Guest Post: Light and Fluffy Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Dough

     Lets start off with a bit of truth, I am Jessi, normally I write for Ramblings of a Caffeinated Army Wife and unlike the owner/writer of this blog I am not Gluten Free.  My home is not Gluten Free.  In fact, in our home, we embrace the gluten in wheat flour almost as much as we embrace coffee.  That being said, if you follow Gluten Free for Jen on Facebook, you have probably seen me comment or post from time to time as #2 the second admin around the page.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

     I love to bake and create recipes although I am not a great baker but I am a pretty good one.  A great baker can make amazing flavors and can make everything look pretty too.  I on the other hand, can make above average tasting foods, but they rarely look pretty or elegant…ok so they never look pretty or elegant.  But, like I said, the flavors and textures are good, just ask every neighbor who has ever lived near us!

     Along with a love of baking, I love a challenge.  I have been watching Kandi – owner of this blog, struggle with the different textures of gluten free breads, and recipes the past couple years.  For some reason I thought I could help, even though I know NOTHING about baking with gluten free flours.  I did not know what I was getting into!

     I did not pass this information on to anyone at the time, I was just thinking and researching, mostly just thinking.  I know the textures of my cinnamon rolls, I can make them without touching my recipe, and I understand the chemistry behind baking from scratch.  Plus my basic dough can be used for so many things from cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, stuffed bread recipes etc and so I decided to tackle this project using my own cinnamon roll recipe but convert it to a gluten free.

     Converting it required a few phone calls, a bit of research online about gluten free flours and a trip to my local specality food store.  At the store I ran into the baker who creates gluten free items daily and she offered me a few tips that ended up being EXTREMELY helpful in this process!

Gluten Free Sticky Rolls

     Admititly, I am not an expert by any means, and I probably went overboard with my additions because I did not know what I was doing.  ðŸ™‚  The first batch of dough went into the trash.  I knew as soon as I mixed it up that it was not going to rise, and 10 minutes later, I confirmed my suspicions.  Gluten free flour is different from wheat flour, obviously its made without gluten but gluten is what gives doughs their stretchy quality, its what allows the dough to rise and stretch.  Without the stretch, dough can not rise.

     In theory it would be like asking corn starch to rise, hey it looks like flour right?  Not so much!  I also learned in research that not all gluten free “all purpose” flours are the same!  Who knew!  Well apparently a lot of people knew but I didn’t.  You will find a gluten free all purpose flour in my recipe, along with xanthan gum and guar gum.  Why?, because I was determined to give this a real stretchy sticky texture!  Like I mentioned earlier, I may have gone a bit overboard but the end result was a beautiful stretchy dough, and if I had not made it myself I would not have guessed the ingredients.  Which I am guessing is a big success!

     Use the basic dough recipe for just about anything!  Cheesy bread, bread sticks, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon raisin swirl bread, stuff bread loaves and light n fluffy dinner rolls!  I do!

Gluten Free Basic Dough Recipe:  
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of warm milk
1/2 Tbs honey
3 Tbs yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/4  tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking powder
4-5 cups all purpose gluten free flour (divided)*

     Start by getting the water boiling.  Into a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar then add evaporated milk, boiling water, eggs, salt, oil.  This is a whole lotta liquid!  But liquid is good!  In a separate bowl, warm milk and honey together but do not boil or scorch the milk.  Once the honey and warm milk have made friends 🙂  add the yeast and stir just a bit then set aside while you deal with the dry ingredients.

     I sifted the gluten free all purpose flour before measuring it into a completely separate bowl.  Yes at this point I was using 3 different bowls, but better still soon you will have a 4th bowl in play.  Did I mention I am not the most organized baker?  I sifted out 6 cups of gluten free all purpose flour, into a 3rd mixing bowl because I was not sure how much it would take.  I would recommend this!  In the 4th mixing bowl I put 2 cups of flour, because I knew I would need way more than 2 cups so it was safe to use and sifted the guar gum/xantham gum/baking powder together.

     Check on your yeast!  Is it creating bubbles? Is it rising?  Does it smell of wonderful delicious bready bread breadness?  If yes, then yay!  Add it to your liquids, making sure to get all the yeast into your mixing bowl!  Now that we have all the liquids into one bowl, we can begin adding the dry ingredients.

Gluten Free Dough CAN Stretch!

     First begin adding the mix of flour/gums/baking powder slowly to your liquids.  This will be a sloppy mess at first, so go slowly and be patient.  Once that mix is fully incorporated begin adding more sifted all purpose flour about a cup at a time.  I did take a break while I was adding flour, to take a phone call and while I was on the phone the flour absorbed a lot of liquid.  So I would recommend taking a 5 minute break!

Rising Dough!

     I ended up using 4 1/2 cups of gluten free flour, but it may take slightly more or less depending on the ratios used in your all purpose mix.  Now once your dough looks similar to mine, put a tea towel over it and walk away.  Give the yeast and all the ingredients time to get to know one another.  Bread is not an instant thing, it takes time.  This rise should take about 20-ish minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is.  You want your dough to almost double!

     Then flour your counter, and turn the dough out.  Its time to kneed some dough!  Sprinkle a bit of flour onto your dough ball and kneed it for a few minutes, incorporating more flour until you have a nice smooth soft dough.  Cover this again, and let it rise one more time.  It will double again.  Once the dough has doubled for a second time.  You are done.  Basic dough, full of great flavor and gluten free goodness!  Ready to use for any idea you can dream up.
     I made these into cinnamon rolls and sticky buns!

     For rolls and sticky buns:
Roll out about 1/4th of the total dough at a time.  Cover with butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Use a good cinnamon, one that has an amazing aroma.  There’s no point in using a cinnamon if it does not smell amazing, because the flavor reflects the aroma.  Roll up and cut!  Super simple.  I put cinnamon rolls into a muffin pan so they are individual.   Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until the tops begin to turn golden brown.  Frost or powder sugar on top

For sticky buns:
     On the stove mix together:
4 Tbs butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbs honey
2 Tbs corn syrup
1 cup chopped nuts
     Melt all this together on the stove and then cover the bottom of a well greased cake pan, then add your sliced cinnamon rolls around the pan.  Bake at 350 for around 15-20 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cookie sheet as soon as they come out!

*Notes:  I used Beths Gluten Free Pantry Flour as my all purpose flour (can also be found in a package called Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour)

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29 thoughts on “Guest Post: Light and Fluffy Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Dough

  1. Jasmine

    Wow, I would say you did a fantastic job making those cinnamon and sticky rolls look pretty, especially seeing as they’re gluten free! That dough looks fantastic!

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks! Ill be making these tonight & i’ll let you know how they turn out! And thanks for the quick reply!

  3. Anonymous

    The dough didn’t turn out 🙁 I tried using only xathan gum, because guar gum isn’t available in my area. Im going to take a little drive, pick up some guar gum, and try it again. I’ll update you!

    1. Gluten Free for Jen

      Thank you for letting us know so other readers are aware! I made it using both and had it turn out but I had to use a lot more flour because I was fighting humidity and my blend was a different one then what she used but it still worked and tasted great!

  4. Anonymous

    I used guar gum, and xanthan gum, and it still didnt work 🙁 it has a yucky flavor. I used “bobs red mill” all purpose baking flour. I live in the central valley of california, so theres not much humidity here. It seemed like no amount of flour was enough. After 7 cups, it was still too wet, and i knew it would be another waste. I also used “active dry yeast”. Did you use either of these products? Im thinking “bobs red mill” might be the problem. This was my third try. Lol

    1. Gluten Free for Jen

      It could be the flour- each flour blend reacts differently. Sorry you didn’t get it to work out. I thought the taste when i made it was amazing and my husband actually enjoyed it. I switch back and forth between Domata Flour and Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose. I have never tried Bobs Red Mill. The yeast I used was Red Star Active Dry Yeast

  5. Anonymous

    Do you happen to know what kind of flour she used? And what kind do you use? I wish i knew which gluten free flour is the closest to regular flour. Any idea?

    1. Gluten Free for Jen

      The flour I have had the most luck with is Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour (which is what she used as well). I have recently discovered Domata Flour and it is similar to Gluten Free Pantry. When I made this with Domata I had to use more but like I said I was dealing with humidity.

    1. Gluten Free for Jen

      Gluten Free Pantry All purpose Flour has been my go to flour mix. I have yet to have it change the taste or texture of a regular recipe. I tried Domata because of a review and like that I can buy it in a bigger bag. But other then that I did not notice much of a difference.

  6. Connie H.

    These looks amazing, and sound so good! I love a good yeasty roll! I’ve been gluten free (GF) since June, 2015. I attempted my first bread baking last week. I made French Bread. I had a hard time with the dough, because I did not have a bread mixer; only a hand mixer, then ended up using my faithful old wooden spoon to mix it by hand! I suppose the bread turned out okay for my “first” time; however, it didn’t look anything like the picture, but it tasted good!
    I would definitely like to give your recipe a try! Thank you.


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