Gluten Free Soft and Crusty Bread Rolls

This bread is inspired by my most successful last-minute gluten free bake ever. Friends were due to come round for takeaway curry and had included cheese and garlic naans in their order request to my husband. They probably forgot that our house is gluten free as I find it too hard to avoid cross contamination with gluten around and were absolutely fine with not having the naans when my husband reminded them. However, I felt very bad and so hastily came up with this dough as a basis for my own naans in a hastily-carved out 15 minutes before putting the kids to bed, before they arrived. I issued many warnings along the lines of usually avoiding making gluten free bread products for gluten eaters and nervously put the plate on the table. And I was then amazed when they turned out amazing (the amount of cheese was probably a strong contributory factor). My last minute GF naans were amazingly a success with gluten eaters. I’ll post the naan recipe at some point but for now, I thought I would post the basic dough recipe as it is proving to be very versatile and pretty tasty. As with most gluten free breads, these rolls are best served on the day they are made. They are fantastic while still a bit warm from the oven and spread thickly with butter. The inside is soft and fluffy (and can be rolled into little balls – an indicator of gluten or gluten-like bread according to one of my sons!) and the outside is crusty and crisp when still warm.  

This recipe makes about 12 rolls that can be shaped according to your preferences. As usual the cup measurements below are based on a 250 ml cup as equal to 1 cup. Don’t be put off by measuring your own flours and starches – this is literally one bowl and everything in this recipe should be available in most supermarkets with a good selection of gf baking products. 

What you need: 

3 eggs 

1 cup of white rice flour (plus a bit more when kneading the dough) 

1 cup of tapioca starch 

½ cup of potato starch 

½ cup of corn starch 

6 tablespoons of psyllium husk 

2 sachets of instant dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons) 

1 teaspoon of sugar 

½ teaspoon of salt 

2 dessertspoons of baking powder 

7 tablespoons of neutral oil (I used mild olive oil or sunflower oil) 

1 cup of lukewarm water 

What to do: 

1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. I prefer to do this in my stand mixer, and I find putting the eggs in the bowl first seems to reduce the chance of ingredients sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Keep mixing until the dough thickens and becomes relatively cohesive rather than runny. This may take a few minutes as the dough texture changes as the psyllium husk absorbs the liquid in the mixture. You may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice during mixing to ensure everything is incorporated evenly. 

2. Generously sprinkle rice flour on a work surface and then tip the dough on to the floured surface. You may need a spatula to get all the bits of dough out of the bowl. Knead the dough a couple of times until it is soft and easy to work with. If the dough is too sticky to work with when you first tip it out of the bowl, leave it for a few minutes in case the psyllium is still absorbing water and then try kneading it again. If it is still sticky after this time, slowly knead in small sprinklings of white rice flour until the dough is soft and pliable, kind of like gluten bread dough. 

3. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape according to your preference. 

4. Place the shaped rolls on a lined baking tray, slightly apart to allow room for expansion, cover with a damp cloth and leave somewhere warm to rise. The dough should rise to about 1.5 to 2 times its original volume. The amount of time this takes will depend on how warm the environment is – I find it usually takes about half an hour somewhere warmish and draft-free.  

5. Once the dough has risen, turn the oven on to 180*C to pre-heat. I usually allow about 5 minutes for this. 

6. Once the oven is hot, remove the cloth from the rolls and place them in the middle of the pre-heated oven to bake for about 30 minutes, or until the outside is brown and the rolls sound hollow when tapped. 

7. Once baked, remove the rolls from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool before eating. Enjoy!  

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