Gluten-Free: It’s How We Roll

by Hope Sewell on June 28, 2014

in allergies, eos, family, recipes

We are a mostly gluten-free family.  Two of my children have an allergic inflammatory disease known as Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  I talk about our journey on that path HERE.  Due to this physical “hiccup”, our diet is quite different from your average American’s.  We avoid many things and gluten is one of the most difficult ingredients to steer clear of.  It is now, however, quite the trend to go gluten-free.  People are finding out the many benefits (such as better digestive health) of avoiding this particular staple.  I’ve heard various comedians laughingly say things like, “I don’t know what gluten is but it must be DELICIOUS!!”  So what is gluten??   To put it simply, it’s the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and also oats that is responsible for the elastic texture in dough; it helps breads rise and keep their shape.   Is it truly delicious??  No.  But it’s absence can be felt all the way down to the very grain of a loaf of gluten free bread.

Thankfully, all is not lost.  Gluten-free products are popping up everywhere in the local grocery stores.  You can get a box of gluten-free “oreos” for a whopping $5.99!!  A bag of pretzel sticks for $7.99. And a loaf of bread??  That’s gonna run you about $5-$7.  The painfully obvious truth is: going gluten free ain’t cheap!!

That’s why I fell in love when I came across a cookbook entitled “Gluten-Free on a Shoestring”.  My mother picked it up for me at Sam’s Wholesale Club a couple of years ago for $12.27.  The author is Nicole Hunn and you can follow her blog HERE.  She takes on the challenge of going gluten-free for a reasonable amount of money.  I have many gluten and allergy-free cookbooks in my repertoire and this is one of my most used.  I’ve made things like sourdough bread, white sandwich bread, soft pretzels, chocolate chip butter cookies, and most recently these gluten-free dinner rolls.

These rolls were super easy to put together and were enjoyed by all.  Here’s what you need to make your own.

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus 1/4 cup extra for dredging (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 extra-large egg white, at room temperature (We are egg free also so I replaced the egg white with 1 tbs flax mill mixed with 3 tbs water)
2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
1 extra-large egg, beaten with 1 TBS water for egg wash (I brushed on whole milk instead)

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle atachment, blend the butter untlil light and fluffy.  Add the dry ingredients.  Mix at low speed to allow everything to come together.  Add the egg white (or egg replacer) and beat to combine.  With the mixer still on low, add the water in a slow and steady stream.  Once the dough has started to come together, turn the mixture up to at least half speed and beat for about 6 minutes.

Divide the dough into 15-17 balls (I got 15) with a standard 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop.  Lightly dredge balls in the extra flour and gently roll into proper balls in between your palms.  Place the rolls 3/4 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

photo 1 (9)

Allow them to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 30 minutes or until they’ve nearly doubled in volume (more or less, depending upon the temperature and humidity level at the time in your kitchen).  I put my rolls in my bottom oven while the top oven preheated to 375 degrees.  Ideally, the rolls will be side by side, nearly touching.

photo 2 (9)
After they’ve risen, use a pastry brush to brush on the egg wash or milk.  As you can see in the photo above I did the “egg wash” prior to the rise.  Oops…
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees, until golden brown. 
photo 3 (3)
Serve warm or at room temperature.

This week I served these along side a large pan of Baked Ziti.  I also made a little dipping oil.  You can’t have bread without something to dip or sop as we southerners would say!!  It was DELICIOUS!!

A good gluten-free bread isn’t always easy to achieve but these honestly were great.  They would make perfect slider buns…I’m thinking some good barbecue chicken, burgers, etc.  I want to experiment with pigs in the blanket soon too!!  The possibilities are ENDLESS!  Yep…gluten-free is how we roll!

You can print the recipe Here!


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