I made no less than about 12 batches of these gluten-free yeast dinner rolls until I got them just right! Not kidding. I tried different flours, adding eggs, and varying amounts of yeast. Pretty sure I was having a dance party in my kitchen when I finally got it!
I think it’s important that I share this recipe with everyone!
The Flour is Key
One little secret I have is the kind of flour that we like to use for breads/pizza crusts. This very special flour is called Caputo Fiore Glute. Caputo is an Italian company based in Naples, AKA the birthplace of pizza. We use this gluten-free flour for our pizzas we make.
In the past we have special-ordered the flour from one of our local Italian restaurants. But, we typically order it off of Amazon. One of the reasons it’s great for these types of recipes is that it is very fine. It doesn’t have a gritty texture. Another factor that helps in the consistency of these rolls and our pizza dough is that this flour contains wheat starch. Let me explain about why I’ve decided it’s safe for myself to consume.
What Exactly Is Gluten-Free Wheat Starch
I completely understand why it’s frightening to see the word “wheat” in a gluten-free product. Yes, that’s VERY true that we shouldn’t be eating products with regular old wheat in it. But the starch of the wheat grain is a completely different part from the protein portion, otherwise known as gluten. This gluten protein is what causes the auto-immune reaction in those with Celiac Disease.
Please note that if you have a wheat allergy, you absolutely cannot consume this product! Wheat starch is still wheat (it’s just not gluten).
I found a helpful explanation on the Gluten-Free Living website describing the process is for separating out the wheat starch:
“The main components of wheat are fiber, starch and gluten protein. Extraction involves milling the wheat into flour, making dough and washing out the starch. Starch dissolves in water but gluten does not, so the gluten-protein sediment sinks to the bottom. Then the starch solution can be drained off and dried.“
The FDA does also allow wheat starch in gluten-free foods if they are labeled gluten-free and can confirm that the proper testing has been done.
Italians Just Know What They’re Doing
You will also notice this green label on the bag of gluten-free Caputo flour. This green label denotes that the product is registered with the Italian Ministry of Health Gluten-Free Foods.
I did quite a bit of research regarding this symbol. This proved to be quite difficult because everything I found was written in Italian – a language which I do NOT speak or read. This symbol means that it is on a national registry for foods that are safe for people with Celiac Disease to consume.
In order to get this green symbol, the products need to meet certain regulations by the Italian Celiac Association (AIC). AIC might sound familiar to you because they are more well-known for how they certify restaurants. If you haven’t heard yet, Italy is amazing for gluten-free and celiac-safe restaurants. Here is another resource with a list of requirements by the AIC: https://www.italianfoodexcellence.com/gluten-free-certification/.
Here are a few more links to resources regarding gluten-free product testing, the AIC, and the Italian Ministry of Health’s Gluten-Free Foods:
Did you know that Italians with Celiac Disease can also get a monthly stipend from the government to help pay for their gluten-free foods? That’s amazing!!! This green symbol also indicates the products meet certain requirements and are eligible to be purchased with the stipend from that program.
Another reason that I feel comfortable eating this product with wheat starch in it is because I have been to Italy. They know what they are doing when it comes to gluten-free foods. Italians take it seriously. I am sure that during my travels there in 2018 that I consumed products with wheat starch when I dined out. My time there was some of the most glorious couple of weeks since my diagnosis. Gluten-free foods are available everywhere. And the taste and texture was just like all the other regular foods there. I have a full blog post about my trip to Italy with lots of photos of all the yummy food I was lucky enough to indulge in!
I Really Want To Make This Easy For You, But…
Even though this Caputo flour is what we typically use for breads/pizza dough in our house that doesn’t mean you have to as well. I understand that it’s not as readily available as the flour blends you can purchase on your next run to the grocery store. And I also know that some people might be hesitant to use products with wheat starch.
For those reasons, I did also test this recipe using the Cup4Cup flour which I have been using recently. I like the finer texture of this flour compared to Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. I have been a loyal Bob’s Red Mill user since the beginning of my diagnosis, but I have noticed it can be dry and kind of gritty so I am expanding my horizons and trying some other options recently.
I’ll be completely honest with you. The Caputo flour just works better. Because it is so fine and because it is made with certain ingredients it absorbs the liquid better and it gives a nice stretch in the bread. This stretch and chewiness is what we love about regular breads. You can still use the Cup4Cup with this recipe, but they will be denser, drier, and flatter. The flavor is there, but the texture is just not perfect yet. I can keep working on that for you!
Gluten-Free Bread Dough vs. Regular Bread Dough
Not all gluten-free yeast dinner rolls are the same. And this dough is not like regular dough. There is no kneading, no bread hook on the mixer, and no double-proofing. The consistency of this gluten-free yeast dinner roll dough is kind of like a thick batter, not a dough.
You’ll want to use a regular paddle attachment on your mixer. And then I scoop this wet mixture out of the bowl with my medium cookie scoop which I love and use for lots of things! Then I cover it tightly and put it in my somewhat warm oven to proof, which is when the yeast has time to release the carbon dioxide to make the dough expand and rise.
Yeast is a beast of it’s own. The quality of your yeast can make a big difference. Expired yeast may not bloom and then you’ll waste all this time and energy on rolls that don’t rise. I like to use the Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast (not the Instant). Just follow the directions on the back of the package to activate the yeast.
Proofing a yeast dough requires a certain temperature for the yeast to be happy and to grow. You can do a room temperature proof on the counter if the temperature is at 75° Fahrenheit. My house is never that warm. So I do a warmer proof in my oven. I preheat it to the lowest temperature (which is 170° on my oven), turn it off, and let the temperature come down to about 100° before I put the dough in to proof. I do have an oven thermometer I can hang in to make sure it’s warm, but you don’t want it too warm because anything above 115° Fahrenheit can kill the yeast.
You can also put it in the cold oven and then put a glass dish on the shelf with about an inch of boiling water. This will keep it nice and warm and moist in the oven.
These rolls can be finicky so I will give very detailed instructions in the recipe. I will walk you through it step-by-step and provide some photos of what you are looking for every inch of the way!
Gluten-Free Yeast Dinner Rolls
For the Rolls
- 3 ½ Cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend – Like Caputo Fiore Glut (a fine flour blend from Italy that can be purchased on Amazon)
- 6 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Milk – 2% or Whole Milk
- 5 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Tablespoons Extra melted butter for brushing on rolls before and after baking
For the Yeast
- 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast – I prefer to use active dry yeast and not instant
- 1/4 Cup Lukewarm water – Temperature between 110° and 115°
- 1/2 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
To activate the yeast
- Add the yeast packet and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water. Use a food thermomenter to make sure that the temperature is between 110° and 115° so that the yeast can activate it. You can kill the yeast if the water is too hot and then your rolls won't rise.
- Let this sit for about 15 minutes, until it "blooms" which means that the yeast comes alive. It will look sort of foamy/fuzzy and it you won't be able to see any yeast granules in the water anymore.
- If the yeast doesn't bloom during this time then your yeast is "dead" and won't work. You'll need to start over.
To create the rest of the dough
- In a mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, and salt. Make sure the paddle attachment is on the mixer. To measure the flour correctly for this recipe, I like to scoop it gently into the measuring cup and then level it off. You don't want to dig the measuring cup into the bag of flour because it gets too compacted. Then there will be too much flour in the dough.
- Warm the milk and butter together and check the temperature to get it between 110° and 115° just like you did for the yeast. Use the microwave for this step and check it in 15 second increments until you get to the desired temperature.Pour this into the flour mixture.
- When the yeast is bloomed add that into the mixing bowl. Mix everything together on slow for about a minute so that it starts to combine. Scrape down the sides. Then mix on medium for 3-4 more minutes. You want it smooth with no clumps. It will be a very sticky consistency, but it still needs to hold it's shape (somewhat).
- Warm up your proofing area to get it to about 100° Fahreneheit.
- If you are using a non-stick pan, spray with cooking spray. Scoop the dough into a 9×13 inch baking pan (metal works best – non-stick is even better). You'll want to have 4 rows going across the top and 6 rows going down.
- Wet your fingers and pat down and smooth the tops very gently.
- Cover with plastic wrap and make sure it's tight on the top. Then cover with a towel and place into your proofing area.
- Let these sit for one hour until they have proofed enough to be doubled their original size.
- After they are done proofing, remove them from the oven and then preheat it to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pan and very gently brush the tops of the dough with melted butter. Put the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. The tops will be golden brown.
- Brush the warm rolls with more melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. These are best served warm, but they can be stored in an airtight container for a few days and then warmed up in the microwave.
- This recipe can be cut in half. If you are doing that you’ll want to get a food scale to measure out the yeast just right – you are looking to get 3.5 grams. If you don’t have a food scale, you’ll need to measure out 1 ⅛ teaspoons. Also, these work great in a round cake pan if making only 12 rolls.
As you’ve noticed, there is also a lot of dairy in this recipe. I cannot guarantee that these would turn out if using a dairy-free alternative. But if you do it and it works, please comment below to share your success!
I received a question from a reader if this recipe will work for making a loaf of bread. And YES it does, with just a few modifications.
- Reduce the amount of sugar in the original recipe to 3 Tablespoons. The sweetness in the original recipe is great for the dinner rolls, but it’s too much for regular sandwich bread.
- This recipe makes a decent amount of dough so I used my 10 x5 inch bread pan. If you don’t have a pan that size, then you can just separate the batter in half and use two smaller loaf pans.
- Pour the batter in the bread pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. You don’t need to brush it with melted butter or anything before/after baking. Proof in the oven for one hour just like the rolls.
- Bake at 350° for about 30-35 minutes or until the crust on top is a solid brown color and it sounds hollow if you lightly tap on it.
- Let it cool completely before slicing. You can store it in an airtight container on the counter for a few days or freeze it for later.
Remember to PIN this recipe for gluten-free yeast dinner rolls for future!
**As an added bonus, if anyone is interested to know if I tested this flour with my Nima Gluten Sensor. Yes! I have tested at least 3 of the orders we’ve gotten, both dry flour and the final product, and it has been gluten-free every time!