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Saturday, August 11, 2012


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     On this post I will start the recipes for the Savories on the Tea Party menu. 
     This Challah bread recipe is perfect for finger sandwiches.  It is sturdy, moist and very tasty.  The recipe is one I found on the Internet a few years ago on Gluten Free Diva's Blog.  The recipe was originally created by Sara Nussbaum.  I changed up the flours and reduced the water by ¼ cup.  You can make this bread two or even three days ahead and it will stay moist with a great texture. Be sure to store the completely cooled loaf, well sealed, in plastic wrap. The day before the Tea Party you can cut off the crusts, slice it thinly and store the sliced pieces in a plastic baggie until you make the sandwiches.  If you just want to eat the bread and not use it for Tea Party sandwiches, it will keep moist and tasty for at least five days.  It has never lasted longer than that at my house so I do not know how much longer it will stay fresh.  I love this recipe as, unlike most GF breads, it is not necessary to heat the bread or toast it to enjoy it, even if it is several days old.
     The sandwich recipes are from various sources. It had been a few years since I made a Tea Party.  I went Googling to get ideas for sandwich fillings.  I remembered that I had saved a March 1986 Ladies Home Journal article “The Most Elegant Tea” that had recipes for a Gala Tea at the British Embassy.  The Curried Egg Salad and Minted Cucumber Sandwich recipes are from this article. In the article they served smoked salmon with dill sauce. I did not want to get too messy or formal so I thought up the Smoked Salmon with Dill Cream Cheese Sandwich as an upscale lox and cream cheese and sort of homage to my NYC and Jewish roots. The Waldorf Sandwich recipe is from a site called myrecipefriends.com.  I decided to toast the walnuts for more flavor.

1 Tbs. (1 pkg.)       Dry Yeast
1 Tbs.                   Sugar
¾ cups warm         Water (120 degrees)
1 ¼ cup                 Corn Starch (if corn allergies are an issue you can 
                            use Tapioca or Arrowroot Flour instead)
1 cup                    Sweet Rice Flour - (this flour is finer and produces a
                            lighter product more similar to regular bread in texture
                            than White or Brown Rice flours)
¼ cup                   Tapioca Flour
3 Tbs.                   Chickpea or Chickpea/Fava Flour
1 Tbs.                   Xanthan or Guar Gum
1 tsp.                    Salt
2 Tbs.                   Dry Potato Flakes or Mashed Potatoes
¼ cup                   Butter, melted (or an equal amount of Olive or Canola
1/3 cup                 Honey (or and equal amount of Sugar)
4                          Eggs
1                          Extra Egg Yolk
1/8 tsp.                Vanilla Extract                                             

     Make a proofing box out of your microwave oven by placing 2 cups of water in the microwave.  Turn on the microwave and heat the water for 20 minutes or more while you prepare the bread dough.  Proofing is allowing the yeast in the dough to work so that the bread will rise.  A proofing box is a special piece of equipment that maintains a certain temperature and moisture level to help bread to rise well.  If you do not have a microwave, you can use a large plastic container, the ones that are used to store clothes. Place the bread in the pan on a counter and put a bowl of hot boiled water next to the bread pan. Cover them both with the large plastic storage box.  This will create a warm moist environment that will help the bread rise.  Or, when dough is in pan, cover with plastic wrap and let bread rise in a warm place. 
     Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan or 9” springform pan or a bundt pan.
     In a small bowl add yeast & 1 Tbs. sugar to warm water.  Put in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.  If it does not foam, the yeast is not fresh and active; you should get fresh yeast and start again or the bread will not rise.
     In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer add Cornstarch; Sweet Rice, Tapioca & Chickpea or Chickpea/Fava flours; Xanthan or Guar Gum; salt and; potato flakes.  (If using fresh mashed potatoes, mix the dry ingredients together first, and then add the potatoes when you add the eggs and vanilla.)
      Add the Yeast mixture; melted Butter; and Honey and turn on mixer to Medium speed until all the ingredients are mixed together.
     Add Eggs and Vanilla (and Mashed Potatoes, if using) and mix until well blended.
     Turn mixer to High speed and beat batter for 2 minutes.  It will look like thick cake batter.  GF breads do not have to be kneaded. (Kneading is necessary with GLUTEN breads. The gluten is worked until it binds and creates an elastic dough that catches gases from the yeast and helps the bread to rise.  If there is no gluten, no kneading is necessary.)

     Spoon batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with wet hands.
     If you want to put sesame or poppy seeds on top of the bread, brush the top with egg white and sprinkle with seeds before letting the bread rise.
     Place bread pan with batter into the microwave, leave the cups of boiled water inside and close door.  Do NOT turn microwave on.  Do NOT open door until bread has risen.  Allow bread to rise for about 45 minutes.  Bread should rise to just above the rim of the pan.  Do let it rise too long and pour out over the edge of the pan or the taste and consistency may be adversely affected.  
     While bread is rising, adjust oven racks so that the top rack is in the center of the oven and the lowest rack has enough space above it to accommodate a sheet pan.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The oven must be at the correct temperature before you put the bread in.  If it is not hot enough the bread will not bake well.
     I took a GF Baking class at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park a few months ago.  The class was for ‘enthusiasts’ and was one day long. Chef Coppedge explained that bread needs moisture in the oven to rise and bake well.  Julia Child used to put an old cast iron skillet in the oven while it was preheating and throw ice into the skillet when she put the bread in the oven to bake.  The ice hitting the hot pan creates enough stream and moisture to bake a successful loaf.  I do not have an old cast iron skillet to spare.  I placed a sturdy sheet pan on the bottom shelf of the oven while it was preheating and threw ice cubes onto the sheet pan when I put the loaf into the oven to bake. You can do this also if you like.
     Place the loaf pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a digital food thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 210 degrees.  If you do not have a thermometer you can test for doneness by turning the loaf out onto a rack; knock on the bottom of the loaf and listen for a hollow sound.  I strongly recommend that you purchase a thermometer if you plan to do a lot of bread baking. 
     After the first 20 minutes of baking, cover the top of the loaf with foil to prevent excessive browning.
     When done, take bread out of pan immediately and allow to cool on a rack.  If you leave the loaf in the pan to cool the bread will be soggy.

     To make crustless Tea Sandwiches, cut the crusts off the loaf and then cut into thin slices with a serrated knife.  The crusts can be made into bread crumbs in a food processor and stored in a plastic baggie in the freezer until needed.

     The knife will develop a buildup of dough on the blade as you slice.  Clean the knife frequently to make it easier to make thin even cuts.
     This recipe can be doubled with success.  Make sure your mixer is strong enough to handle two batches at one time.


4                Eggs - Hard Boiled
3 Tbs.         Mayonnaise
1 tsp.          Curry Powder – mild
½ tsp.         Salt
¼ tsp.         Pepper
6 Tbs.         Unsalted Butter, softened
¼ cup         Chutney – Major Gray’s – chopped
16               Slices of thin sliced crustless bread.
     Mix all Filling ingredients together in a bowl.
     In another bowl mix together all the Spread ingredients.
     You can make the spread and filling up to 24 hours ahead and keep in refrigerator.
     To make sandwiches take the slices of bread and spread a thin layer of the chutney butter on each piece.  Put curried egg salad on half of the bread slices.  Place the remaining slices on top and cut into quarters diagonally.
     Makes 32 sandwiches.


1                 European Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (European
                   Cucumbers are longer and thinner than regular ones; they
                   have smaller seeds; they are not waxed; they are kept
                   wrapped in plastic to prevent them from getting dried out;
                   and they are easier to digest, that is why they are labeled
6 oz.            Cream Cheese, softened
4 tsp.           Fresh Mint, Chopped (I used Lemon Mint from a friend’s
16                Slices of thinly sliced crustless bread.
     Mix Cream Cheese and Mint in a bowl until well blended.
     Peel and slice Cucumber into thin circles.
     Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of the Cream Cheese spread.
     Top half of the bread slices with two layers of cucumbers.  Cover with remaining slices of bread and cut diagonally into quarters.
     You can make the cream cheese spread a day ahead and store in the refrigerator.  It is better to peel and slice the cucumber the day of the Tea.
     Makes 32 sandwiches.


6 oz.                    Cream Cheese, softened
4 Tsp.                  Fresh Dill, chopped – add more dill to taste, if desired
1 8 oz. pkg.          Smoked Nova Salmon (I bought salmon that had no
                            nitrates or preservatives.)
16                        Slices of thinly sliced crustless bread.
    Mix Cream Cheese and Dill until well blended.  This can be made ahead and stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
    Spread a thin layer of the Cream Cheese on all the slices of bread.
     Top half of the slices with two layers of smoked salmon.
     Place remaining slices of bread on top and cut into quarters diagonally.
     Makes 32 sandwiches.


2 cups         Apples, grated
½ cup          Celery, minced, approximately 1 stalk
2/3 cups      Walnuts, toasted and chopped
To Taste      Mayonnaise  (I used about 1/3 cup.)
1 Tbs.         Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Pinch          Salt
24 Slices     GF Raisin Bread (Adjust amount of bread according to the
                  size of the slices.  This will make 24 triangles of finger sized
                  sandwiches by cutting each sandwich in half.  If the
                  bread is larger and can be cut into quarters then use a
                  total of 12 slices of bread to make 24 finger sandwich
                  sized triangles.)
     Toast whole walnuts in oven at 350 degrees for about 4 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.  When cool, chop.
     Peel, core and grate the apples.
     Mince celery and chop parsley.  
     Place Apples, Celery, Walnuts and Parsley into a bowl and mix well.
     Add mayonnaise to taste.
     Adjust Salt to taste.
     The spread can be made ahead and stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
     Spread each slice of Raisin Bread with Mayonnaise.  Top half of the slices with Filling.  Cover with the remaining slices of bread and cut into finger sandwich sized triangles.
     Makes 24 sandwiches.

     You can make all the sandwiches on the morning of the Tea Party and cover well with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until guests arrive.  I do not recommend that you make the sandwiches the night before as the bread will probably be soggy and the fillings will not taste as fresh.
     Plating the sandwiches on pretty serving dishes and the use of paper doilies on some of the plates will make a nice presentation.

     In England they have lovely three tiered serving stands with plates on them and these are used to serve food at Teas.  Traditionally the scones are eaten first and are on the top tier.  The savories are eaten second and are on the second tier and the sweets are on the bottom to be eaten last. At restaurants and hotels there are servers who come around with trays of pastries in addition to the sweets already on the three tiered stand.
     In a Google search, I found that there are at least two places in London that serve Gluten Free Afternoon Tea: Brown’s Hotel and The British Museum.   If and when I get to London I will treat myself to Afternoon Tea at one of those places.
     I came across a site that gives the protocol for properly eating and drinking when out for Tea. How to Have High Tea  I'm not sure if Americans are expected to follow these instructions.  I should think that it only applies to members of the British Commonwealth.



  1. AMAZING RECIPES BAKING BEAR! You're the best! The bread is absolutely indistinguishable from wheat based breads. So soft, light, moist, delicious with a wonderful texture and a slightly sweet flavor that goes perfectly with these sandwiches. I've tried other gluten free breads and they were nothing like this. I don't know how you do it! I tried all of these sandwiches. My favorites were the curried egg salad and the cucumber. Simply delicious. The perfect combinations of textures and flavors. Can't wait to make them again. Thank you!

  2. The chocolate cake was moist and excellent. Gluten free salmon sandwiches were delicious. Raisin bread sandwiches were devine. Thank you for sharing these recipes. The best part was it is impossible to tell they are glutenfree.
    Thank you.

  3. Bread looks amazing. Is there a substitute for the potatoes? Thanks!

    1. Hi Nicole, In bread baking people usually add some potato to make it lighter and add moisture. I have a close friend who can not eat potatoes due to a severe inflammatory reaction so I have made this bread with mashed sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes and it came out fine. I suppose that since there are only 2 tablespoons of potato it does not make so much difference if you replace it with something else like winter squash (if you can't eat sweet potatoes) or even 2 extra tablespoons of sweet rice flour. Sweet rice flour is successfully used to replace potato flour (not starch) in recipes. To replace potato starch you can use another starch type flour such as corn starch, tapioca starch (this will be a bit gummier so it depends upon how much you have to add) or arrowroot powder. Hope this is helpful. Let me know how it comes out when you get a chance to make it. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post.


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