Shauna's Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

by Jenn on November 30, 2009

in Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains


When I first saw Shauna’s post about her gluten free dinner rolls, I was so excited, because this was precisely the one thing I was missing when thinking of how to make this Thanksgiving gluten free for my husband and his father.  Like my issues with cookies, my past experiences making gluten free rolls have been, well, sub-par.  I have often ended up with little bricks that were sorry excuses of rolls at best, as is a common lament of many a gluten free cook.

But not these! Shauna promised that these would be good, and boy was she right.  As I don’t have the best track record with making up my own baked goods recipes out of the blue, I really wanted to try a good roll recipe, and this time I did not do any substitutions.  Not one.  Since rolls are best eaten fresh out of the oven, and since scheduling oven time during the day leading up to Thanksgiving Dinner was an amazingly complex orchestration that a Swiss train station would be proud of, I was pretty excited to be able to bake these exactly half an hour before dinner so that they could be ready exactly when dinner started.  Though this also meant that I didn’t have a lot of flexibility to experiment, which is another reason why I decided to play it safe and use exactly the ingredients listed.

One difference I noticed from the original recipe is that I only got seven rolls out of my batch, but that is because I made some monster sized rolls (which also increased the bake time a bit). I also had to leave off the sesame seeds due to my father-in-law’s severe sesame allergy, so I sprinkled some fresh thyme on top instead.  As you can see, the pan that I used was a bit small for the rolls since they are a bit squished together, but they pulled apart beautifully and had a great texture.

Let me talk about the texture of these rolls.  They were so fluffy and light.  Yes, I just called something gluten free and baked fluffy.  Maybe it was because I made them so huge, but they almost had more of a biscuit consistency than what I would think of for a typical dinner roll.  Not that this is a bad thing.  Because everyone who tried them (especially the gluten free folk) loved them, and specifically remarked about their fluffy and soft biscuit-like character.  Even the next morning they were still delicious.  My husband heated one up, cut it in half and lathered on some fresh apple butter for breakfast.

Much of these rolls’ great quality comes from how well they rose.  I was so impressed after the first rising, and then the second rising, that these actually rose so much.  It always seems to me that getting gluten free dough to rise is a bit of a challenge, which is why I tend to have issues creating dense bricks rather than edible food.  Hence the main issue of gluten free baking – gluten is a protein that gives dough the structure to allow it to hold the CO2 made by the yeast.  However the precise chemistry of all of these ingredients comes together to allow these rolls to rise, the important thing is that this particular combination of ingredients works.  Maybe it is the guar gum, or the high protein content of the almond flour.  I’m not sure.  I really wish someone would write a book on gluten free baking chemistry.

But enough about texture and gluten free chemistry.  How did they taste?  Fan-freaking-tastic.  They were buttery and delicious.  I know, delicious isn’t really a great word to use to describe taste.  But what words can I use to convey the wonderful harmony of flavor that was created?  You have to make them for yourself and you will see.  I just loved the slight nuttiness that the almond flour (I am presuming it was the almond flour) imparted on these rolls. It is apparent to me now as well that I need to do more things with almond flour.  Hmm, maybe I will put Elana’s Almond Flour Cookbook on my Christmas wish list which I am going to subtly place in plain view of my husband sometime in the next few weeks.  Oh wait, he reads this blog!  Ha well honey, now you know what I want ;)

Needless to say, I will definitely be making these rolls in the future.  In fact, I think I will make them again later this week even.  Thanks Shauna, I am now in love with your gluten free dinner rolls!