I’ve been experimenting more with bread rolls in the bread department than actual bread loaves over these past months. Partly because for the past months I had to cook (painfully) with a teeny-itty-bitty-tiny oven that none of my bread molds could fit in! Despair! But I discovered other gluten-free bread making techniques that involved making buns instead of loaves. One of the good things is that I got to play around with new binders that I didn’t use a lot before, such as arrowroot, which gives a firm, compact and crispy bread – perfect for making biscuits – or psyllium.
Ground psyllium seed husks have been a wonder to make gluten-free bread rolls. Ordinarily, psyllium is used as a dietary fiber supplement, but because of its water-absorbing properties, it also acts as a great binder in baked goods and makes breads less crumbly than when you solely use almond flour for example. Provided you use the right quantity, psyllium swells more than 10 times its original size so it can rapidly dry up your entire batter if you’re not careful with measuring. This is not an ingredient that the paleo folks approve of because aside from bulking up your intestines with fiber, it has no nutritional value for your body. But since it’s plant-based and it’s basically pure fiber, it doesn’t do any harm if you’re reasonnable with the amount you take, it just doesn’t play a big role in fulfilling your nutritional needs. Personally, I get by fine with the occasional small amount for baking, so I say live a little and add some psyllium to that bread dough because it does magic.
I almost cried at how perfect it made the bread turn out the first time I took a batch of these cinnamon raisin bread rolls out of the oven. Completely round-shaped, with an exterior crust but a tender and soft inside that looked like real bread. The only minor inconvenient with psyllium in bread is that you make them using a lot of water, so be sure to cool them completely (preferably overnight) before storing them otherwise they’ll get soggy if you put them in the fridge too quickly (I speak wisely from not one, not two, not three but four experiences). Now that I have a new oven I’m excited to start experimenting with bread loaves again, but in the mean time here’s another bread roll recipe for the road! Speaking of road, these were actually very practical to carry around when I had to travel for several days for field research or during this summer when I was travelling with my family and needed to pack some breakfast bread in my suitcase. And btw, this is a nut-free recipe for people who are finding all those nuts in gluten-free baking a little hard to digest.
Makes 8 bread rolls
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup ground flax
4 tbsp ground psyllium seed husks
3/4 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1. In a mixing bowl, mix the coconut flour, psyllium husks, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, honey and coconut milk and incorporate into the dry ingredients.
3. Finally, add the boiling water and mix well. If you’re finding the dough a little dry, add a few more tablespoons of water. Stir in half of the sesame seeds. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 1 heaped tablespoon of dough, form into a ball and place on baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches of space between the bread rolls as they will expand in the oven. The dough should be a little sticky, wetting your hands a little helps to handle it. Sprinkle the bread rolls with the remaining half of sesame seeds and bake for 45-50 minutes.
6. Take out of the oven and place the bread rolls on a cooling rack. Let cool completely (at least an hour and preferably overnight): this is an important step since these are made with a lot of water. You want to let that moisture redistribute throughout the bread, otherwise you will end up with a soggy bread.
Suggestion: Eat these toasted with a little melted butter and jam, or with some fresh goat cheese and honey!