Oh my god today I have a recipe for you guys that’s been on my to-make list for YEARS and I finally got around to it… I made some gluten free cinnamon rolls that are actually good.
UPDATE (08.11.20): I now have two improved recipes that are much better in my opinion!
1. PROPER GLUTEN FREE CINNAMON BUNS – these are classic yeast risen cinnamon buns that are so soft and taste almost like the real thing. Made with Freee Foods (Doves Farm) gluten free bread flour and tapioca starch.
2. EASY GLUTEN FREE CINNAMON BUNS – these are yeast free, super quick and made with just a few very simple ingredients.
It took quite a few attempts, but at last I managed to get a good soft bready consistency with this latest batch. Absolutely perfect served warm (just 30 seconds in the microwave) with a cup of tea.
And the secret ingredients is… surprise surprise… glutinous rice flour! Let’s be real, if you’ve been following me long enough then you probably guessed it. If you still don’t have a bag of this miracle gluten free flour in your cupboard, you need to get your hands on it.
Not to be confused with normal rice flour, glutinous rice (also known as sweet or sticky rice) has a much higher starch content (specifically amylopectin) which gives it a uniquely sticky and elastic texture that no other gluten free flour comes close to. It’s a great way to help mimic the effects of gluten in gluten free baking when substituting part of the flour for it. And despite the confusing gluten sounding name, yes it’s absolutely gluten free!
Where can you buy it?
You can sometimes find it in the world section of supermarkets, but otherwise your best best is Chinese/Asian shops who nearly always stock it. If you can’t find any near you, I recommend buying it online. You won’t regret it!
For some other great gluten free recipes using glutinous rice flour, you can also check out my Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts Recipe ?, Rice and Mozzarella Gluten Free Pizza Crust ?or my gluten free dumpling wrappers tutorial.
1. I recommend to bake them individually in a muffin tray. In my opinion it’s the best way to keep them nice and round. If you bake them all together in a normal tray, they can end up a) spreading too much depending on how much space is left between them or b) the cinnamon rolls in the centre can end up a bit soggy if the rolls were sliced too thick or placed too close together.
2. If your cinnamon rolls reach a golden brown colour before reaching 25 minutes of bake, cover your tray with foil for the remaining time.
3. Serve warm / re-heat leftovers in the microwave for 30 seconds for a much softer yummier texture.
4. HOW TO STORE THEM: as soon as they cool down, immediately place your freshly baked gluten free cinnamon rolls in an airtight container (will keep for a couple of days) or in the freezer (you can defrost them in the microwave one by one as needed). As it goes with all homemade bready stuff like that, they can go stale pretty quickly.
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls Recipe:
- 240g (1 cup) whole milk
- 2 tsp (8g) dry active yeast (I used Allinson)
- 4 Tbsp (60g) butter
- 110g (1/2 cup) granulated or caster sugar
- 1 large egg (50g)
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 135g glutinous rice flour (cannot be substituted for normal rice flour - ↑ see explanation above ↑)
- 315g all purpose gluten free self-raising flour (I used Doves Farm)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 55g butter
- 75g dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- Dash of ground cloves
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- Plain cream cheese
- Icing sugar (as much or as little as you'd like)
- Vanilla extract
BAKING TEMPERATURE: 180C (356F)
BAKING TIME: about 25 mins
* This is quite a large batch, feel free to halve it if you're not freezing leftovers or feeding a horde of people. ?
STEP 1: Activate the yeast
- Warm up the milk in the microwave in 10 second increments. When you dip your finger in, it should feel warm but not boiling hot.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, in 5-10 seconds increments, and add to the milk.
- Then add the sugar and mix well to dissolve it as much as possible. If for some reason the temperature of the milk/butter mixture has dropped, heat it up again in the microwave. This is important otherwise the yeast won’t bubble up.
- Stir the yeast in and let it rest in a warm place for 10-15 minutes, until it becomes frothy.
STEP 2: Prepare the dough and let it rise for an hour
- Add an egg, the vanilla extract and only part of the flour (100g of glutinous rice flour and 280g of self-raising flour). We’ll be adding the rest of the flour AFTER the dough has risen.
- Cover with cling film and let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour to allow the yeast to act. To do this, especially in the winter when it gets cold, I put the oven on at the lowest temperature and let the bowl rest on the opened oven door.
STEP 3: Make the cinnamon butter
- Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon butter: soften the butter in the microwave and mix with the cinnamon, brown sugar, cloves and nutmeg.
STEP 4: Knead the dough
- Add the salt, baking powder and the rest of the flours (35g of glutinous rice flour and 35g self-raising flour) to the dough and roughly stir it in.
- Sprinkle your work surface with a bit of extra flour (I recommend working on a sheet of baking paper to prevent sticking), add the dough and sprinkle a bit more flour on top. Then knead the dough until you have a smooth dough ball. Note: it should still be somewhat sticky but easy to handle with your hands.
STEP 5: Roll the dough and slice your cinnamon rolls
- Then sprinkle a tiny bit more flour on your work surface and on top of your dough (just to prevent sticking) and roll the dough into a rectangle (about 1 cm thick) with a rolling pin. Note: you can divide the dough into 2 portions and make two rolls to make things easier.
- At this point you can straighten up the sides carefully using a knife.
- Spread the cinnamon butter evenly on top with a spatula. Note: warm it up in the microwave for 5 seconds first if necessary to make it easier to spread. Warning: don’t add the butter separately with the cinnamon dry on top or you may find yourself with rolls that come undone and don’t stick together properly.
- Carefully roll the dough as tight as possible.
- At this point you can wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice, but this is totally optional.
- Slice the cinnamon rolls. Note: make sure to use a sharp knife so it doesn’t squish the dough as you try to cut and wipe your knife clean on a cloth or kitchen towel in between each slice.
- Carefully fix the shape with your hands and place each of them in a muffin or baking tray greased with butter.
- Brush a bit of milk over the cinnamon rolls with a pastry brush.
STEP 6: Bake your gluten free cinnamon rolls
- Bake in a pre-heated oven (180C / 356F) for about 25 minutes. Note: if your cinnamon rolls turn a nice golden brown before reaching the 25 minutes mark, cover the tray with foil for the remaining cooking time.
- Allow it cool down.
STEP 7: Add the frosting
- Mix the cream cheese with some icing sugar (as much or as little as you want) and a touch of vanilla extract.
- Spread the frosting on top of your cinnamon roll.
- Best served warm / re-heat leftovers in the microwave.