Dinner Rolls, Gluten-Free (revised 2/28/10; 11/27/10)

by Jeanne on November 21, 2009

It’s the Thanksgiving season and it’s time for all sorts of baked goods. Last weekend I put a note out on Twitter asking gluten-free folks what foods they most missed during the holidays. Many people came back with the same answer–dinner rolls.

Ah, yes. Homemade dinner rolls. I remember them fondly. The ones my mom made (and that I took over making fairly early on) weren’t your hard-crusted rolls (even though those are yummy, too). The ones we made were the Parker House roll from the Joy of Cooking. They were soft and squishy, with a light crust on the outside. They were brushed with butter before baking. They were good warm from the oven and equally as good cold with leftovers. These are a must at Thanksgiving.

I’ve been playing around with recipes for these for awhile. I have a fairly good crusty roll recipe down (for a later post). But the soft and squishy roll was what I was after. I was curious about the history of Parker House rolls. According to The Food Timeline (a fascinating web site) the Parker House was a hotel in Boston, MA (it’s now an Omni Hotel).  They often have a “dent” in the top–so they are also called “pocketbook rolls” because of their purse-like appearance. The explanation for the dent in the top is usually explained by the baker throwing the dough into the oven for some reason. Explanations for why the dough was thrown into the oven ranges from the baker throwing the rolls in a fit of pique over his love for the chambermaid, to the baker throwing them in the oven over a guest’s belligerence. Fun stuff.

The following dinner roll recipe is inspired by the Parker House rolls from the Joy of Cooking. Since the batter is like most types of gluten-free batter and is more the consistency of cake batter, I bake these in greased muffin pans.* The dough isn’t really stiff enough to be able to fold the dough in order to get the characteristic “dent” in the middle, but a slash in the top works well.

Dinner Rolls, Gluten-Free (revised 2/28/10; 11/27/10 to reduce xanthan gum amount)

Yield: 18 rolls

Note: this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum

Special Equipment Needed
-stand mixer is really helpful, but a hand mixer will do
-muffin pan

3 C (420g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
2 tsp xanthan gum (this is in addition to the xanthan gum in the mix)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 C (50g) sugar
2 TBL active dry yeast (I use Red Star)
2 C (475ml) warm but not hot milk (or milk substitute, or water)
2 tsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
2 large or extra large eggs
1/4 C (60ml) olive oil (or neutral vegetable oil)
melted butter (or butter substitute) for pans and for brushing tops of rolls
tapioca flour for pans

Butter and flour muffin tins

In a small bowl, whisk 1 TBL of the sugar into warm milk.  Add yeast, whisk to dissolve; set aside to proof (start the yeast working)–it will get foamy on the top.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, the remaining sugar, and salt; set aside.

In bowl of mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together eggs, vinegar and oil.  Add yeast mixture, beat to mix.  Add flour mixture, beat on low to combine, then beat on high for about 3 minutes.

Spoon dough into prepared muffin tins–filling about 3/4 of each cup.  With a sharp knife that has been dipped in tapioca flour, cut a deep slash in the top of each roll

Don’t worry if there’s a little extra tapioca flour left on the rolls.  Turn on oven to preheat to 375 degrees.

Let rise until doubled in bulk–about 40 mins.  I put muffin tins on top of stove to let dough rise in proximity to warmth of the preheating stove.

Once rolls have risen, brush the top of each with melted butter.  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes–until the tops are a nice golden brown.  If they start to brown too quickly, loosely tent the rolls with aluminum foil.

Remove from oven.  Release rolls from tins–I often put them into a tea-towel lined basket to keep warm.

These rolls keep well, although you’ll probably eat them all the day you bake them! I have put them on the counter, unwrapped, overnight to see what they would be like the next day–and they were yummy!

*Note: you can also make these by dropping large spoonfuls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Follow rising and baking instructions for the muffin-tin rolls.



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