How to Make Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

I recently pulled this recipe out of my archives of the second gluten-free bakery I used to work at (that has unfortunately since closed) because I wanted some kind of bread to go with my first soup of the season. I helped formulate many of the recipes at that bakery and while I’ve been meaning on going back to them and refining them with what I know now, I find that many of them still hold up pretty well.

The original recipe was for pull-a-part style rolls, but when I sat down to make these again I thought, Huh, I bet they’d hold their shape better if I put them in a muffin tin. Why didn’t I ever think of that before?

They came out a little smaller and spongier than I had hoped, but directly after declaring, “they’re okay, but I could make them better,” I found myself going back for another one. My second batch turned out even tastier.

These rolls are so moist that you don’t have to toast them before eating, which is a rarity in the gluten-free world. They are fluffy, yeasty, golden brown, and look just like store-bought dinner rolls. I will never get tired of eating the sliced in half with a thick smear of room temperature butter in the middle. They are ever so slightly on the sweet side so you could probably decrease the sugar or replace the applesauce with another egg if you wanted to cut back on the sugar.

Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Fluffy, yeasty, moist rolls that are the perfect compliment to any meal.
Course Appetizer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
passive 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 ½ tbsp sugar
  • ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tbsp yeast
  • 1 ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • ½ cup hot water

Important Equipment

  • A 12-count Muffin Tin
  • A ziplock plastic bag optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to warm, the lowest setting, or “proofing” if you have that option, and lightly grease a muffin tin.
  2. Place dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix briefly.
  3. Place eggs and milk in a small container. Microwave for 1 minute or until mixture is warm to touch. If your microwave is very powerful, microwave in 20-second increments to avoid cooking the eggs.
  4. Add milk, eggs, and the remaining wet ingredients to the dry. Mix for several minutes until smooth and batter looks a little thinner. The mixture will be halfway between a dough and a batter.
  5. There are two methods for getting the dough into a roll shape in the muffin tin. The first is to simple approach as you would making muffins. Scoop approximately ⅓ cupfuls of the dough into the muffin tin. The muffin cups should be about ¾ of the way full. Even out the tops of the rolls by swirling your finger around the top in a circle, making a small peak in the center. The batter should make 10-12 rolls.
  6. Here’s the second method: Take a ziplock plastic bag and fill it with the dough like a piping bag. You can use something tall and cylindrical to help support the bag while you fill it or use your other hand. Push all the dough towards the corner of the bag and snip off the end. The hole should be about ¾ of an inch wide. Place the tip of the bag in the center of each muffin cup and squeeze until each cup is about ¾ of the way full. This technique results in pretty round rolls that are much more even in size and shape. If you’ve never used a piping bag before, I recommend checking out this video on piping technique for dough. Note: The chef in the video is using a piping tip, which is used for detail work and not needed here, and she is having to work pretty hard to get the dough to the tip of the bag, which won’t be necessary in this recipe with this very soft dough.
  7. Put rolls into the warm oven and let rise for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the rolls from the oven and increase the temperature to 325 degrees. When the oven is fully preheated, put the rolls back in and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center tests cleanly with a toothpick.

Note: You can also make these rolls pull-a-part style. Instead of using the muffin tin, lightly grease an 8-inch circular cake pan. With a container of water and a large ice cream scoop, scoop 8-10 rolls into the cake pan, dipping the scoop in the water between scoops to prevent the dough from sticking. The rolls will be packed tightly together and hold each other up as they rise and bake. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 325 degrees minutes until dark golden brown. Make sure to check the center with a toothpick, and if the tops are turning brown too early before the center tests cleanly, cover the pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up, and continue baking.

There you have it! Delicious, fluffy, moist dinner rolls made with very little fuss. These rolls should be eaten the day of or stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last 2-4 days and then may begin to lose their moisture and require toasting.

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How to Make Gluten-Free Pizza

Gluten-Free Pizza is probably one of the most sought-after dishes in the gluten-free world. It’s so easy to buy a frozen pizza, order delivery, or even buy pre-made pizza dough and bake your own when you can eat gluten. But when you make the transition to gluten-free, freshly made pizza dough is non-existent, and frozen or delivered pizzas are rare, expensive, and not that good. It’s simply impossible to give up pizza, so how can you fill that pizza shaped hole in your heart while still avoid gluten?

Wrangling Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

One of the trickiest problems that gluten-free baking encounters is the dough issue. The thing that makes gluten-based bread products so easy to work with is that mixing even just flour and water creates a substance that’s easy to mold and form into any shape you want, bake it, and it tastes amazing! With gluten-free baking, in order to get the same texture in the final product, it’s rare the “dough” will function in the same way.

Typically gluten-free dough is soft, slightly wet, and requires water and a spatula to shape properly. That means your pizza board might not work so well for this recipe. You’re going to want a large baking sheet with a lip all the way around so that the dough doesn’t flow right off the edges. But the finished product is fluffy, yeasty, with a little bit of chew, and just delicious.

Developing a Gluten-Free Pizza Dough Recipe

This recipe was inspired by an incredible boxed mix for pizza dough by Gluten Free Pantry (which I cannot for the life of me find online so perhaps it’s no longer available in stores). I tried it out after receiving a box for free at the grocery store I used to work at. The recipe made a huge amount of dough, and my friend and I delightedly baked a gigantic pizza, only to be blown away by how delicious the crust was. It was so good that, despite the cost of the box mix alone ringing in at $6, I still bought it every time I wanted pizza.

However, as I looked over the ingredient list, I realized that I had just about all those same ingredients in my kitchen already. Using the weight of the box, the order the ingredients were listed in, my general knowledge of gluten-free baking, and a little math, I worked out a copycat recipe. A few failed attempts later and I had a recipe that tasted almost identical!

Gluten-Free Pizza

Miss pizza? Satisfy your cravings for chewy, fluffy pizza crust with this recipe for gluten-free pan-style pizza large enough to feed a family.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.75 C white rice flour
  • 1/2 C brown rice flour
  • 3/4 C potato starch
  • 3/4 C cornstarch
  • 2.5 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2.25 tsp yeast or 1 packet of yeast
  • 1 3/4 C warm milk
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg whites lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil

Toppings

  • Half jar of pasta sauce
  • 12-16 oz grated mozzarella and jack cheese about 2 parts mozzarella to 1 part jack cheese
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped

Important Equipment

  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Kitchenaid or hand mixer
  • Spatula

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature it will register. I use the “warm” setting on mine, and if you have “proof” as an option, that’s even better.
  2. Place the milk in a microwave-safe container (such as a pyrex measuring cup), and heat the milk for 1-1:45 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave. You want the milk to be warm to touch but not hot.
  3. Prepare all your dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Try to keep the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl.
  4. Beat the three egg whites in a separate small container until they are a little frothy. Add the remaining egg, the vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar to the egg whites.
  5. Once your milk is warm, set your mixer to a low setting, stirring the dry ingredients, and begin slowly pouring in the egg mixture. Once done, quickly switch to gradually adding the milk.
  6. Once the milk is added and slightly incorporated, stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and restart the mixing at a slightly higher speed until the dough is uniform in texture. The “dough” will be very silky and thick, close to muffin batter texture.
  7. Turn the mixer up to a medium-high speed and beat on medium high for three minutes. This helps activate the xanthan gum, sort of like kneading develops gluten.
  8. Lightly grease your rimmed cookie sheet. Fill a container with warm water to dip your spatula in. Scrape all of the dough out of the mixing bowl onto the baking sheet.
  9. Begin spreading the dough out into the corners of the sheet. I find using a technique similar to frosting a cake works well, where you’re not scraping the bottom but trying to always have a cushion of dough between you and the baking sheet at all times. You don’t want any see-through spots. Dip the spatula in the water occasionally to prevent the dough from sticking to it as you spread.
  10. Once the dough is spread into all the corners and relatively even and flat, push the dough to the sides of the baking sheet so that there is a small ridge around the edge of the pizza. You can define this edge by using your spatula to draw a line about 3/4 inch from the outside edge of the dough. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Irregularity looks delicious once it’s been baked through.
  11. Place your pizza dough in the warm oven or proofer for 20-minutes to rise.
  12. Prepare your toppings. I’ve suggested mozzarella, jack cheese, red bell pepper and artichoke hearts, but you can use whatever toppings you like!
  13. After 20 minutes, take the risen pizza dough out of the oven, and set the oven to preheat at 450 degrees.
  14. Add a thin layer of sauce evenly across the pizza, leaving the ridge around the edge clear of sauce. You don’t want too much sauce because too much liquid on a gluten-free pizza will make things soggy. Add the rest of your toppings however you like them. I like a very generous layer of cheese in the center and just a little bit of cheese around the edge that will turn crispy and wonderful in the oven, before adding the other toppings.
  15. Bake at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the cheese should be bubbling and starting to brown. Cut into squares and enjoy!

This pizza reheats fairly well. It loses a little bit of texture in the microwave but is still plenty delicious, and it stays good for about a week after baking if wrapped up well. I’m interested in trying to half this recipe and put it in a standard round pizza pan instead.

I hope you enjoy this gluten-free pizza recipe! Be sure to let me know how yours turns out and what toppings you used!

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How to Make Perfect Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

For years, I looked for a gluten-free cookie that fit my definition of perfect: Chewy, tender, easy to make, exactly the right ratio of chocolate chips to cookie dough. After many failed experiments, my hard work resulted in the perfect recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, which I can now share with you!

Going Gluten-Free

I got lucky when I decided to stop eating gluten, and found a spectacular cookbook, “You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free,” that allowed me to sate most of my cravings and inspired my love of baking. This book has load s of single-flour recipes, making it perfect for someone new to gluten-free baking to get their start.

The very first recipe I tried was the rice-flour recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. Despite the fact that my group of friends gobbled them down in a matter of hours, I was slightly disappointed. They were fluffy and flavorful and they didn’t crumble like your stereotypical gluten-free cookie does, but I was craving a tender chewy cookie.

I spent years searching for a recipe or a store-bought version that matched my expectations, but all gluten-free cookies I could find were crispy, crumbly, or fluffy. I never found the perfect one.

Writing My Own Cookie Recipe

I decided to invent a cookie that catered perfectly to my own tastes. In addition to a tender texture, I was looking for just the right amount of chocolate chips, a dough that was easy to handle, and ingredients that weren’t prohibitively expensive: A tall order, to be sure!

I made many attempts with different liquid and flour ratios, different baking times, flattening to the cookies to different thicknesses. But I continued to turn out dome shaped cake-like cookies.

One day I stumbled on an NPR article about the science of baking cookies. I taught myself how to bake and never baked much using gluten, so many of the ideas were new to me. In it, I discovered that melting the butter ahead of time causes the cookie to spread out more upon baking, giving you a more tender cookie.

Then a stroke of brilliance hit me! I had a brownie recipe that used melted butter, and it resulted in the most lovely chewy brownies– exactly the texture I wanted to replicate in my cookies!

I started with melted butter, added the proportions of sugar, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum (the binding ingredient that substitutes for gluten) that were standard in cookies, and then I slowly added a mix of my three favorite gluten-free flours until the dough came together cohesively. It was firm enough to roll in my hand but light enough that it wouldn’t turn into cardboard.

After attempting a few baking times, I did it! I made the perfect cookie! I’ve since baked this recipe dozens of times and I never get tired of these lovely treats.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe for perfectly chewy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies that is easy to make and is a perfect base recipe to experiment with and alter to make any flavor of cookie you want.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ Cup butter melted
  • ½ Cup brown sugar dark or golden
  • ¼ Cup white sugar
  • ½ Cup corn starch
  • Cup tapioca starch
  • Cup white rice flour
  • 1 ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ Cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut your butter into small squares before melting it, then set aside.
  3. Place all your dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and egg and mix thoroughly. Make sure to start mixing quickly, or if you have a stand mixture, begin mixing as soon as you start to pour the wet ingredients in. If you let the mixture sit with the liquid in it, the cornstarch and egg will turn into cement and lumps will be impossible to break up!
  4. Mix until an even dough forms. If dough is a little crumbly, like in picture below, add a teaspoon or two of milk or water until the dough comes together easily and the sides of the bowl are clean.
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix until chips are evenly distributed. You may need to mix the dough by hand a bit.
  6. Take spoonfuls of the dough and roll them into 1.5 inch balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and press them to be about 1 centimeter thick. Leave an inch in between each cookie so they have room to spread.
  7. Bake cookies on the middle oven wrack for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look slightly underdone, because they won’t be turning golden brown on the top yet, and that’s how you want them to look! If you poke the edge of a cookie with the side of your oven mitt, they should hold their shape.
  8. Cool for 15-20 minutes before eating. These cookies are tasty piping hot, but their texture is best when the cookie is completely cooled.

Stages of Cookie Making: 

Variations on the Perfect Cookie Recipe:

Possibly one of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can easily change it to be any flavor of cookie you want and it works just as well! Here are the best variations I’ve worked out so far:

Snickerdoodles: Leave out the chocolate chips, replace ½ C brown sugar with white sugar, decrease baking soda to ½ tsp, add 1 tsp cream of tartar (for that biting taste), and add 1 tsp cinnamon. Roll the balls of dough in a mixture of 2 tbsp white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon before pressing flat, and sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar over the tops.

Peanut butter: Add ½ C peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, both are great), and increase salt to ½ tsp. Chocolate chips are optional. Flatten balls of dough with a fork in a criss-cross pattern for classic peanut butter cookie look. Make sure these cookies are nice and thick when flattened for a tender cookie, or flatten them more for a more crunchy version.

Double chocolate chip: Reduce the white rice flour to ½ C+ 2 tbsp, reduce corn starch from to ¼ C, and add ¼ C special dark cocoa powder (or normal cocoa powder, but special dark is just so much richer!). Keep the chocolate chips and/or add ¼ C of white chocolate chips.

TIP: Use good quality white chocolate chips for a lovely ooey-gooey cookie. Cheap ones by Nestle or store-brand won’t melt properly. Ghiradelli has lovely quality chips but their bags of white chocolate are manufactured in a facility with wheat, making them unsuitable for those with Celiac’s disease. I settled on white chocolate chips by Sunspire as the best ones safe for me to eat.

Mint double chocolate chip: As with the double chocolate, reduce the white rice flour to ½ C+ 2 tbsp, reduce cornstarch ¼ C, add ¼ C special dark cocoa powder, add a ½ tsp of peppermint extract and add ⅓ C mint chocolate chips. Ghiradelli makes some really creamy tasty ones. This dough may need an extra teaspoon of milk to hold it together.

Ginger molasses: Add ¼ C molasses, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves, 2 tsp orange zest, and 1 tbsp white rice flour. When grating the orange zest, make sure you use a real zester or microplane, otherwise, the zest will be very bitter. Roll the balls of dough in white sugar before flattening and sprinkle remaining sugar over the tops of the cookies.

Egg-free: Replace egg with ¼ C of applesauce. You may need to adjust the texture by adding a bit of extra white rice flour or milk to get the dough right. The dough will seem very greasy, because the applesauce and butter will try to separate, and the cookies come out of the oven a little wrinkled, but they are still delicious.

I still haven’t nailed oatmeal walnut or plain sugar cookies that you can cut into shapes. What kind of cookie should I work on next? Let me know in the comments below!

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How to Make Gluten-Free Blackberry Pie

A friend of mine asked for a recipe for gluten-free pie crust so that he could make a pie that I could eat. When he served me the first slice he said, “When was the last time you had a gluten-free pie?” I said, “Er, probably 6 months ago?” He said, “When was the last time you had gluten free pie made someone other than you?” I paused and then said, “Never!”

I can count on one hand the number of times someone has made a pie I could eat since then! I didn’t nail down my ideal pie crust recipe for few years and now I use it for any pie, tart, or quiche that I make and it’s always a hit. It’s buttery and tender and your friends really won’t believe you when you tell them it’s gluten-free.

In this recipe, I’ll teach you how to make the basic pie crust, and then a classic Blackberry filling to make use of it. The following makes enough pie dough for a top and a bottom crust for one 9-inch pie pan.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Pie

Searching for a gluten-free pie crust that doesn't crumble or taste like cardboard? Want a classic recipe to show off your gluten-free skills? Search no further!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive time 1 hour
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • ¾ C butter
  • ¾ C white rice flour
  • ½ C brown rice flour
  • ½ C tapioca starch
  • ¼ C potato starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ C sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 egg

Filling Ingredients

  • 4 C frozen blackberries about two 1-lb packages
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ C sugar
  • Splash of lemon juice

Equipment

  • A 9-inch pie pan
  • A rolling pin
  • Parchment paper

Instructions

  1. Take your frozen berries out of the freezer to allow them time to thaw and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. To make the dough: Combine all the dry ingredients and the butter in a medium-sized bowl until crumbly.
  3. Add the egg and vinegar. Mix until dough forms, making sure to scrape down mixer if the egg gets caught in the middle. If you’re using an electric mixer, the dough starts to form a ball on its own. If the mixture seems too dry to become dough, add a teaspoon of milk.
  4. Wet your hands before molding the dough into a ball and wrapping with plastic wrap, to prevent crumbling. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. To make your filling: Place the berries in a medium-sized bowl. Add your cornstarch, sugar, and a small splash of lemon juice to the berries and mix gently so that the berries are evenly coated. To keep the bottom crust from disintegrating too much, strain berries over another bowl for a few minutes before placing them the pie crust.
  6. Once your dough is chilled, divide it into two equal parts. Lightly spray two pieces of parchment paper with non-stick spray. Place one section of the dough between the two sheets and roll out using a rolling pin. If you’re not sure how big it should be, place the pie pan on top of the rolled out dough. You’re looking for an inch or two wider than the bottom of the pan, and it should be about ¼ inch thick.
  7. Carefully peel off top piece of parchment paper. Take your time. Flip the rolled out dough (paper and all) into a pie pan. Carefully peel the second piece of parchment off. If you accidentally tear a hole, no sweat. Just take some extra dough from the edges and patch up the hole by pressing in the excess with your fingers. Prick the crust all over with a fork to help keep the crust in place during baking.
  8. Repeat the parchment paper process with the other half of the dough.
  9. Flip the second piece of dough onto the top of the pie and adjust the alignment so that it’s centered. Press the edges of the bottom and top crust together and crimp them evenly.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes and then cover with tinfoil to prevent over browning. Bake for an additional 20 minutes until the pie is solid most of the way through.

Gluten-free Pie Baking Tips:

  • For a non-dairy option, replace butter with Smart Balance or Earth Balance. If using Smart Balance, the colder the dough, the better. Try freezing the dough, and then work quickly.
  • If refrigerating or freezing the dough before use, microwave dough for 20-25 seconds to soften before rolling out.
  • If you’re in a hurry, and your kitchen isn’t sweltering hot, you can roll out the dough without refrigerating it. Just be very gentle when you roll it out and anticipate needing to patch some holes when you flip the dough into the pan.
  • If you are pre-baking or blind-baking the crust, bake for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees. (Blind baking is not required for the recipe above.)
  • When adjusting your own pie recipes to gluten-free, if you are making any kind of fruit pie, toss the fruit with the sugar, cornstarch and any other dry ingredients, then let the fruit strain for 10 minutes. If you keep the excess liquid, the bottom crust will weaken and it will be difficult to get a whole slice out of the pan.

Alternative Topping

If you want to use the crust recipe to make two pies without top crusts, consider replacing them with streusel. Here’s a quick recipe for making a pretty good streusel substitute gluten-free:

Gluten-Free Streusel

Course Topping
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ C white rice flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ C packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp milk

Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients, butter, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl until crumbly. Add milk and mix. If using an electric mixer, watch very carefully for the crumbs to begin to clump slightly and form larger crumbs. As soon as they do, turn off the mixer. Do not over mix or the crumbles will turn into balls of dough. In the event of over clumping, break the dough into small pieces by hand.
  2. Sprinkle over pies (or muffins!) One batch will cover 1 pie or 9 muffins.

Recipe Notes

When doubling this recipe, keep the measurements of wet ingredients the same to prevent over clumping.

Use this recipe to make fill your pie-craving after switching to gluten-free or make an extra special surprise for your gluten-free friend!

What’s your favorite kind of pie? Let me know in the comments.

 

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