Foodie Friday – Parker House Rolls

Many of you who know our family know that Paul, Rebecca, and I have to eat gluten-free.  Rebecca was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in April, 2008, and after we converted our kitchen to accommodate her condition we discovered that we felt a whole lot better as well.

Now, in most cases GF cooking isn’t that much different from regular cooking; I’ve found different GF ingredients and products that our family really likes (and some we’d rather not talk about) and it’s been pretty easy to adapt most things.

However, gluten-free baking is another story altogether.

Wheat gluten has a wonderful property of stretchiness that non-wheat products simply can’t match.  When it comes to baking bread/rolls/etc., it can be a real challenge to figure out how to do things right; most gluten-free bread dough is really more like cake batter, which makes it impossible to knead/mold into shapes.

Which is why I was so thrilled to find this recipe in my inbox one day – finally, a gluten-free bread recipe that actually allows me to manipulate the bread dough!

Now, GF bread is never going to have the light, airy texture that can be achieved with some normal bread recipes, and this recipe is quite dense – extra flour is added, which is what allows the dough to be worked.

I’m still playing around with this one to see what else I can make with it, but for now I’m just happy to have an alternative to wet bread batter:
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Gluten-Free Parker House Rolls

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2¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (about 110°F)
1 teaspoon + ¼ cup sugar, divided
3½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, more for working dough
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (if not already in GF flour mix)
1 cup milk of choice
¼ cup melted butter, melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1-1½ teaspoons coarse or kosher salt (optional)
3 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing tops (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with low sides (for “true” PH rolls) or a baking dish/cake pan (for traditional rolls) with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment or a food processor, combine yeast, warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 10 minutes until a foamy head forms.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and xanthan gum.

4. In a small saucepan, heat milk until it’s lukewarm to touch. Add ¼ cup melted butter, ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat. Add to yeast mixture, stirring or pulsing to combine. (Milk mixture should be about 110°F, not hot, so as not to kill yeast).

5. Add egg to wet ingredients, mixing until combined.

6. Add flour mixture a little at a time, mixing together until dough forms.

7. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface.

If making “true” PH Rolls: Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Using only as much gluten-free flour as needed to handle the dough, roll each part into a rectangle about 12×6 inches. Cut dough into 4×2-inch rectangles. Brush each rectangle with some melted butter, if desired. Fold 4-inch side of dough over the top and pinch edges to seal.

If making “regular” rolls: Divide dough into equal number of pieces, depending on how many rolls you want (up to 36). Roll each piece into a ball.

8. Place rolls, edges touching, in prepared pan. Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour.

9. Place in preheated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired.
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About Teresa in Fort Worth, TX

A short, fat, middle-aged, happily-married, mother of 4 daughters. A former high school valedictorian (way back in the Stone Age), a Civil Engineering major in college, a middle-of-the-road Conservative, and a moderate Methodist. I know just enough to get myself in trouble....
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