Cinnamon Rolls and Rich Dough

The original recipe came from Swedish Saffron Pretzel Buns - King Arthur Flour/Bakers Catalogue September 2006. The recipe has been modified extensively to be gluten free and then further modifications were needed to improve texture and reliability. The first attempt resulted in a product that was barely eatable. Modifications were inspired by a local San Jose CA baker and graduate of the California Culinary Academy. There have been eight modification to get the recipe right, and I'm still working on perfections.

These breads are not difficult to make. However, you will need to obtain the specialized ingredient - Expandex - and the results are well worth the effort because the taste and texture are extremely close to very good quality wheat-based bread. The texture of the bread makes it adaptable for a sweet dough for jam or cheese filled breakfast rolls.

A dairy-free version of the basic dough (without added sugar which is advisable for sweet dough) can be found by clicking here.

The technique and pictures below are suggestive of methods that you night like to follow. Use your imagination to make rolls. Alternaively, you can make a simple and rich dinner roll by followng the method on this page (click here).

Cinnamon sugar, a thin coating of margarine, and raisins were placed into a U-shaped cavity in the long dough "snake." Then the cavity was closed by pinching the dough over the filling. Lastly, the dough was rolled into a spiral, cavity side towards the center of the roll. All rolls were coated with egg wash. The roll on the bottom left was sprinkled with poppy seeds and the roll on the right with cinnamon sugar.

Dry Ingredients

Amount Measure Ingredient
Gluten free flour. See preferred flour mixes below. The best combination so far is to use 2 cups of each flour mixture. If you follow this exactly, deduct 2 tablespoons of the Alternative Bread Flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons Expandex. This will result in 1 tablespoon of Expandex for each cup of flour. From trial and error, this seems to be the best amount of Expandex to use.
Potato flour (not starch) Note: Alternatively, you can use instant mashed potato buds or flakes. Grind potato flakes a Cuisinart mini mill or mortar and pestle . The result will be more grainy, and this will affect the texture of the bread a bit. If you grind your own potato flour, you will need enough potato flakes to make 1/4 cup of potato flour.
1/ 2
1 to 1-1/2
Kosher salt
Instant yeast
Non-fat powdered dry milk
Xanthan gum or 50%-50% mix of Xanthan and Guar gums
teaspoon Aluminum-free baking powder

Liquid Ingredients

Amount Measure Ingredient


Warm water or orange juice at 110° F. The exact amount of liquid ingredients is critical for keeping the bread from falling. Very wet bread dough falls. See note under Brandy, below.
Cup Butter or margarine. Melt in the microwave oven for 30 seconds
  Egg whites. Reserve 1 egg yolk for glaze and mix the reserved yolk with 1 - 2 Tablespoons water
  Egg yolks
teaspoon Cider or rice vinegar
Tablespoon or more Brandy..
Level Tablespoons Honey - This is hard to measure exact amounts. The weight is 1 ounce. You can use 5 heaping 1/2 teaspoon measures, or you can scrape the Tablespoon/teaspoon measuring spoons level with a small rubber spatula.

Other Supplies

Brown rice flour for dusting pans

Butter or margarine for coating pans prior to dusting

Olive oil or flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands and the counter top where you roll out the dough snakes (Don't use both!)
Parchment paper for baking rolls

Mixing instructions for all breads


Prepare one of the following combinations by coating bottoms and sides with butter or margarine and then dusting with rice flour:

  • Two 4" mini spring form pans and one 6" spring form pan
  • Four mini bunt pans.
  • One cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for rolls if not using a pan. Note that the rolls are not cooked on a buttered and floured pan surface.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl that is separate from the mixer work bowl.
Put all wet ingredients except butter/margarine and egg yolks into the work bowl of a mixer. Use the "paddle" not the "cage" mixer.
Add the dry ingredient mix 1 cup at a time while mixing on low.
Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes in the bowl. This is to allow the yeast to begin to ferment with the starches in the flour. You don't want to coat the flour with butter and egg yolk because it will impede the yeast and produce a flat, unappealing result.
Add the melted butter and egg yolks. Mix on medium-medium high until blended - 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides half way through.

Forming instructions

If you are making cinnamon roll snakes or mini-challah snakes, oil the countertop. For cinnamon rolls, roll-out snakes, about 3/4" in diameter. Using your fingers and very little oil, press a channel into the snakes so that the dough forms a "U." Fill the U with a combination of cinnamon, sugar, margarine or butter, and currants or chopped raising. Pinch the U closed and roll up into a spiral.
Mix egg yolk-water mixture with a whisk until frothy. Use a pastry brush, and coat breads with egg prior to rising. Cover with plastic wrap.
Allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk in your convection oven on the proofing setting or in a warm location - about an hour.
When the bread has risen, glaze again with the egg yolk-water mixture. You can sprinkle the tops of cinnamon rolls with cinnamon sugar

Place bread in 375° F degree oven for the time indicated below or until a cake tester comes out clean or until a digital quick reading thermometer inserted into the loaf reads approximately 190° - 200° F. You will very likely need to cover the bread with aluminum foil half way through the baking process to prevent it from over-browning.

  • Bake 4 inch challah loaves for 20 minutes.
  • Bake 6 inch challah or challah loaves for 20 - 35 minutes.

You can also warm fully baked breads and rolls that have been tightly wrapped in aluminum foil for 10 -15 minutes in a 350° F oven .
Alternatively, bake each five minutes less to make brown and serve bread. When you are ready to serve them, bake for 5 -10 minutes at 375° F.

You can also warm fully baked bread in the oven, fully wrapped with aluminum foil. Warm at 350° F

Remove bread from the pan(s) and cool on rack.

GF Flour Mix for 9 Cups1

Amount Measure Ingredient
Cups (9 oz)
Mild navy bean flour. Alternatively you may be able to use garbanzo bean flour, Garfava or Bob's Garbanzo/Fava bean flour, but the result will yield a stronger tasting bread, and you will have to experiment with the liquid amounts.
Cups (9.25 oz) Corn starch (Potato starch will give a different result. It is about 20% heavier. Maintain weight, but decrease volume if substituting.)
Cups (6.25 oz) Conventional tapioca starch (Bob's Red Mill or obtain from Asian store)
Cup (2 oz) Expandex* or tapioca starch if you don't have Expandex . Expandex will give you a properly stretchy bread while normal tapioca will give you a more crumbly result. If you don't have Expandex, then increase Xanthan-Guar gum to 4 teaspoons total. The result will not be the same.
Cups (12 oz)
Sorghum flour

1Carol Fenster's basic GF flour mix, modified for higher protein and Expandex substituted for a portion of the tapioca flour. See Public Domain Carol Fenster recipe for white bread.
* Obtain from a supplier that is listed on the Expandex website.
At the time of this update, Expandex could be obtained from Reinlander Bakery.

Alternative bread flour for those who are intolerant to beans

Note: We use the non-Expandex version of this flour for general baking (General baking: use 1 Cup tapioca flour, leave out Expandex). But this recipe has not been tested using the alternative flour exclusively. I suspect that the amount of water or other liquids will need to be adjusted.

Amount Measure Ingredient
1-1/2 Cups Sorghum flour
1-1/2 Cups Corn starch
1/2 Cups Corn flour (This is Masa Harina. Bob's Red Mill has two types of corn flour, just finely ground corn and masa which is ground corn that has been treated with lime. You want masa. Also you can get masa at a Latino grocery. For the story behind corn flour, see: )
4-1/2 Tablespoons Expandex in a 1 Cup measure
Remainder Cup Conventional tapioca flour: Put 4-1/2 tablespoons of Expandex in a 1 cup measure, and then fill the rest up with conventional tapioca flour.