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Gluten Free Crescent Rolls

September 2, 2020
At a Glance

Summary

Soft and buttery, these gluten free crescent rolls are just like you remember them. And just as versatile, too. What was your favorite way to use that famous can of crescent roll dough?

Categories

Prep / Cook Time

25 minutes, plus rising / 15 minutes

Rating

 5/5 (3 votes)
Gluten Free Crescent Rolls

These soft, intensely buttery gluten free crescent rolls are just as flaky and soft as the ready-made kind from the grocery store. And the dough is just as useful!

Closeup image of crescent rolls in a pile

I assume you already know about the crescent rolls in the refrigerated section of nearly every grocery store in nearly every town in America. And if you haven’t been gluten free your whole life, you’ve probably already bought that dough and used it in a bunch of interesting and fun ways.

Well, with this gluten free crescent roll dough, you can have all of those recipes back. And, of course, you can have back the classic basket of buttery rolls that makes any dinner instantly better.

The dough will keep in the refrigerator, as long as it’s in a tightly sealed container, for a few days. Bake off the rolls on the same day you plan to serve them, preferably warm, though. Bread is always best the same day it’s baked.

hand holding a brush that is brushing crescent rolls with melted butter

Are crescent rolls the same as croissants?

In a word, no, crescent rolls are not the same as croissants. They are similar in shape to one another, but a crescent rolls is bread a croissant is pastry. 

You can, indeed, make gluten free croissants (we’ve done it!). But you’ll need to work with the dough as if it were pastry, using cold ingredients and rolling and folding the dough so that it creates light, flaky layers. Croissants are like a cross between crescent rolls and flaky layered biscuits.

Crescent rolls baked on white paper on tray

Serving suggestions for using this soft, buttery bread dough

Have you ever bought a metal can of Pillsbury crescent rolls and used it to make something other than straight-up crescent rolls? Any way you may have used that dough, you can use this gluten free crescent rolls dough.

Ham and cheese sandwiches

Try making larger triangles by slicing each round into 6 or 8 pieces rather than 12. Then add a slice of ham and a slice of cheese to the top of the triangle before rolling it from base to tip.

Space the triangles farther apart from one another on the baking sheet. The cheese will melt onto the baking tray a bit. Just let it set a few moments after baking and before serving.

Cinnamon sugar rolls

Mix 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon with 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl. After brushing the triangles with melted butter, sprinkle with a thin layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Press the cinnamon sugar mixture down a bit to help it adhere to the melted butter on the dough. Roll from base to tip, and continue with the recipe as written.

Crescent rolls in a pile on white paper in a brown basket

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy

There are ways for me to suggest you try replacing the yogurt and butter in this recipe, but the gluten free bread flour blend necessarily calls for whey protein isolate, which is nearly pure milk protein. There is no substitute for whey protein isolate that will produce the same results.

Egg

There is only one egg in this recipe, so you may be able to replace it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).

The egg yolk also adds richness, so you might want to add another tablespoon of butter to the dough and reduce the yogurt by 1 tablespoon to compensate for the added moisture.

Yeast

There is no substitute for yeast in a yeast bread recipe. I do have a recipe for yeast free dinner rolls here on the blog, if you can’t have yeast.

If you don’t have instant yeast, as called for in the recipe, you can use 25% more active dry yeast. See the recipe notes for instructions on how to make the conversion.

 
Raw crescent rolls being brushed with butter and baked crescent rolls on a tray

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 small rolls

Ingredients

For the starter
1 1/4 cups (175 g) gluten free bread flour (see Notes)

1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar

1 2/3 teaspoons (5 g) instant yeast (see Recipe Notes)

1 cup (8 ounces) warm water (about 95°F)

For the dough
3 1/2 cups (490 g) gluten free bread flour (see Notes), plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon (18 g) kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt or buttermilk, at room temperature

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Risen Starter

4 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)

Directions

  • To make the starter, in a medium-size bowl, place the bread flour, granulated sugar, and instant yeast, and whisk to combine well. Add the warm water, and mix until smooth and well-combined. The mixture will be thick and shapeless. Cover and set the bowl aside in a warm, draft-free location to rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).

  • Once the starter has finished rising, make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour and salt, and whisk to combine well with a separate handheld whisk. Add the honey, yogurt or buttermilk, egg, room temperature butter, and risen starter to the bowl, and mix to combine. Place the bowl in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed or until the dough is smooth and stretchy, and appears to have lightened a bit in color. Spray a silicone spatula with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl, Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, and cover tightly with oiled plastic wrap or the oiled top of your proofing bucket. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days.

  • On baking day, line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, sprinkle it very lightly with more flour. Handling the dough very gently so you don’t incorporate too much flour into the dough, turn the dough over a few times until it’s smoother. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Set one aside and cover so it doesn’t dry out. Working with the remaining piece of dough, roll it into a 10-inch circle, turning the dough over frequently, sprinkling very lightly with more flour as necessary, and moving it around to prevent sticking. With a pizza wheel or sharp knife, slice the round of dough into 4 equal pieces, each a very wide triangle. Slice each quarter into thirds, making twelve triangles total. Brush the dough liberally with 2 tablespoons melted butter, then allow the dough to sit briefly to allow the butter to set. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

  • Once the butter has begun to set, separate one triangle from the circle, and roll it gently but securely from base to tip. Place the shaped crescent roll on the prepared baking sheet, with the tip of the triangle secured on the bottom. Repeat with the remaining 11 triangles, spacing the rolls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and place it in a draft-free location to rise until about 150% of its original size (30 to 45 minutes). Do not overproof.

  • About 15 minutes before the end of the rolls’ rise, preheat your oven to 350°F. Once the rolls have finished rising, remove the plastic wrap and brush the tops generously with more melted butter. Place the baking sheets in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the rolls are just browned (about 15 minutes). remove from the oven, and serve warm.

  • From the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2013.

Love,
Nicole

  • Andrea
    September 16, 2020 at 10:42 AM

    Found your website recently and your recipes are fantastic! I made the milk bread a few days ago and my family absolutely loved it! Going to try to make the steamed meat buns soon, just need to order some coconut milk powder. Also, thank you for adding in the substitutions for other diets, it means I can actually make some of the recipes I wouldn’t be able to otherwise (my family is allergic to a lot of things, including dairy and corn)!

    For this recipe, have you tried making it with the Better Batter flour that’s been modified into pastry dough, like you say you can do for your meat bun recipe? Crescent rolls are one of my favorite things, but I haven’t been able to find a good recipe gf for them despite a lot of searching. Your recipes achieve that wonderful fluffy texture for bread, but I’m pretty allergic to dairy so I unfortunately can’t eat whey protein isolate (and therefore can’t eat any of the recipes that use your whey protein isolate and Expandex combo).

    Finally, I had a question about your books. Which would have the most recipes that I could make without using dairy? I want to pick one up, but I know you only do gf, not df too, so I don’t know which ones would have recipes that I could easily make df.

    Thanks!

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 16, 2020 at 10:57 AM

      I’m afraid you can’t make this recipe with anything other than the bread flour blend, Andrea. I would not buy the Bakes Bread book, since it really relies upon the bread flour. I always recommend the second edition of my very first book (link here, but you can buy it anywhere, including a local bookseller, which would be better for the world!).

  • shalindhi
    September 7, 2020 at 1:03 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    I love your recipes but whenever I see the recipe calls for the Expandex and/or whey protein, I take a detour. I don’t know why, but I have used these ingredients in your bread recipe and the taste is not good. What could be causing an unpleasant taste?

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 7, 2020 at 6:33 PM

      I’m afraid taste is a very individual thing, Shalindhi. Perhaps you’re not measuring properly, or not using good quality unflavored whey protein isolate.

  • Disa
    September 6, 2020 at 10:35 AM

    Hi Nicole. My name is Disa and I’ve followed you since I got diagnosed 6 years ago. I’ve moved back to Norway and I’m kind of dreading to start all over again with finding bread flour 🤨as I have now used up my Better Batter ( that I brought back with me 😉)and I can’t get potato flour ( neither superfine rice flour 🤨)to make the mock one. Do you know if some of the European flour like Schar or Semper behaves similar to Better Batter, I see they don’t have the same ingredients 🤯 ?
    I also wanted to thank you for making my life as a celiac easier with your fantastic recipes 🙏🙏

    Disa

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 6, 2020 at 10:41 AM

      Hi, Disa, I’m afraid you absolutely cannot make any of my all purpose gluten free flour blends without a superfine rice flour, but you can make your own superfine rice flour (although it’s not especially fun, it’s possible). For more details about making mock Better Batter and what you can and can’t substitute, please click here. And click for the same about bread flour (which is also linked in the recipe here).

  • Kathy
    September 6, 2020 at 10:15 AM

    Looks delicious, but I don’t see any icons to print or download the recipe.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 6, 2020 at 10:43 AM

      You can’t download the recipe, Kathy. You can print it by clicking the printer icon at the bottom of the post, next to the maroon “share” button.

  • Julie L
    September 3, 2020 at 6:28 PM

    Hi Nicole! I’m so glad to see more of your wonderful recipes from the Bakes Bread book showing up here. We love making these in the colder months, but we rarely make them plain. We do the cinnamon sugar thing sometimes, but we’re just as likely to roll up some chocolate chips, baked apples or (my 4 year old’s favorite) hot dogs into the dough before baking. If you (or anyone else) chooses to try the hot dogs remember to slit them down the side first so they don’t explode out of the roll during baking! ( I bet you know why I know that.)
    Cheers,

    Julie

  • Pilar Martínez
    September 2, 2020 at 10:36 AM

    Hola Nicole, a veces me resulta conplicado hacer algunas recetas porque en España no tengo harina de patata, crees que puedo sustituir por harina de otro tuberculo? Gracias

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 2, 2020 at 12:18 PM

      Hola Pilar, Si haces clic aquí, encontrarás información cerca del final de la página sobre la harina de patata y el almidón de patata.

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