Paleo dinner rolls may very well save my relationship with my oldest son. Wait…let me explain. My son Ben is generally a very sweet, smart, funny and easy-going young man. But give him gluten and he turns into a different person. Ben normally takes his paleo lunch to school but yesterday was “Take Your Child To Work Day” and he ended up eating the pizza lunch given to the kids at the event. Last night he had another one of his meltdowns and it proved once again the direct and very dramatic correlation between his mood and his diet.
We follow our paleo way of eating fairly strictly. In spite of the paleo dessert recipes on this site we really do not indulge in them frequently. Our desire for sugary snacks is not that powerful at this point. But when you have a middle school boy who is gluten intolerant (and quite possibly celiac) there has to be a balance between following what may be considered strictly paleo and helping him feel like a normal kid. During his meltdown Ben expressed he is often embarrassed that he eats differently from his peers. He NEEDS to have treats now and then and yes, he wants to eat bread. I want to train him to eat whole foods and take care of his body. But I refuse to allow food to become something that divides us and makes life more difficult. Middle school is hard enough!
In order to keep Ben on board with the program – to keep him from rebelling completely – I tried to come up with a recipe for a type of paleo bread he might enjoy. I have another recipe for banana cardamom bread but it uses almond flour and Ben is allergic to nuts. So this paleo bread recipe had to be nut free as well as grain and gluten free. The solution is a recipe that uses tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch) as well as coconut flour and a few other, simple ingredients.
Paleo Dinner Rolls
Recipe adapted from A Girl Worth Saving.
- 1 cup tapioca flour (starch)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large egg, whisked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the tapioca flour (you can substitute arrowroot flour/starch) with the salt and 1/4 cup of the coconut flour in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- Pour in oil and warm water and stir. Add the whisked egg and continue mixing until well combined.
- If the mixture is too thin you should add one or two more tablespoons of coconut flour – one tablespoon at a time – until the mixture is a soft but somewhat sticky dough.
- Use a spatula or large spoon to scoop out about two tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls. You will be making about 10 rolls. Use extra tapioca flour in the palms of your hands so the dough does not stick.
- Place each roll of dough onto a greased baking pan, parchment paper or one covered with a Silpat (what I used)
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Serve warm.
Makes about 10 paleo dinner rolls.
The dinner rolls ended up being crusty on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside. I thought they might not be good once they cooled off, but when we tried the leftovers, a couple of hours later, they were basically the same. All in all, we were pretty pleased with these!
The process is fairly quick and easy. But keep in mind these recipes are often more of an art than a science. Coconut flour can be tricky to work with which is why I point out the need to add more of it slowly toward the end in order to get the right consistency. Allow enough time for the coconut flour to absorb the liquid before adding more. Don’t add too much because your rolls will end up like rocks.
The second time I made these paleo dinner rolls I realized too late I only had 1/4 cup of coconut flour. So I ended up adding about 1/4 cup more tapioca flour. In this case, the dough was very wet and sticky so I used a large spoon to scoop it out onto the silpat. The rolls were much flatter, similar to ciabatta. I made some italian meat sauce and served it with this version of the paleo dinner rolls and it was a big hit just like the others.
Personally, I preferred the round version of the rolls because they were nicely crispy on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside. But either version was a nice change of pace for us. Ben was back to his usual, charming self today after being back to his gluten-free, paleo way of eating. But I was happy to be able to offer him a paleo dinner roll to sample after school and thrilled when he said he LOVED it!
Yay! Mission accomplished.
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