These Gluten Free Petit Pain are deliciously soft of crumb with a crusty coat… Just like the French Gluten Free Rolls from the boulangeries of France. Egg free and optional dairy free/vegan too.
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Gluten Free Petit Pain – Authentically French, but safe for Coeliacs
These Gluten Free Petit Pain are a dream come true. If you’ve ever been to France as a Coeliac, you’ll know what I mean… The pain of walking past local Boulangeries, drooling at the baskets of gorgeous crusty rolls and loaves that are so far out of our reach. Let’s be honest… Apart from a very occasional specialist gluten free venue, the French don’t really do allergens and intolerances very willingly.
But with the recent development of my incredible Gluten Free French Baguette Recipe, it got me thinking… Why should we miss out? So I’ve taken the initiative and created the most delicious Gluten Free Petit Pain that’s safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease)… It’s authentically French-tasting with a texture to match. And even better, because it’s an egg-free bread recipe, it can also be made dairy free and Vegan too.
Why are French-style Gluten Free Rolls different?
There are many variations on Gluten Free Rolls… But what makes these ones discernibly different, is that they are designed to be French-Style. French Petit Pan are not soft-coated floury baps. Nor are they anything like my Gluten Free Wholemeal Artisan Rolls (delicious though they are). Petit Pan are (and should be) crusty on the outside, with a moist, light internal crumb. The crumb is a little uneven, but nonetheless airy with a subtle chew. And that’s exactly what you get with this recipe.
If you are thinking you might recognise the list of ingredients though, you’ll be right! Because I’ve taken the dough not only used for my French Baguette, but also my French Gluten Free Artisan Bread Boule recipe and remodelled it a third time for these delightful Gluten Free Petit Pain… And why not? The dough is so incredible, it would be wrong to limit its use to a single French Stick.
Ingredients needed to make Gluten Free Petit Pain
Making these Gluten Free Petit Pain is pretty easy. But you will need a clear set of ingredients before you start…
Gluten Free Flour Blend
The gluten free flours blended together for these particular gluten free rolls are specific and not something you’ll find in a commercial bag. Having said that, the flours used do have some degree of flexibility, so if there is a particular flour you cannot tolerate, you may be able to substitute it for an alternative. My favourite combination is using oat and millet flours alongside tapioca and potato. But the basic blend requirements are as follows…
- A combination of two of any of the following… oat flour; sorghum flour, brown rice flour; millet flour, buckwheat flour and quinoa flour. I haven’t necessarily tried every possible pairing… But I have switched and changed the flours used so many times, I am reasonably confident they can be matched to work.
- Tapioca starch
- Potato starch
For a full run-down on why each ingredient is needed to make gluten free French bread, head over to my previous Gluten Free Baguette recipe. But here’s the essential list.
- Psyllium Husk – It’s fundamental to the recipe and cannot be subbed.
- Xanthan Gum – Improves the texture slightly, but can be left out if you are unable to tolerate it.
- Milk Powder – Either dairy or any non-dairy milk powder is fine. I recommend adding it, as it does improve the crumb, but also particularly the crust. However, if you really can’t lay your hands on any, leave it out, but use warm milk in place of the water stated in the recipe.
- Salt – Finely balanced to work with the rise of the yeast. Don’t change the quantity stated in the recipe.
- Dried Active Yeast – The type that needs activating in water with a little sugar before adding to the dough. I use Allinson’s Dried Active Yeast, but there are other brands available. Just make certain the one used is free from any added wheat, by checking the label for ingredients and cross-contamination warnings. If you are unable to find Dried Active Yeast, this article may help when considering an alternative.
- Honey or Maple Syrup – to activate the yeast. I personally think it works better than granular sugar. It certainly dissolves more easily and it doesn’t make the bread taste sweet either.
- Cider Vinegar – It can be subbed for an alternative vinegar, but other options may impact the flavour, so choose carefully.
- Olive Oil – or sunflower oil as an alternative.
- Warm Water – that MUST be hand-hot only. Too hot and the yeast will die. Too cold and it won’t activate. Hand hot = 38 C/100 F (and up to about 39.5/40 C max). If you aren’t sure, use an accurate food thermometer to check.
Can Gluten Free Petit Pain also be made dairy free and vegan?
Yes. As mentioned above, this recipe is already egg free. As such, the only ingredient listed that needs to be specifically dairy free is the milk powder (or milk). Plus make sure to use Maple Syrup for yeast activation, rather than honey for fully Vegan Gluten Free Rolls.
Tips for making the BEST Gluten Free French Rolls
As I have already written elsewhere (in detail) my tips and advice for making this particular gluten free bread dough, I am not going to repeat myself again here… However, I strongly advise that you read the advice offered (and look at the process photographs) in my Baguette Recipe post, to get the best from your Gluten Free Petit Pain too.
Most importantly however (and I can’t stress this enough)… Follow the recipe! Ie.
- Use the ingredients as listed on the recipe card
- Closely follow the instructions for the process
Anything less is likely to lead to disappointment and rolls that are not the ones I created here.
Key Equipment for making French Gluten Free Rolls
The equipment needed to make my Petit Pain is relatively straightforward and stuff that is already in your kitchen.
Nonetheless, for making gluten free bread in particular, I would absolutely recommend using good, reliable, Digital Scales with a macro and micro scale. I weigh almost all ingredients (dry and wet) when baking bread, as accuracy is key. Scales which offer the facility to measure tiny weights, ensure that that accuracy extends to yeast and salt as well.
Additionally, because the dough for these rolls is not like standard gluten free ‘batter’ you will also benefit greatly from having either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with dough hook attachments, for initial mixing and kneading.
Shaping Gluten Free Petit Pain
It may seem like a strange thing to have gluten free bread dough that can be shaped, but here it is! And when you have shapable dough, how you shape it for your French Petit Pain is almost as exciting as the anticipation of eating it.
I made fairly classic rolls, hand-shaped into ovals before teasing the ends into gentle points. But it honestly doesn’t matter how neat or rustic they are… Or whether they are round, oval, mini baguettes or anything else… The important thing is how they taste!
Whatever shape you choose, the dough is easiest moulded using oiled hands. Or (in my case) I usually wear oiled food-safe gloves (which I wash and use many times over). But either is fine.
To score or not to score?
While there is no requirement to score dough for Gluten Free Petit Pain, I personally love the contrast in colour that an expanded cut gives against the rest of a floured crust. As such, I chose to make a single diagonal along each roll.
Based on experience, I would score the line reasonably deeply (it gives a more dramatic contrast) and part-way through the second prove to allow time for the cut to ‘open’, but again it’s up to you. The easiest way to score is using a Lame Cutter.
Get ahead with making Petit Pain… The overnight fridge proof
If you want to get ahead in making these gluten free rolls, then the dough can be placed in the fridge overnight for the first proof (rise). Simply Mix the dough to the point of first proof… Pull it into a ball in the bowl… Cover the top and place in the fridge. Overnight the dough will slow-rise in the cool air.
In the morning, take the bowl from the fridge… Knock back and shape into rolls and rise ready for the oven.
IMPORTANT: bear in mind that because they are extra cold, the dough rolls will need additional time to naturally warm in the air and to rise as required before baking.
Eating and storing Gluten Free Petit Pain
Much as it will be hard to be patient (the smell of freshly baked bread is far too tempting), it is best to allow your gluten free rolls to cool down fully before eating. This will allow any residual moisture to evaporate and remove any gumminess. If the rolls are still ‘tacky’ after cooling, it is likely that they needed an extra couple of minutes in the oven. The internal temperature of the crumb should be about 100 C.
The rolls should be stored at room temperature (not in the fridge) in an airtight bag or container. While (like any bread) they are best on the day they are baked, they should also stay reasonably soft for 2 to 3 days.
Eating Gluten Free Petit Pain will (hopefully) be a joy. They make the most delicious filled lunch rolls, but are perfect for so much more. Try them…
- In the bread basket at dinner parties or with guests
- Dipped in Greek Baked Feta with Tomato or alongside Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes
- Served with breakfast or brunch Shakshuka
- Alongside Watermelon, Cucumber Feta Salad, Goose Egg Salad (or any other salad)
- With delicious Homemade Houmous, Authentic Guacamole or Baba Ganoush
- As the perfect accompaniment to Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Popped in a Gluten Free Picnic
- On the party buffet table… They can even be given their own Allergen Label
- With a delicious Roasted Pepper Tortilla or Frittata
- Filled with the Best Veggie Burger ever!
Ready to make French Gluten Free Petit Pain?
I hope you love these Gluten Free Petit Pain and that they transport you back to lazy holidays in France and lunch grabbed from the Boulangeries. If you make them, let me know! I love to hear (and see) your bakes and how they’ve turned out. If you have any other questions, just shout. Leave a comment at the bottom of the post, e-mail me, or grab me via social media. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Even better, tag me in with your gorgeous gluten free roll photos… And rate the recipe too ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
For lots more gluten free bread ideas, it’s definitely worth perusing our Gluten Free Bread Index. And for everything else, our main Gluten Free Recipe Index is the navigational hub for the blog. Even better… It’s all shared for free, with my love.
Other fabulous Gluten Free Rolls at Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Petit Pain (French Style Gluten Free Rolls)
- large baking tray
- small oven-proof dish
- 5 g dried active yeast NOT instant yeast
- 12 g honey or maple syrup
- 80 g hand-warm water at 38 to 39.5 C
- 100 g tapioca starch
- 70 g millet flour or buckwheat flour or fine brown rice flour
- 75 g oat flour or sorghum Flour
- 20 g potato starch
- 15 g ground psyllium husk not fine powder
- 12 g dairy milk powder or non-dairy milk powder tested with coconut milk powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum if can’t tolerate, then leave out
- 5 g fine sea salt
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 24 g olive oil
- 180 g hand warm water at 38 to 39.5 C
- In a mixing bowl, weigh the yeast, honey (or maple syrup) and 80g hand-warm water.
- Gently whisk together, to dissolve the yeast and blend.
- Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes to activate and become frothy.
Mix the flour blend
- While the yeast is activating, weigh all the dry ingredients (flours, psyllium, milk powder, xanthan gum and salt) into an airtight container (or separate bowl) and mix well until fully blended.
Making and proofing the dough
- Once the yeast is activated, measure and add the cider vinegar, olive oil and remaining 180g of hand-warm water and whisk together.
- Add the dry flour mix and using an electric whisk with a dough hook, gently beat all the ingredients together until blended. Halfway through mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are amalgamated. The dough will be wet and very sticky in appearance.
- Set the bowl aside to hydrate for about 10 to 15 minutes and then beat again with the dough hook for a further 5 minutes. The dough should now feel tough and very thick.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and set the dough (in the bowl) aside to proof in a warm place for about 40 to 45 minutes until almost doubled in size.
Knocking back the dough
- Once the first proof is complete, lightly oil a work surface and hands and tip the dough out.
- ‘Knock back’ by gently kneading between lightly oiled hands, until the dough has become a thick and ‘slightly shiny’ consistency.
Shaping, rising and baking the Petit Pain
- Split the dough into 7 equal-sized pieces and roll each into a ball.
- Take each dough ball and shape, using lightly oiled hands (or on the oiled work surface) into a petit pan dough shapes – slightly elongated and tapering at each end.
- Sprinkle some fine brown rice flour (or buckwheat/sorghum flour) onto the work surface and gently dust the dough-rolls (this is optional).
- Place the dough petit pain onto an unlined baking tray.
- Set aside to rise in a warm place (for about 20 minutes) until increased in size by about half to two-thirds.
- Meanwhile, prepare the oven by placing a heat-proof dish at the bottom (for steam) and pre-heating to 220 C (425 F/Gas 7). Boil some water in the kettle.
- After about 20 minutes, slash a diagonal line, lengthways across the surface of each uncooked roll and leave to proof for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
- At the same time, place 60 to 70 ml boiling water into the heat-proof dish at the base of the oven, so that it has a chance to become super-steamy before the bread goes in to bake.
- Place the bread rolls into the oven (leaving the door open for as shorter time as possible) and bake for 20 minutes (at 220 C/425 F/Gas 7), with steam. Set a timer.
- After 20 minutes, remove the steam bowl from the base of the oven (if there is any remaining water) and turn the oven down to 190 C (375 F/Gas 5).
- Continue to bake for a further 20 minutes (approx), until the rolls are crusty on the outside and light and hollow-sounding when tapped. The internal temperature of the crumb should be about 100 C. If concerned that the rolls are over-browning, cover with foil for the final minutes of baking.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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