Gluten-Free Honey Millet Rolls

Special occasions in my family have always meant special bread.  Soft, yeasty, slightly sweet, and rich, the rolls I remember were not a mere accessory to a good meal.  Too often, rolls are an afterthought when planning a meal.

Before I developed celiac disease, I was a confident bread baker and I worked hard to make sure that bread wasn’t an afterthought in our house.  I baked sourdoughs from starter, fresh baguettes, whole-grain sandwich loafs and the buttery Parker House Rolls that I grew up making with my mom.  In culinary school I even toyed with the idea of specializing in yeast breads.  I couldn’t get enough of the feel of the dough, the shaping, the aroma and the quest for the ideal crumb.  Baking bread well requires a connectedness with your ingredients that is gratifying and intuitive and I loved it.

Initially, I let my gluten-free lifestyle get in the way of all that.  I decided that gluten-free breads would never be able to compare, and I moved on, bread-less and somewhat defeated.

I’m not sure what triggered my change of heart, but I do know that it had a lot to do with inspiration.  I had been converting many of my old recipes and the successes were so encouraging that my mind came back to bread.  I had found a connectedness with a whole new set of ingredients that I had never even heard of when I was in culinary school.  I was finally ready to express myself with this new pallet.

These Gluten-Free Honey Millet Rolls were one of my first creations, and they should not be an afterthought.

Gluten-Free Honey Millet Rolls (Makes 8 large rolls)

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flax
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (use less if you are using fine salt)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (I use Authentic Foods for a corn-free variety) or guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup warm water, 110 degrees

Place the dry ingredients  (gf flour, millet, flax, yeast, salt, and xanthan gum) in the bowl of your standing mixer.

With the paddle attachment, slowly mix ingredients until incorporated, approximately 30 seconds.

In another bowl, gently whisk the remaining ingredients (vinegar, agave, eggs, oil and water) until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the mixer and with the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes on medium-high speed (remember to start your mixer SLOWLY so you don’t end up wearing your ingredients!).

Scoop rolls with a spring-loaded, metal ice cream scoop.  I use a 56MM scoop (4TB).  I scoop out rolls onto a parchment lined sheet pan, but you could also use a lightly oiled sheet pan.  Since the rolls mostly rise, but don’t really spread, a two inch spacing is sufficient.  Then with wet fingertips, gently smooth the tops down a bit so that they bake more evenly.

Cover the rolls with well oiled plastic wrap or an inverted sheet pan carefully balanced on top, and let rise for 50 minutes in a warm place (80 degrees).  I run my toaster oven once without anything in it, let it cool a bit while I’m mixing the ingredients, and then set my rolls on top to rise.  You can lay an instant read thermometer alongside the rolls to monitor the temperature.  Don’t allow them to get too hot, as this will lead to an accelerated rise and unstable bread which may collapse when you remove it from the oven.  I am an impatient person and I have done that more times than I care to admit!  Taste and texture of gluten-free breads is dependent on sufficient rise time at a warm, but not too hot temperature!

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When rolls have almost doubled in height (50 minutes, but no longer than an hour) place in preheated 375 degree oven for 16-18 minutes.  Rolls should be a deep golden color, and they will smell fragrant.  Remove from oven and carefully move rolls to a cooling rack.

Serve warm and freeze remainder as soon as they are cool to preserve freshness.  Gluten-free breads do not keep for long after baking, but freezing can preserve flavor and freshness.  I gently defrost my rolls in the microwave, slice and then toast, or warm in foil in the oven.

18 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Honey Millet Rolls

    • I hope you do try them! I didn’t even realize the connection between food allergies and my chronic canker sores until I started eating wheat/gluten, dairy and soy free. I haven’t had a canker sore since. Everyone always told me I would outgrow mine, but I kept getting them until I was 34 years old and started eating this way. It is definitely worth considering!

  1. Tony ate 3 out of 8 right away! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. I didn’t have enough millet so used a bit of teff and quinoa. I also have trouble getting any bread to rise as it should (except for when prepping yeast separately). Maybe because I don’t use an electric mixer? My “rolls” are more like flat bread, but still taste good ;-) Will definitely be making them again soon!

    • I’m so happy your family liked them! Mike always tells me that he would rather eat these than a regular gluten roll. Regarding the rise, I would double check that you are getting a warm enough spot. I use an instant read thermometer on its’ side, laying on the sheet pan near the rolls (under the proofing cover or plastic wrap). It should read 80 degrees. The hand mixing might be a problem too. Xanthan gum definitely seems to benefit from some really enthusiastic mixing. Not to mention, the eggs will also incorporate a lot of air as well when they are beat in a mixer. When I mix gf breads, my mixer is on medium-high, so that is quite fast and powerful. Maybe the next time I make them I will try mixing by hand and report back to you to see what happens to mine. Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. Hello! This looks like a wonderful recipe! I have a few quick questions: Would this recipe work well baked in a bread pan like sandwich bread? I’m looking for a good bread recipe to use for my school lunch. Also, (I know you probably can’t say for sure and I feel kind of guilty asking… but… >.<) do you think an egg replacement would work alright in this recipe? Namely flax or chia eggs. Thank you so much!

    • Hi April, Thanks for visiting Free Eats. I have never tried this recipe in a bread pan, but I do make small rolls, cool them, slice in half and freeze. Then I remove them one at a time as needed and make my sandwich directly on the frozen roll…..wrap tightly with foil and put into your insulated lunch bag. The bread is defrosted and just right by lunch time. If you are looking for a sandwich bread recipe, I have one that I love for school lunches: http://freeeatsfood.com/2011/12/20/my-favorite-sandwich-bread-recipe/
      I haven’t tried either recipe with egg-replacers, but if you are up for an experiment, it would be worth a try. Let me know how it goes if you get a chance. Good luck!

    • As long as it’s ground, the brown flax will work too. It will change the flavor a bit, but they will still taste great, in my opinion. :) Feel free to use any oil that works best for your diet and taste.

  3. These are just delicious and are a new family favorite. Thanks so much for sharing all of your great recipes!
    BTW, I use egg replacer in this recipe and the rolls come out just great every time.

    • Hi Claire, You could use sorghum flour, almond flour, quinoa flour, or brown rice flour. Each one will carry a different flavor profile in the roll, but they will all work. :) Best, Terris

  4. They are rising right now…can’t wait to eat them! I’ve never made rolls that contain yeast from scratch,only in the bread machine..so far I’;m pleased. :)

    • Yes, you could at some finely ground gluten-free oats, or oat flour to substitute for the flax. The flax is only in there to boost nutrition and add a bit of flavor. Thanks for stopping by!

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