so cool???
Once the bread has risen, score each loaf with a sharp knife, slicing about 1/4" into the dough. Brush both loaves with a light egg wash-- 1 egg plus 1 TBSP water, lightly whisked.
Place cake pans in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes. Rotate pans after about 15-20 minutes. The bread is done when the internal temperature is 195-200 degrees F and the bottom of the pan sounds hollow when tapped. Let bread cool slightly in pans before removing.