If I were to tell you that Babka had anything to do with my families Christmas traditions I would be lying. But, what I can tell you, is that my mother is an inspiring woman. She’s beyond creative and every year Christmas breakfast was (and is) always something to look forward to. Be it popovers, cinnamon rolls, fancy omelets or whatever else she dreams up, matched with the perfectly decorated table. This year, I will be bringing a loaf (or 3) of this absolutely delicious Babka bread.
2 years ago as I flipped through a mail order food magazine I saw for the first time this gorgeous loaf of bread with layers and layers of chocolate twisted throughout. This was about the time that I also went gluten free. I noticed early on that a recipe for gluten free babka just really did not exist anywhere on the big old web. I know I wasn’t able to produce an edible loaf of gluten free bread (let alone anything else) at that time. So, I spent the past 2 years honing my skills. Iris Higgins and I have been working like maniacs on our two gluten free baking guides due to release in March. Through that process I was able to finally master the bread I knew was always possible. I played with one of our book recipes to create this. And pulling this soft, perfectly textured loaf of bread out of the oven yesterday was all I could have asked for Christmas. Watching my husbands reaction when he tried his first piece was enough to almost bring a tear or two of happiness. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
Wether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holidays are about sharing food that you feel proud of and enjoying it with the ones you love. I hope that this recipe brings some smiles to your festivities. For my Grain Free Friends- today I have neglected you. Though I hope my Grain/Starch Free Cinnamon Rolls give you a nice christmas morning option too!
This recipe will yeild the very best results if you pull out your kitchen scale. Using Superfine Rice flour is essential. Bob’s rice flour is grainy, heavy and does not soak up nearly as much liquid. Using it will not work in this recipe. If you are unable to source superfine rice flour locally, head to an asian grocery store. The majority of them carry rice flour. The flour at these stores is ground incredibly fine. It works as the perfect sub for superfine rice flour! (and its a heck of a lot cheaper too). Using Bob’s Garbanzo flour will work great. I would also like to suggest that you check out Dakota Praries Garbanzo flour- its my favorite! Their Rice Flour, like asian rice flour is also milled really finely and could be used in the place of superfine rice flour.
Gluten Free Babka
3/4 Cup Lukewarm Water
1 Tbs Fast Acting Yeast
1 Tbs Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup granulated sugar (any variety- though white cane sugar works best).
4 Tbs Oil
(100g) ¾ cup + 1 Tbs Superfine white rice flour
(103g) ¾ Cup + 1 Tbs Garbanzo Bean Flour
(132g) 2/3 Cup + 2 Tbs Potato Starch
1 Tbs Xanthan or Guar Gum
1 Tbs double acting Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Allergy Free Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life) Processed in a food processor or finely chopped.
1-2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 TBS Oil.
Egg glaze: 1 large egg whisked with 1 Tbs water.
- Combine the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar. Mix and set aside to proof.
- Into your microwave place 2 large large cups of water and turn the microwave on for 15-20 minutes. This will create a steamy “proofing box”. Run the microwave while you are preparing the bread dough. Keep running it just until you place the bread in.
- In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) vigorously beat the 2 large eggs. Once they have become frothy and are bubbly add the sugar and then the oil. Continue to beat on high until it begins to thicken slightly (almost like a custard).
- Add the proofed water/yeast/sugar mixture. (It has proofed once it has a head of “foam”.) Beat in. Add in the remaining ingredients (Rice Flour, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Potato Starch, Xanthan and Salt) Mix well. It will be a very sticky dough.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter. Cover it with 1-2 TBS of oil. Cover your hands with more oil and then move the glob of sticky dough onto the oiled parchment. Oiling your hands more as needed press the dough into a large rectangle (like you are making cinnamon rolls). This dough can be anywhere from 1/2- 1 inch thick. Cover the surface with the finely chopped chocolate, cinnamon and then drizzle the 2 TBS of oil on top. Using the parchment paper as your guide roll the dough into a long cinnamon roll log. Then gently and slowly lift and stack the two ends bringing them on top of each other. (the goal is to make the mound into a small loaf shape). Use the parchment through this whole process to support the dough and to prevent breakage. Once the mound is complete wrap the parchment around it and gently smoosh the different sides slightly to make it become a nice uniform loaf. * PLEASE NOTE: you are more than welcome to play around with how you want to roll up the dough. The end goal is to get it into a loaf- how you roll and fold is totally up to you!*
- Trim the parchment paper down so that it is just an inch or so larger than the loaf. Lift the parchment holding the loaf and place into a bread pan. Brush half of the egg glaze on.
- Place the prepared pan into the humid and warm microwave for 30 minutes (do not cover it). Leaving the cups of boiling water in the microwave with it. Do not turn the microwave on during this time.
- While the bread is proofing in the microwave, preheat the oven to 375 Degrees.
- After 30 minutes of proofing move the bread pan into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Brush the bread with the second ½ of the Egg Glaze. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 20- 25 minutes. If the bread begins to brown too much at any point tent it with a sheet of tinfoil.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 30 minutes before slicing. (The chocolate needs this time to cool- otherwise you will end up with chocolate everywhere when you slice!).