Missing those puffy warm breakfast rolls from days before you were gluten-free? You don’t have to go without any longer! Those pull apart layers flavored with sweet blueberries and a hint of lemon and vanilla will make this gluten-free blueberry rolls recipe a family favorite!
I have been on a nonstop mission for the past three weeks to bring back a family favorite! Years ago before we were a gluten free household, the ease of baked goods for breakfast was taken for granted. I miss the simple things like cinnamon rolls from a tube and picking up a dozen doughnuts from our local bakery. It seems that even though a large part of our population has chosen to go gluten free the baked good industry hasn’t quite caught up yet.
Often times, prepackaged gluten free treats are dense. My Dad calls those “wap biscuits,” HA! Did you have “wap biscuits” growing up? You know, the kind that are hard as a rock? Most recipes for gluten free baked goods resemble hockey pucks more than those flaky layers of their gluten filled counterparts.
Recipes share that they are “the best” and then go on to say “They’re good enough for gluten free.” Well, I don’t accept that. I don’t want “good enough,” I want GOOD! The soft, airy, pull apart goodness from my yester years.
So, I set out to create just that! It took me three weeks, but it was worth every pan of “wap biscuits” I dumped into the trash.
WANT TO KNOW THE SECRET?
There were three things that played a huge role in making these rolls: amounts, time, and a warm kitchen.
Time. Regular sweet roll recipes still require a good bit of time to let your dough rise, but gluten-free dough requires more. You’ll have to rely on patience here, but I promise it is worth it! The proofing time is almost double. Since the yeast needs time to rise, it takes longer with gluten-free flour. Regular sweet rolls want an hour to rise, gluten-free sweet rolls need two! Regular sweet rolls can be rolled out and cut after the dough as proofed, but gluten-free sweet rolls need the dough to be chilled. Once placed in the pan, regular sweet rolls rise a bit longer while their gluten-free cousin may need up to an hour!
Amounts. More is always better right? Since gluten free flour lacks protein, you’ll need more of just about everything. More yeast because it requires more to rise and achieve that flaky goodness us gluten-free folk miss! More butter because you’ll need the extra fat.
A warm kitchen. This is essential and probably is best for both gluten-free and regular sweet rolls alike. You need a draft less warm area to let your dough proof. I personally turn on my fireplace and let my dough and rolls proof on a stool by the fire. The area isn’t in a cross section of our home and the warmth from the fire is just enough to activate the yeast. I simply turn my bowl every once in a while to make sure the warmth is spread throughout.
SHOP KITCHEN TOOLS FROM THIS POST
- 3 1/2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (Krusteaz makes a great GF flour.)
- 1 cup/ 1 tsp. Granulated Sugar, separated.
- 3/4 cup Milk
- 1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3/4 cup Butter, Melted (1 1/2 sticks)
- 2 Tbsp. & 1 1/2 tsp. Dry Active Yeast
- 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Blueberry Preserves (Bonne Maman makes great preserves.)
- 4 Tbsp. Butter, very soft room-temperature
- 4 Tbsp. Confectioner's Sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3 tsp. Fresh Lemon Zest
- Bloom your yeast. In a small bowl mix milk and cream together. Heat in microwave until warm. I heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each turn. You want body temperature warmth. Yeast will not die between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you test with your finger, it should feel like nothing because it will be similar to your own body temperature. Then, add your yeast to your warm cream mixture along with 1 tsp. of sugar. Stir to mix in yeast particles. Then, set in a warm place for the yeast to bloom for 10 minutes. You should see bubbles growing on top.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder together until well combined. Then, in a separate bowl, beat eggs and add your melted butter and 1 tsp. vanilla extract to your warm bloomed yeast mixture. Slowly add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients. Your batter will be very sticky.
- Once all your ingredients are added and mixed, vigorously fold and stir your dough for 5 minutes. I used a process similar to macaronage in which I would fold the dough repeatedly over itself while turning the bowl. You are activating your yeast and working your dough.
- Scrap your dough into a ball in your large bowl. Cover with plastic cling wrap. Set your bowl of dough in a warm place free from drafts for 2 hours.. I like to turn my fireplace on and set my bowl on a stool in front of my fire (not too close, but just at the edge of my hearth). If you have a warm kitchen just set your bowl near your ovens. You want your dough to double or triple in size.
- Once your dough has risen, chill your dough for at least 5 hours. I make my dough the night before and chill overnight. If you touch it and it's still sticky, let it chill longer. Gluten-free dough is the easiest to work with when cold.
- Take your dough out of the refrigerator. Place your dough on a very well-floured counter. Flour your hands and your rolling pin. Roll out your dough to be about 20 x 10 inches. Use your hands to shore up the edges so you have nice straight edges to your rectangle.
- Make your filling. Combine your preserves and very very soft room-temperature butter together in a separate bowl. You want your butter soft but not melted. If you melt your butter, it will make for a runny mess when rolling your dough.
- Add dollops of your preserve filling to each section of your rectangle. Then, use your spatula to spread over the entire rectangle so that each roll will have the same amount of filling.
- Roll your dough. Starting on one end (20 inch length) tightly roll your dough. I sometimes use my forearm or a bench scrapper to keep the roll even. Continue to roll all the way to the other end.
- Pinch the end of the dough to the roll to seal your roll. Use unflavored dental floss or string to slide under your roll and cross over the top, gently pulling as you go in opposite directions. This method of cutting will keep the roll from being smooshed like it would be with a knife cutting from the top down. Cut your roll into 12-16 rolls, depending on how many rolls you want. I like to cut mine into about 1.5 inches rolls, but if I'm serving other things then I'll make cut them in 1 inch widths.
- Butter your pie dish. I use a paper towel and room temperature butter to grease my pan. I like to use 2 pie dishes (one to cook that morning and one to freeze for another time). Place your rolls side up (you want to see the layers of your rolls). Do not place them right up against each other because these rolls need room to rise again! I usually leave about an inch or two between each roll. You can use one large pyrex pan as well just remember your spacing.
- Cover your pie dish with stretch cling wrap and place the dish back in your warm area. (If you were making one dish to freeze, this would be when you cover and place it in the freezer.) Allow your rolls to rise another hour in their warm home. They will double in size and push against each other.
- Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. My ovens run low so I always need a bit longer, but the goal is to not brown the tops and make sure the center roll is cooked through. I test with a knife and if it comes out clean, I know I'm good.
- Make your glaze. Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over the top of your rolls. You can add as little or as much as you want.
If Freezing, place in your freezer, covered at step #12. Then, to cook bring out and set on your kitchen counter for an hour to thaw and cook as directed starting at step #13.
If you are not a lemon fan, lemon zest can be left out of the glaze.
Blueberry Preserves ca be replaced with any berry preserve you prefer.
DETAILS OF MAKING GLUTEN FREE BLUEBERRY ROLLS
First, I started by blooming my yeast. This is achieved by adding dry active yeast to warm milk. I like using Fleishmann’s Dry Active Yeast and then place the extra in my refrigerator for the next recipe. First, I combined my milk and heavy cream together and then warmed slowly in my microwave. I like to heat for 30-second intervals at a time and stir in between to ensure there are no hot pockets. You want your cream and milk to be body temperature warm, but not too hot as it will kill the yeast when mixed. I test by sticking my finger in the mix and if it feels like no temperature then I am all set. I then add 1 tsp of sugar and my yeast, mix and set beside my ovens to bloom for ten minutes. The mixture will turn all bubbly and appear to be growing. If you listen really closely, it will sometimes crackle.
Next a combine my dry ingredients in a large bowl. Keep in mind this will be the bowl you let your dough rise in so you want enough room to mix your dough and then for it to rise. I like to use Krusteaz All Purpose Flour for baking. I beat my eggs and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add the melted butter. Then, slowly add my wet ingredients to my dry ingredients.
Once combined, I set my timer and macaronage my dough. I vigorously fold my dough into itself while turning my bowl to knead my dough without using my hands. The dough will be flaky at first and then become very sticky.
Then, cover with cling wrap and let your dough rise. You will need a draft less warm area to place your bowl. If you’re like me, my kitchen is not warm so I turn on my fireplace and set my bowl on a stool at the edge of my hearth by fire. This creates enough warmth to rise the dough. I turn my bowl every so often so all sides get an even amount of heat time. Your dough should double or triple in size. It will be fluffy like a large pillow. If you do not place you dough in a warm place it will affect the rise of the dough.
Then, once risen, I place my bowl of dough in my refrigerator. The dough will be very sticky at this point and gluten free dough is easiest to work with when it is cold. I would chill your dough for at least 5 hours, but I prefer to let mine chill overnight. If you touch your dough and it is sticky, it is not ready to be worked with yet. I like to make the dough the day before I make the gluten free blueberry rolls.
Once my dough has chilled, I flour my countertop well and dump my dough out. Remember to flour your hands and your rolling pin as well. I knead my dough into a soft ball and then use my hands to push the dough out the best I can into a rectangle shape. Then, use my rolling pin to create a 20×10 inch rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick. I like to use this rolling pin because it has measurement guides on the sides.
Once you’ve created your rectangle, make your filling. Combine 1 cup of blueberry preserves with 4 Tablespoons of butter, very soft room-temperature. I love Bonne Maman’s jarred jams and jellies. Then, add dollops of your filling to different sections of your rectangle. Using a spatula, spread evenly across the dough.
Time to roll! Starting at one long (20 inch) end, begin lifting and tightly rolling the dough + filling into a long cylinder. Be careful how hard you press or you’ll end up smooshing out all your filling. This part can be tricky and I’ve been known to use my whole hand, a bench scrapper and even my forearm to keep the roll the same width. Once you reach the end pinch the dough together to seal your roll.
Use either string or unflavored dental floss. Slide the string under the roll about 1-1 1/2 inches, cross your string ends at the top and pull in opposite directions. This will slice the roll from all sides keeping your shape intact. If you use a knife, your gluten free blueberry rolls will squish and lose their shape. Using string also helps lift the dough from your counter and prevent pieces being left behind.
Grease your pan(s). I like to bake half of my rolls, and place the other half in the freezer for a later date so I use two pie dishes, but you can easily use a 9 x13 baking dish. Place your rolls carefully in a well buttered pan side facing up about 1-2 inches apart. You want them laying on their sides so you can see all that sweet filling!
Cover with cling wrap again and let rise for one hour. Yep, the baking dish goes back over to the fire at this point and I let the rolls rise. They will be placed apart, but at the end of the proofing time they will all be smooshed together!
Uncover and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. My ovens run cool so I always need a bit extra time. If yours run hot, then you’ll be closer to the 30 minute mark. Watch carefully that the tops don’t brown too much. If you feel as though they are becoming too brown, cover with foil and bake the remainder of the time needed.
While they bake, prepare your glaze. Mix all ingredients together with a fork making sure there are no lumps left from the confectioner’s sugar. I prefer to use clear vanilla extract to keep the glaze a true white, but if color doesn’t matter then regular vanilla extract will do just fine!
Once you take your gluten free blueberry rolls from the oven, let cool just a bit. Then when your rolls are warm, drizzle your glaze over the top and enjoy!
FAQ’S ABOUT GLUTEN FREE BLUEBERRY ROLLS
- Can you freeze these to make later? YES! I suggest freezing your rolls after you place them in your greased pan. Cover tightly and place in your freezer, When you’re ready to cook, let rolls defost completely before cooking as directed.
- Can you sub a different fruit? Of course! You can use an fruit preserve that your prefer. These would be delicious with strawberry preserves and a cream cheese frosting. Be on the lookout for that recipe coming soon! Or switch out for Blackberry jam and add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough! Yum!
- Where do I store my rolls? With any gluten free baked good, I always suggest storing in the refrigerator.
- How long will these gluten free blueberry rolls last? If kept in the refrigerator, your rolls should last 48-72 hours. If you are wanting them to last longer, I suggest freezing them even after they’re baked to have the longest shelf life.
- How do I package for a friend? What a great gift! I like to use disposable tin pans with lids. Although, keep the lid off until delivery to ward off condensation. No one wants soggy rolls, HA! These tin pans are the ones I like to use. These would be super sweet wrapped in a festive holiday towel!