\\Bread on metal tray

I got a New Toy. If we were roomies, you would have been hearing me talk about a toy like this New Toy for, like, years. You’d be all, “Nicole, zip it!  It doesn’t exist!”

But now it does. It does! It’s a home bread proofer! We’ve talked about all kinds of tricks to get your gluten-free yeast bread to rise.  Now, there’s finally another way.

Bread proofer

As soon as I heard about it, I started to harass the Brod & Taylor people into sending me one to test. And they did. For free, likely so I’d talk to you about it. But I want you to know about it so you might have options.

There is one hitch. It’s quite spendy.

Like 148 bucks spendy. *ouch* I’m pretty much hoping it’s going to come down in price. Or go on special. Or be sold as a twofer or something. ‘Cause it’s really really revolutionary for gluten-free baking. And since I bake so much bread, I would probably buy one even if I had to pay real coin for it.

Let’s take it for a spin.

A close up of sandwich dough in bowl

You start with dough made with only 4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour. See how wet it is?

Dough in mixer

Add enough extra flour (about another cup) so that it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You can do this by hand, if you don’t have a stand mixer. It’s just a lot more work, and the results tend to be a bit more inconsistent. No biggie.

Bread dough on white surface

Then divide the dough (with a bench scraper if you have one – see? so useful) into 12 pieces. With wet hands, roll the dough into balls (or whatever shape you like).

A close up of a sign

Place them in the proofer (or in your microwave using our low-tech tricks)…

A clock on top of an oven

…at about 88 degrees until the dough has risen to about 150% of its original size.

dough on metal surface

And you’ll see how even a rise it is.

A close up of dough

How it has no holes in the dough to smooth out. With any other rising method, gluten-free bread has holes that need to be smoothed out with wet hands before baking. But the temp in the proofer is so even, and the environment just humid enough — the rise is perfect.

That, and you don’t have to babysit the dough while it’s rising. You can even go run an errand. I really like not being tethered to the dough while I’m making bread. And you can also use the proofer to maintain the temperature of tempered chocolate, or make yogurt.

It’s not for everybody, especially at this price, but it is nice. And I wanted you to know about it. I hope you don’t mind.

Bread with seeds

Oh, yeah. We’ve made these before. Remember? Don’t worry. It happens.

Cornmeal Sandwich Rolls
Recipe Type: Bread
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 12
Cornmeal Sandwich Rolls
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, divided
  • 3 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter (nondairy sub okay), at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups warm milk (about 100 degrees F) (nondairy milk okay)
  • Egg white wash
  • Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place 4 cups of flour, and the xanthan gum, cornmeal sugar, kosher salt, cream of tartar, and yeast. Mix at low speed to combine. Add the butter, eggs and milk, blending well after each addition. Now, turn the mixer up to at least half speed, and beat for a few minutes. Cover the mixture with a kitchen towel if necessary to avoid the escape of any bits of dough. The dough will be too wet, and will stick to the sides of the bowl (see photo).
  2. Add enough of the remaining flour & mix enough to make the dough smooth, but still tacky to the touch. It should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl (see photo). You should need at least another cup of flour, for a total of at least 5 cups.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a a Silpat or piece of parchment paper. Divide it with a bench scraper, if you have one, into about 12 pieces of relatively equal size (see photo). With wet hands, shape into rounds or rectangles — whatever roll shape you’d like.
  4. Arrange the rolls about 3/4-inch apart on nonstick or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Allow the dough to rise in a warm and moist, draft-free area for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until they’ve grown to about 150% of what they were. Ideally, the rolls will be side by side, nearly touching, once they have risen.
  5. Once the dough has finished rising, with very wet fingers, smooth out the holes on the surface (created by the yeast) for a uniform appearance. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the rolls with the egg white, and sprinkle with the (optional) seeds. Then place the rolls in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until uniformly brown.
  6. Serve immediately, wrap in wax paper and store at room temperature for a few days (and then quickly microwave before eating to freshen them), or freeze in plastic bags for up to 3 months and defrost in the refrigerator.


P.S. You can also make this dough into dinner rolls. Just divide it into 24 pieces, rather than 12. For your holiday dinner?

P.P.S. Eggnog cookies coming up later in the week. Get your egg nog ready!