Millet Sorghum Rolls and Ciabatta

The ciabatta and dinner rolls were inspired by Annalise Roberts book Gluten-Free Baking Classics as well as her recipe in her website. I highly recommend buying her book - it is very affordable on Amazon or Overstock - because it is not only filled with really inspired recipes but also it contains a number of important tips since Ms. Roberts is an accomplished professional bakery chef.

The recipe for the rolls and bread was modified to increase stretchiness and to increase carbon dioxide bubbles to promote better rising and a fluffier bread. Millet breads traditionally can be quite crumbly, but this bread has a marvelous, light texture and is soft even the next day. However, millet breads can be bland, but this is not necessarily a bad feature. You can add Mediterranean herbs to the bread dough for herbed ciabatta and herbed rolls, or you can melt cheese on top or sprinkle herbs, olive oil and sea salt on the tops of plain bread. The bread is inherently dairy free.

The ciabatta and rolls in the large picture above have herbed dough and various toppings, including cheese. The unbaked rolls on the parchment paper-lined French bread pan to the left are plain dough with various toppings - cinnamon sugar; garlic powder, Mediterranean herbs, and sea salt; and grana parmesan cheese with garlic powder.

The breads are very soft in texture. It is very hard to not over-eat the rolls when they are warmed. However, they remain soft and have very good next day edibility. You can make a delicious panini from split ciabatta.

The recipe below has a number of alternate suggestions. Pick the variations that suite you and enjoy. There is nothing intellectual about this bread. It just tastes good.

This recipe may be cut in half to make 7 rolls or 1- 9" X 9" ciabatta. Full recipe makes approximately 7 rolls plus 1- 9" X 9" or 14 rolls.


Dry ingredients
Measure and Amount Measure and Amount Ingredient
1 Cup 4.6 oz Millet Flour
1/2 Cup 2.25 oz Sorghum Flour
1/2 Cup 2.6 oz Potato starch
1/2 Cup 2.6 oz Corn starch
3 Tablespoons 0.75 oz Expandex or tapioca starch if Expandex* is not available (Purchase Expandex from Rheinlander Bakery, Arvada, CO)
5 Tablespoons 1.25 oz Tapioca starch
2 Tablespoons 0.6 oz Sweet rice flour**
1 teaspoon   Baking soda
2 teaspoons   Xanthan gum
1 teaspoon   Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons   Sugar
1 Pack 2-1/2 - 3 teaspoons Instant yeast (My favorite is SAF)
1 teaspoon   (Optional) Mediterranean herbs (Grind in a mortar and pestle 2 parts dried Oregano, 1 part each Thyme, Basil, Marjoram, and 1/4 - 1/2 part of ground Rosemary).
Into a bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together with a whisk.

*Expandex is tapioca flour that has been structurally modified to create more stretch. The optimum amount for bread is approximately 1 Tablespoon per cup of complete flour mix. In this recipe, 1 Tablespoon of tapioca flour was replaced by 1 Tablespoon of Expandex up to the required amount of 3 Tablespoons, which corresponds to the three cups of flour in the recipe.

**Sweet rice flour also improves the stretch of bread. It is not a substitute for Expandex but seems to work in conjunction with it.

Wet ingredients
Measure and Amount Ingredient
1-1/2 Cup minus 0 - 2 Tablespoons Water at 110° F (It is best to add 1-1/4 cups initially and then more water if necessary for proper consistency.)
2 - 3 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil or meted vegan margarine. You can skip the oil or margarine and instead use parmesan cheese.
1 teaspoon Cider vinegar

Cover the surface of a French bread pan with parchment paper and lightly spray it with olive oil. Or coat 1 or 2 - 9" X 9" X 2" square baking pans with margarine and sprinkle with brown rice flour.

Put the wet ingredients except for the oil into the work bowl of a stand mixer and then add the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly blended - perhaps 2 minutes. Let dough rest 10 minutes and then add the olive oil or margarine. Mix an additional 2 minutes.

Spoon the dough into the baking pan(s) and smooth the top using a large spoon dipped in water. Or measure out 12 lumps of dough, a bit larger than an extra-large hen's egg. Wet your hands thoroughly, and initially form each blob into a ball and then into a very short snake. The length of the snake will be about 2 - 3 times the diameter of the snake. The rolls will be somewhat irregular. You should be able to get 12 rolls into a 3-baguette loaf pan. The dough will be sticky. You could be courageous and attempt thee French baguette loaves. If you make rolls they will be about the size of small supermarket russet potatoes.

Allow the bread dough to rise for approximately 40 - 60minutes in a draft-free, warm location. We use the proofing setting on our convection oven. Approximately 10 - 15 minutes prior to the completion of rising time, remove the bread from the convection oven and preheat to either 375° or 400° F, your choice to be explained. 375° F works well for both breads and rolls. Coat the rolls with extra virgin olive oil and spices/garlic/herbs/salt or top (unoiled) with Parmesan or Romano cheese. Bake the rolls for 30 - 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205°deg F and/or a metal cake tester comes out clean. The ciabatta loaves will take about 13 minutes longer. Alternatively, you can bake the rolls at 400° F for 15 - 20 minutes and they will be crustier. I did not prefer the ciabatta loaves baked at 400° F because the result was a brown top with a somewhat sticky inside.

Cool the bread/rolls on a rack. These freeze well when tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag.