BreadAugust-September 2011

Gluten-Free Hawaiian Sweet Bread

Chewy and sweet, this bread NEVER disappoints!

gluten free hawaiian bread

Tim Benko, Benko Photographics

Similar to Portuguese Sweet Bread (pao doce), this bread has a rich texture and slightly sweet taste. It can be made with egg replacement** with good results (see instructions** below). Makes one 9x5-inch loaf or two 6-inch round boules.



½ cup warm water (105°-110° F)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) Red Star Active Dry Yeast
2 cups brown rice flour
½ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
½ cup tapioca starch/flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
3 large eggs
½ cup warm milk or milk of choice


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan or two 6-inch round cake pans.

2. In a small bowl, combine warm water, 2 teaspoons sugar and yeast. Stir just until dissolved. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm area for 10 minutes. Mixture will form a foam head about an inch tall.*

3. Place rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch/flour, ½ cup sugar, xanthan gum and salt in the bowl of a food processor or heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment. Blend dry ingredients together, about 3 minutes. If mixing by hand, place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined.

4. In a small bowl, whisk oil or melted butter, eggs and warm milk until blended.

5. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and combine. Add yeast mixture to dough and mix again until dough forms. If mixing with a heavy-duty stand mixer, this process takes about 5 minutes. With a food processor, about 2 to 3 minutes. By hand, about 10 minutes. Dough will be soft and sticky.

6. Transfer dough into prepared pan(s). Smooth top into desired shape with wet hands or a spatula dipped in water. Place in a warm area to rise for 40 minutes.

7. Score loaf top about ¼-inch deep with a sharp knife and if a shiny surface is desired, brush with an egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water.

8. Place pan(s) in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes for a loaf, 35 to 40 minutes for two boules. Bread is done when bottom sounds hollow when tapped and internal temperature reaches 195° to 200° F.

Each slice contains 168 calories, 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 164mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

*TIP If yeast mixture does not foam, either the yeast is not viable or your water is too hot or cold. Throw out the yeast mixture and start again with fresh yeast.

**For Egg-Free Hawaiian Sweet Bread, replace 2 eggs with flax gel (combine 2 tablespoons flaxmeal with 6 tablespoons hot water; let sit until slightly thickened). Replace remaining 1 egg by combining 1½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer with 2 tablespoons warm water.

mary capone cookbook

Tim Benko, Benko Photographics

Mary Capone ( is author of The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook. She is also creator of Bella Gluten-Free allergy-friendly baking mixes. For more on The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook or to order, click here.

Comments (14)

Can it be made in a bread maker? AND, can i use flour instead of the starches?

Posted by: yvonnetcruz | August 25, 2016 8:55 AM    Report this comment

My 21 year old daughter was just diagnosed with celiacs disease. I made this loaf for her and she raved about it being better than any bread she's ever had. Thank you for the recipe it will be a weekly thing I make for her and my hubby wants me to make it for us too.

Posted by: Deanna Hogle | August 7, 2014 2:23 PM    Report this comment

Taro Powder is actually the beneficial starch since it has a great source of fiber, folic acid and vitamin B6. It is also grown in Hawaii. check out for the only certified gluten-free source produced in an artisan milling facility.

Posted by: Voyaging Foods | March 31, 2014 7:06 PM    Report this comment


The substitution for Potato Starch is often corn starch. Arrowroot cannot be substituted cup for cup but corn starch can. (Response from Mary Capone) - Moderator

Posted by: LW Moderator | March 4, 2013 3:35 PM    Report this comment

In reading the responses concerning starches versus wheat starches I think the correct response would be are the questioners asking about diabetes where we must look at all starches or are they questioning
gluten problems where wheat is the culprit.

Posted by: Unknown | March 2, 2013 8:18 PM    Report this comment

My son is also allergic to potatoes. You can substitute 1/2 cup cornstarch for the potato starch. I make a blend of rice flour, cornstarch, and tapioca starch for all of his breads and get great results!

Posted by: habolden | March 2, 2013 10:18 AM    Report this comment

Thank you. I am still learning and I am obviously confused! In the book the Wheat Belly by William Davis MD he writes:
"Many gluten-free foods are made by replacing wheat flour with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch or tapioca starch. This is especially hazardous for anybody looking to drop twenty, thirty or more pounds, since gluten-free foods still trigger the glucose-insulin response that causes weight gain. Foods with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch and tapioca starch are the few foods that increase blood sugar even more than wheat products."

I'm still working through the relationships. :)

Posted by: June G | February 28, 2013 4:47 PM    Report this comment

Gluten is the protein in wheat which causes an autoimmune response in people with celiac disease. Gluten also causes GI problems in people with intolerance. Glucose is sugar and a totally different issue.

Posted by: Laurie P | February 28, 2013 3:14 PM    Report this comment


Posted by: LW Moderator | February 28, 2013 3:11 PM    Report this comment

I am confused. In reading about wheat sensitivities, using potato starch or tapioca starch creates the same body reaction as eating wheat. A quick body glucose response high on the GI scale.

Are they two separate things? (Wheat and Glucose)

If so, what is the point of glucose free?

Posted by: June G | February 28, 2013 2:53 PM    Report this comment

Can this be made without yeast? My daughter is yeast intolerant. I've used soda and apple cider successfully in other bread recipes. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Kimberlee | February 28, 2013 12:19 PM    Report this comment

I need a little help with this recipe I am allergic to Night shades and the recipe calls for Potato starch what can I use as a substitute for Potato starch?

Posted by: LynM57 | February 28, 2013 11:17 AM    Report this comment

It has two names and is the same thing. Tapioca starch or tapioca flour are identical.

Posted by: Clare M | February 28, 2013 9:22 AM    Report this comment

This recipe in particular, but I've also seen it in other recipes...if an ingredient is listed as "1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour", does that mean 1/2 cup of starch AND 1/2 cup of flour or 1/2 cup of one OR the other, the choice of the person making the recipe?

Posted by: hankinsv | February 28, 2013 9:15 AM    Report this comment

New to Gluten Free & More?
Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In