Friends, I’m so happy to share another gluten-free roll recipe with you! I’ve really enjoyed working with Red Star Yeast on these recipes. Today, just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m sharing my new recipe for Gluten-Free Oatmeal Molasses Rolls. I’m so proud of how these rolls turned out – soft, sweet, and hearty all at the same time! I want to shout it from the rooftops!
Thank you to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post.
Years ago for Thanksgiving, I started making oatmeal molasses rolls from an old cookbook I have. I haven’t made them for Thanksgiving since becoming gluten-free, and I’ve really missed them! They were the best rolls. I suppose my mission the last few years has been to recreate my favorite recipes using gluten-free ingredients. I hate feeling left out when I make things for my family and can’t eat them anymore. So I set to work recreating this recipe and crossed my fingers it would work as I envisioned!It’s really difficult to mimic the texture and flavor of whole wheat in gluten-free yeast breads. My goal was to test out a mixture of flours and starches that would mimic wheat a bit more than the usual roll recipes I make. I didn’t want light springy rolls like I did when I developed the Coconut Pani Popo recipe. These needed to be on the denser side, but still be soft and tender.
I have started experimenting more with teff flour. Teff is the smallest grain in the world. It’s been a staple food source in Ethiopia for centuries. The flavor is nutty and more complex than other gluten-free grains. The germ and bran are very nutritious, including being very high in fiber and calcium. Teff also lends a great texture to gluten-free baked goods. I also tested this recipe using buckwheat flour. Sorghum and millet would also be a great substitutes. As with almost all gluten-free breads, a mixture of flours and starches is needed to create the desired texture. I like tapioca starch because it gives the rolls a chewiness that you can’t get from other starches. (I also tried making these with cornstarch, but I missed the chewy texture too much to include it in the final recipe!) There’s also a bit of extra xanthan gum, which helps mimic the structure gluten provides in wheat flour bread dough. All together, I think this mix of flours and starches came pretty darn close to being as satisfying as a roll made with wheat. Score!
The real stars of the recipe are the oats and molasses. I debated whether or not to use ground oats, whole rolled oats, and cooked oatmeal. I settled on the cooked oatmeal after trying out the other options. I liked the way it held the dough together and the oats were semi-incorporated into the dough, meaning they didn’t disappear. I wanted to be able to see and taste them in the finished roll.
Sometimes gluten-free yeast breads can lack flavor. They don’t always brown as nicely as wheat rolls, so they need a little help in that area as well. That’s where the molasses and brown sugar come in. I tried using less brown sugar, but missed the extra sweetness. The molasses adds more sweetness, but the real addition is the deep flavor. Both the brown sugar and molasses also make the rolls super soft and tender. They almost taste like cake. Almost.
The dough is really soft and sticky. I think that’s the biggest secret of all to really good gluten-free rolls. The combination of starches and flours can be really heavy and so I add more yeast that I normally would to give them extra lift. I also let these rolls rise twice, for a longer period of time than other recipes I’ve created. I decided I liked forming larger rolls using oiled hands rather than dusting with rice flour. Without the extra coating of flour, they raised higher. I made prettier rolls as I was testing out the different variations, but working too much with the dough once it was raised led to rolls that didn’t rise as high the second time around; though they were still good. So, they aren’t as pretty, but boy do they taste fantastic!
The final result is one that I’m proud of! The taste and texture is just what I was hoping for. I asked my toughest critic, my husband, what he thought about the rolls. He said they were really good – and he wasn’t buttering me up either! My kids enjoyed all the different batches I made too, but the last one was the winning batch, hands down. The best thing about these, too, is that they stay soft for several days – a huge feat! There will definitely be another pan of these on my table this Thanksgiving!
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy is fine)
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packages Red Start Active Dry Yeast
- 6 Tablespoons warm water (110°F)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 and ⅔ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (see below)
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter, pure non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, or flavorless oil
- ⅓ cup unsulphured molasses
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Oil, for pan and tops of rolls
- GF flour mix:
- 1⅓ cups teff, buckwheat, sorghum, or millet flour
- 1 cup white or brown rice flour
- ⅔ cup tapioca starch
- ⅓ cup sweet rice flour (mochi flour)
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- Place the oats and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until most of the milk is absorbed. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to cool.
- Meanwhile, in another bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar and let stand for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy.
- Sift or whisk together the flours, starches, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the soaked oats, eggs, molasses, melted butter (or shortening), and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn mixer on to low speed and mix well. Add the yeast, and mix again on low until combined.
- With the mixer still on low speed, add half of the gluten-free flour mix. Stop mixer and scrape down sides. Turn mixer on to low and add the rest of the flour. The dough will be very, very sticky. Turn the mixer onto medium-high speed and mix for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down the sides. Let stand for a few minutes. The dough will thicken during this time.
- Lightly coat the inside of a large mixing bowl with oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn it over to so all of the dough’s surface is coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for one hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise up quite a bit.
- Oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
- Using oiled hands, form the dough into rounds about the size of a mandarin orange. Be careful not to squish the dough down too much as the rolls are being formed.The dough will be very soft and sticky. Use a little more oil as needed. Arrange in five rows of three for larger rolls. For smaller rows, arrange in six rows of three.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400°F about 20 minutes before the rolls are finished rising.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool for a few minutes and serve. Rolls are best when warm, but are also good at room temperature.
-Before baking, a sprinkling of more gluten-free oats can be added to the tops as well.
Disclosure: This recipe was developed in partnership with Red Star Yeast. I received compensation for my time in creating and photographing this recipe. We appreciate the support of our sponsors.