How To Make Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

How To Make Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

There's something wonderful about a basket full of warm dinner rolls on the dinner table, but for many gluten-free eaters, the bread basket has been off-limits for too long. Not anymore! This easy recipe makes rich and tender rolls that gluten-eaters and gluten-free eaters adore.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Making a Gluten-Free Baking Mix

To achieve the best flavor and texture, this recipe skips commercial gluten-free flour blends and instead uses a simple blend of millet flour and tapioca starch plus a little xanthan gum to replace wheat flour (without the xanthan gum, the batter would be runny and the rolls won't rise.)

Before mixing the dough, take a second to whisk the dry ingredients together. This step ensures the following two things:

  • The salt never comes in direct contact with the yeast, which can kill it.
  • The xanthan gum never comes in direct contact with the liquids. If that happens, the batter can get lumpy.

When you whisk the dry ingredients together, the yeast stays happy and alive, and the batter remains smooth.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Mixing Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Without gluten to hold everything together, gluten-free yeast dough doesn't look anything like traditional wheat dough; it looks more like a very thick cake batter.

Since the dough is so thick, it's best to mix it with a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment, not the dough hook, for this job. The dough won't form a cohesive ball. It should look like a smooth, thick cake batter.

Hand-mixer method: If you don't have a stand mixer, use a sturdy handheld mixer set to medium-high speed to mix the dough.

Shaping Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

This recipes makes "scoop-and-bake" rolls since there's no dough rising in a bowl (bulk fermentation). Instead, the dough gets scooped directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and rises there.

Muffin scoop: If you have a muffin scoop, use it to scoop the dough. If you don't, a greased 1/2 cup measuring cup works great.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Rising and Baking Gluten-Free Rolls

To prevent the dough from drying out and forming a skin while it rises, cover the pan lightly with a piece of greased plastic wrap. Don't cover the pan too tightly or the plastic wrap will impede the dough from rising.

These rolls take about 45 minutes to rise. They'll spread as they rise and the dough should look puffy and soft. Since these rolls have no gluten to provide structure, they won't rise as high as wheat rolls; an inch or so is about right.

During the first 10 minutes of baking, oven-spring occurs. As the yeast warms up, it goes into a hyperactive mode and produces its final burst of CO2 before dying off. The rolls might split a little when oven-spring occurs; this gives them a rustic appearance and isn't something to fret over. For a wheat-based roll, we'd score the roll before baking, but since this dough has the texture of a thick batter, scoring the dough before baking doesn't really make a difference.

Cool Completely to Avoid Gumminess

One of the main complaints about gluten-free bread is that it can have a gummy texture. While this recipe is formulated to avoid that, it's important to cool the rolls on a wire cooling rack. This allows the steam to escape from the rolls and prevents soggy/gummy rolls.

How To Make Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Makes 12

What You Need

Ingredients
3/4 cup warm (about 110°F) water
1 packet (2 teaspoons) instant/rapid-rise yeast
2 cups millet flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Equipment
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Small mixing bowl
Stand mixer with the paddle attachment
Spring-loaded ice cream scoop
Parchment paper
Plastic wrap
Nonstick spray

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast: Whisk the water and yeast together in a small bowl. Allow to stand for about 3 minutes to dissolve.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the millet flour, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder. Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the wet ingredients: Add the yeast mixture, eggs, oil, and vinegar.
  4. Mix until smooth: Beat on medium speed until a smooth batter forms, about 1 minute. Without gluten to hold everything together, gluten-free yeast dough doesn't look anything like traditional wheat dough; it looks more like a very thick cake batter. Since the dough is so thick, it's best to mix it with a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment, not the dough hook, for this job. The dough won't form a cohesive ball. It should look like a smooth, thick cake batter.
  5. Scoop it out: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough, about 1/2 cup each, onto the baking sheet.
  6. Let it rise: Cover the pan with a greased piece of plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until light and puffy, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake the rolls: Preheat oven to 375°F. Uncover and bake until the rolls are golden-brown, about 15 minutes.
  8. Cool: Remove pan from the oven and move the rolls to a cooling rack. Cool the rolls for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: These rolls are best the day you make them. If you plan on making them a day in advance, warm them before serving for 10 minutes in a 250°F oven.
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