Gluten free Roti are deliciously soft, doughy, easy flatbreads which can be made large or small. Eat fresh with curry, hummus and dips. Or toast after cooking for a crisper home-made pita. Also Vegan and gum-free.
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Gluten Free Roti – An Accidental Recipe
This gluten free Roti recipe is one of the most exciting I have created. Why? Because I’ve been wanting to crack the genuinely soft, doughy gluten free flatbread for a very long time. This recipe is the revelation that proves it can be done.
Of course, those who know me may be less surprised. Being very stubborn AND very determined, I never settle for ‘anything less’. And will try every which way to get there. However this particular gluten free Roti recipe was a bit of a surprise… a sort of ‘lucky strike’.
I wasn’t actually trying to make a soft Roti when I stumbled across the magic formula, but trying to improve and update an old recipe for Gluten Free Indian Flatbread. Needless to say, I was so excited by the incredible texture and simplicity of these Roti, that I ditched the update to focus on bringing you a new recipe. The old flatbreads are a very different thing and will just have to wait…
What is Roti?
To be honest… Having created these flatbreads, I then had a serious debate with myself about what to call them. They weren’t really Naan because they didn’t contain the yeast or milk of many recipes (although they do have a soft, doughy texture and could be shaped to be a type of Naan). Neither were they Chapati, which appears to be predominantly unleavened (my simple Roti recipe does contain baking powder). So after much consideration, I went for straight forward ‘Gluten Free Roti’.
By definition, a Roti is ‘especially a flat round bread cooked on a griddle’ (Oxford Dictionaries), which seemed to fit the generic bill. Roti are simple to make and can be both thin and dryer or fat and doughy… The key to the definition appears to be in the shape and cooking process (although reading through other ‘muggle’ recipes, the cooking process does seem to vary).
This particular gluten free Roti is a soft flatbread, which has a gorgeous pillowy texture. Its mild flavour sits perfectly alongside any curry and is ideal for mopping up the plate. But equally, it is delicious with Home-Made Houmous, Baba Ganoush, Shakshuka, Guacamole, or any other dip.
Tips for Making Soft Gluten Free Roti
Making soft gluten free Roti was a bit of a challenge in the past. Like most gluten free bread, the absence of gluten was a serious hinderance to texture!
Reading around, many people suggest the secret to softness is adding yoghurt or milk, but to be honest these are really not necessary. And if anything, they created a dryer flatbread than I wanted. So what IS the secret?
The Balance of Ingredients
Although I stumbled across my soft, gluten free Roti recipe, that doesn’t mean the creation stopped there. Like most of my recipes, it went through several further tests… adding and subtracting ingredients, tweaking ratios and testing different flour blends before being ‘signed off’.
The final recipe is thus carefully balanced and any changes you make may significantly affect the result.
My gluten free Roti dough has an incredible texture. It genuinely feels like working with wheat flour… Not only is it soft and pliable, but when rolled, it even ‘springs back’ as if it has mysteriously created its own gluten. Kneading this dough is so therapeutic, that it would be tempting to ‘play’ with it for hours… Don’t!
Although the dough needs kneading, it does not like to be over-worked. If it feels soft and doughy and looks well blended with no obvious cracks… Is not too wet and definitely not too dry… Then it is ready to roll. Work the dough with a spatula in the bowl for a couple of minutes to bring together and blend and then briefly work with your hands for up to about a minute. Importantly, do not flour your hands to knead. I actually knead using vinyl food gloves to avoid any potential sticking (and wash them thoroughly so they can be re-used).
Warm Water & Oil
ALWAYS use deliciously warm water when you mix and knead and also the correct amount of oil. The warmth seems to help the development of the dough…. And too much or too little oil will affect the texture and cooking of the flatbread. I don’t say this lightly… I tried adding less and more oil and the Roti were totally different. Measure with care and use a good set of measuring spoons for the oil and a good set of Kitchen scales for the water (I never use a measuring jug! Water is 1g for every ml).
Rolling the Roti Dough with Care
Once you have pulled off your dough-ball to roll, you could simply flatten the dough with your hands… But I always roll with a rolling pin and this needs a little care to avoid the dough becoming dry. You will definitely need a little flour, but the flour you use at this stage matters. As does the amount.
To roll : Take a dough ball and flatten slightly in your hands. Sparsely sprinkle the work surface (I also place a piece of baking paper down to roll on) with TAPIOCA flour, and also give a very light dusting to the top of the dough. I have been specific on this, because anything containing corn or rice has had negative results. Minimal tapioca flour helps avoid too much drying and maintains the softness.
You can hand-shape your gluten free Roti or use a larger round cookie cutter or fine-edged bowl to cut perfect circles. The thickness of your dough will depend on how fat you ultimately want your flatbread…. But don’t roll so thin that it ends up dry and crispy. And don’t roll so thick that the Roti won’t cook through. Experiment to find your ‘perfect’.
The Cooking Process
Interestingly, the dough for this particular gluten free flat bread needs minimal rest… The kneading process is enough.
When it comes to cooking however, you need a good hot pan… but not so hot that it burns the outside of the roti before the inside is cooked. You will learn from experience within a couple of flatbreads where you need to pitch the heat… My advice is to start with a medium-high setting and give the pan enough time to heat thoroughly. Adjust as you go if necessary.
And make sure you dust off any excess flour before cooking. If you notice a build up of burnt flour on the pan as you cook through your flatbreads, take a thick, dry, clean heat-proof tea-towel and wipe the surface of the pan before continuing… Be careful not to get burnt!
Make sure your pan is large enough and flat. I have used either a large non-stick skillet or flat griddle/pancake pan for cooking my gluten free Roti.
Double-Flip for the Perfect Gluten Free Roti
When cooking your gluten free roti, you need to ‘double flip’… It’s a weird one, I know.
Place the flattened dough in the pan and leave (don’t touch) until it starts to get slight bumps on the top. Now make the first ‘flip’ and turn over with a flat spatula. Press down very lightly with the back of the spatula for a few seconds to help the inside cook.
Once the underside has started to colour and looks baked, make the second ‘flip’. This is where the magic should start to happen. As it continues to cook, the roti should start to puff! You almost can’t resist giving it a little push down… but try not to ‘squash’ it too much… If you leave it puffed and allow to deflate naturally when off the heat, it will make great pita too. The bread is done when it’s got a nice colour but is still soft and doughy!
Is This Gluten free Roti Vegan?
Yes! There is no dairy and no egg and nothing in the ingredients list that would be unsuitable for a Vegan diet.
Can I Make Any Flour or other Ingredient Substitutions?
Whilst I would urge caution on this one as it may significantly affect the texture and end result, I am well aware that not everyone around the world has access to the same flours and ingredients. I have specifically used ground psyllium husk to mimic gluten in making my soft Roti as it gives the required pliability and doughiness. I have not tried making it with any other binders and would not recommend doing so unless you really cannot lay your hands on psyllium.
The flours have been finely balanced in ratio. The potato and tapioca have been quite critical in the mix. However, I have tried substituting the Gram flour with both Sorghum and Buckwheat with fairly successful results (NOTE : if using an alternative flour such as sorghum or buckwheat, you may need to use a little more water). If you have to substitute further, choose your flours very carefully. It may help to read about gluten free flours and flour blending before you do so.
Note that Baking Powder rather than Bicarbonate of Soda has been used. The baking powder seems to help the rise whilst keeping the texture and flavour balanced and soft. I would not recommend substituting unless you have to.
The oil used is sunflower oil… However, any good-quality light and mildly flavoured liquid oil (olive, canola, rapeseed) should work. I would avoid coconut oil because of its different smoke point.
Can I Store Gluten Free Roti?
These gluten free Roti (like any flatbread, whether gluten free or not) are at their finest when fresh off the pan. Traditionally, Roti are cooked and eaten as you go…
However, I have tried leaving a few cooked breads lying around to see what happens with them… If you wrap them after they have cooled but not hardened, they can be re-warmed in the microwave (within a few hours), although will not be quite as perfect as when first cooked. BUT… if you toast them from cold, they make yummy, slightly crisp Pita breads!
Update On FREEZING : The Roti Flatbreads have now been tested! They can be rolled and frozen raw (with a piece of baking paper between each raw flatbread to separate and prevent sticking). Simply take out of the freezer and cook as usual either part-defrosted or frozen. They will take slightly longer to cook on each side, but taste and puff the same.
Ready to Make Gluten Free Roti?
So that’s it! My amazing, but quite accidental Gluten Free Roti Recipe. Let me know if you make it and should you have any problems or questions, feel free to make Contact. Please share your flatbread exploits too and don’t forget to tag me on Social Media (Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; Pinterest)… Enjoy xx
Gluten Free Roti (soft flatbread)
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- large mixing bowl
- Large mixing spoon or spatula
- silicone food gloves (optional)
- baking paper
- Rolling Pin
- large round cookie cutter min 7-8 cm in diameter/ larger fine-edged plate (optional)
- griddle/pancake pan or flat-bottomed skillet
- flat silicone spatula
- clean tea towel
- 80 g potato starch flour
- 60 g fine gram flour chickpea/Besan
- 30 g tapioca starch
- 10 g ground psyllium husk
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1½ tbsp sunflower oil/olive oil 24g
- 120 g warm water See NOTES
- extra tapioca starch for dusting.
- Weigh the flours, psyllium husk, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until evenly blended.
- Add the oil and warm water and mix with a spoon/spatula until fully absorbed and even.
- Using the back of the spoon or spatula, work the mixture against the side of the bowl until it forms an even, thick dough.
- Next, work the dough in your hands (do not add any extra flour. It may help to wear silicone food gloves to prevent any sticking), kneading from one to the other until smooth. This will take no more than a minute.
- Very lightly flour the work surface with TAPIOCA starch (it may help to place a large piece of baking paper down first to work on).
- Break off a piece of dough for the first Roti and work into a smooth ball. Flatten in your hand, before placing on the work surface ready to roll.
- Lightly dust the top of the flattened dough ball with a tiny amount of tapioca starch and roll out to a thickness of approximately 1½ to 2 mm.
- Either shape the dough as you roll, or use a large round cookie cutter/fine-edged plate to cut the dough into a circle shape. Place the shaped flatbread dough onto a clean piece of baking paper while you roll the rest of the dough.
- Repeat the rolling process with the next ball of dough, adding the off-cuts from the last piece and kneading-in before rolling.
- Once you have rolled and shaped all the dough, heat the skillet/griddle pan until hot. Do NOT use oil. You want the pan to be thoroughly hot before starting the cooking process. If you have a small piece of dough left at the end of rolling, you can flatten and use as a test piece. The pan needs to be hot enough to cook the dough quickly (so that it doesn't dry out), but not so hot that it chars before being cooked. You'll find your perfect point by experience on the first couple of roti.
- Place a shaped roti dough onto the hot pan and leave to cook until you just start to see bumps appearing on the surface. Now flip the flatbread using a silicone spatula.
- Press down very lightly for a few seconds to help the inside cook quickly, and then allow the bread to cook until colouring nicely on the underside. It is normal to have 'charred' spots.
- Now flip the roti back over to finish cooking. This is when the magic should happen… After a few seconds, the roti should start to puff up. Watch and enjoy! It is very tempting to push the 'bubble' down and it is fine to press lightly to move the underside for more even cooking, but resist 'squashing' the bread too much. Let the bubble deflate naturally after removing from the heat.
- When you are happy that the underside is cooked, remove from the pan with the spatula and place in a clean tea towel to keep warm whilst you repeat the process to cook all the roti.
- Enjoy with curry, hummus, baba ganoush, guacamole, etc. Also delicious toasted and slit open to be filled (pita style), or toasted and cut into slices to dip with.
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Gluten Free Roti (Soft Flatbread) shared with :
- Full Plate Thursday #484 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- Creative Muster #384 with Fluster Buster
- Cook Blog Share with Lost In Food
- Over The Moon #225 with Marilyn’s Treats & Eclectic Red Barn
- Blogger’s Pit Stop #221
- Fiesta Friday with Angie and Life Diet Health
- What’s For Dinner #252 with The Lazy Gastronome