Hops Bread, the gluten free and vegan way
(makes about 8 buns)
After a few trials I realized that I could not duplicate every aspect of traditional hops without specialty ingredients or a more complicated technique. You cannot shape the buns by hand as there is no gluten structure to create and maintain the domed top. The traditional Hops bread recipe is quite simple. Flour, water, yeast, very little sugar, salt and either margarine or shortening. This recipe mimics that simplicity in terms of flavor. These hops are soft and have a good crumb structure. You could rest the dough either overnight or for a few hours before placing in the baking molds. That will help the development of a more yeasty bread flavor and soften the starches in the dough.
As with all my recipes, I will continue to explore ways to make it better. I'll post updates if and when there are improvements. For now, hope you find that this recipe satisfies your craving for a gf/vegan version of Trini hops bread!
For a little history on this iconic bread check here
2¼ cups gluten free flour (a 1 to 1 blend)*
¼ cup almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if in your flour blend)
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
2½ tsp instant yeast
¼ cup aquafaba** (or coconut milk)
½ cup warm water (add more by tablespoon)
¼ cup vegetable oil (I use coconut)
1½ tbsp vinegar
*I made a blend with 1½ cups rice flour, ½ cup potato starch and ¼ cup tapioca starch. If you use a bread flour blend you could omit the almond flour and use 2½ cups of flour instead.
**Aquafaba is the brine from boiling chickpeas (channa) or the liquid in a can of chickpeas. More info here
Grease or line the baking molds. If you are using the single tart pans, have a tray ready to place the pans on
Mix all of the dry ingredients together
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the aquafaba (or coconut milk), water, oil and vinegar
Knead or mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be like a thick pancake batter, not runny or pourable but definitely wet to the touch. Add more water if necessary to achieve that consistency.
Spoon dough into the prepared baking molds, smooth the top and cover the baking tray with lightly greased cling wrap. Allow to rise 30 - 45 mins or more until the dough is at the rim of the baking mold. The dough will take the shape and height of the container it is in. So if you want a higher dome you may need to use a mold that is around 4” in diameter and more importantly taller sides like 1½” in height. You can always make smaller buns if you have a mold that is less that 4” in diameter but that has tall walls (by tall walls I do not mean a muffin or cupcake tin, unless you are okay with your hops looking like a muffin. See the link under the heading “Directions” for a link to bread bun baking molds)
Toward the end of the rise preheat oven to 350°F. Before placing in the oven, spoon some coconut oil over each bun and gently spread across the surface of the bread with the back of a spoon
When the oven is ready, bake the bread for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, brush a bit more coconut oil on the top of each bun and raise the temperature to 425°F. Bake for another 5 minutes until golden in colour. You can take the buns out of the mold for this step to encourage the underside to develop a bit more colour and a slight crust
When the bread is done, place the buns on a wire rack to cool. You can serve the hops warm.
Wrap the rest of the buns tightly to maintain freshness for as long as possible, keep refrigerated. Bread is best wrapped and stored in the freezer if it will not be used within three days. he end of the rise preheat oven to 350°F.