Gluten Free Easter Bread

It is an Italian tradition to make an Easter bread, which is usually on the sweet side. This gluten free Easter bread recipe is slightly sweet, but not very. Feel free to add additional sugar, if desired. I provide you with instructions on how to color your eggs using simple food coloring to the choices of braiding or twisting the dough. Make one large loaf to use as center piece or make mini versions for several tables if you have a large group to feed. Either way, I hope you and your family enjoy this festive treat! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

Be sure to read the comments below the recipe for variations from others who have made this recipe.


Gluten Free Easter Bread

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Yield: Makes 4 small loaves or 1 large.

Gluten Free  Easter Bread

Gluten Free Easter Bread that may be baked into 4 small loaves or one large loaf. Braid or twist dough into desired design. Makes a festive centerpiece!

Ingredients:

    For the Colored Eggs:
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature (about 1 hour)
  • 2 cups boiling water, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons white distilled vinegar, divided
  • Gluten free coloring (AmeriColor, Seelect Tea, or McCormick)
  • For the Gluten Free Bread:
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • ¾ cup sorghum (or gluten free oat flour)
  • ¾ cup potato starch or cornstarch (I used potato starch) + appx. 1 cup for dusting
  • ¾ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum, for corn-free)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup warmed cow's milk of choice, heated to about 110-115°F (or rice milk or Homemade Rice Milk)
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (SAF)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (add an additional 1/4 - 1/2 cup for sweet bread)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons oil (or melted and cooled unsalted butter, margarine; or Earth Balance buttery spread) (I used half butter/half extra light olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • For the Sweet Egg Wash:
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter, cooled
  • 1 Tablespoons honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • For the Icing:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or lemon or vanilla)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted in an ungreased skillet (or 1 - 2 teaspoons gluten free pastel colored sprinkles), for garnish

Instructions:

    To Make the Colored Eggs:
  1. Boil 3 cups of water in a medium-size sauce pan; remove from heat; add eggs; set aside for 13 15 minutes; drain; and set aside to cool.
  2. Add desired food coloring to each cup. I used the following: Pink: 6 drops red; Yellow: 8 drops yellow; Lavender: 5 drops red + 2 drops blue; and 6 drops yellow + 2 drop green.
  3. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar to each cup; stir; using a soup spoon, add an egg to each cup; allow to rest until each reaches your desired color, about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes, perhaps a little longer for the yellow.
  4. With the soup spoon, remove each egg; transfer to a cooling rack to dry; set aside.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, starches, gum and salt; set aside.
  7. Add sugar to milk; stir to dissolve; add yeast; stir; set aside for about 5 minutes until foamy on top, or until you are ready to use it.
  8. Add eggs to the bowl of your mixer; mix lightly.
  9. Pour butter/oil in slowly while mixer is running on medium speed; add yeast mixture, all at once, and vinegar; mix for a short time.
  10. Add flour mixture, all at once; beat on medium speed until all dry ingredients are wet; increase speed to high and beat for 4 minutes.
  11. Cover bowl with a moistened tea towel; allow to rise for until double in size (time will depend upon temperature of environment, about 1 hour). Allow to rise slowly, not in a preheated oven.
  12. While rising, in a small bowl, make eggwash mixture by whisking all ingredients together; set aside.
  13. Once the dough has risen, preheat oven to 375°F.
  14. Scoop dough out onto a heavily starch dusted surface (potato and/or cornstarch) and dust dough with starch, adding more as needed; knead and punch down dough, using as much as 1 cup of starch, until dough is smooth and no longer sticking to your hands or the surface.
  15. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
  16. Knead one piece on heavily floured surface; divide into 3 pieces; roll into 12-inch long ropes (roll between your hands from the middle, working outward); pinch the top portions together; braid; pinch the ends together; form into a circle and pinch circle closed. Use additional starch, as needed.
  17. With a wide spatula, transfer to the baking sheet; repeat with second piece of dough, leaving the other two aside for later. Allow to rise a few minutes until puffy.
  18. Brush the tops of the two braided dough portions with eggwash; add an egg to the center; bake for 21 minutes or until golden brown. (I did this in reverse, which is harder.)
  19. While the first two are baking, punch down the another piece of dough; repeat steps above with both pieces; and prepare for baking.
  20. While the breads bake, whisk together all of the ingredients for the glaze (not pictured).
  21. Once baked, transfer the two to a cooling rack to cool completely. While still warm, drizzle the top with the glaze and sprinkle toasted almonds or sprinkles on top.
  22. Bake the second batch. Do not make all 4 breads at the same time, as I did below, as 2 of them will over rise.
  23. Best served immediately. If not, store on counter covered with a dish towel, until ready to serve. They make a beautiful center piece. If not using right away, cool and store in ziplock bags with a paper towel to absorb and moisture. Do not store at room temperature overnight. To rewarm, remove egg and microwave on low, or reheat in a preheated 350°F. oven. As an alternative, remove egg and freeze.

Tips

In making the lavender colored Easter egg, using one drop of blue wasn't enough. I used 3 instead, but rinsed it off later to create the color you see in the photo.

Variations:

Add anise seed and anise extract for a true Italian, savory flavor.

Substitute orange zest for the lemon zest, or 1 teaspoon of both.

Rather than divided the piece of dough into four sections, use 2; or keep in one piece and twist it.

Make one large loaf versus 4 small; bake longer, about 30 minutes or more, or until golden brown. When you make smaller ones, they have just as much crust as they do dough. Therefore, if enjoy a chewy crust, make smaller ones.

5 Replies to “Gluten Free Easter Bread”

  1. Carla,
    Thank you! This is a wonderful recipe! [I added 2/3 t anise and used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 1/4 cup. Also topped with powered sugar icing. [It] tastes just like I remember. Thank you again. We are really enjoying this recipe!
    L

  2. Facebook Comment – March 26, 213,

    “I just made a batch following recipe exactly without braid and hardboiled egg. fantastic texture. closest to my mom’s recipe in 11 yrs of trying… may add a bit more vanilla and sugar because we are used to it being a little sweeter and more vanilla flavor. thank you so much! made 2 loaves. you can see photos on my page. I made a slit before baking and I may not do next time because it opened up too much. any thoughts. the dough was a little too soft to make a braid.”

    ~P.M.V.

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