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How to make Gluten free flat breads (Roti)?
In India, the Gluten free breads are made from Millet Rice Corn and Legume flours. The breads are un-leavened flat.
Common gluten free flours in India are: Rice, Corn, Buckwheat (Kuttu), Legumes, and Millet.
Common legume flours include: Chickpea flour (Besan), Urad Flour (Decorticated Black Matpe), Moong Flour (Decorticated Mung Bean)
The Millet flours include: Pearl Millet/Spiked Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), Great Millet/Sorghum (Jowar), Foxtail Millet (Kheri), Little Millet (Kodo), and Barnyard Millet (Jhungori)
Types of bread
Legume flours such as Besan, and Moong are normally made into a batter and used to make crepes. These crepes are called Cheela.
Rice and Black Matpe are presoaked ground and fermented to make: crepe called Dosa, or steamed dumpling called Idli.
The simple flat breads are called Roti. Common flours used to make Roti are: Bajra, Jowar, Corn (Makki), Rice, and Ragi
There are two basic techniques used. Amount of water depends on the age and climatic nature of the grain. I have given average amounts of water.
Traditional Roti Dough
This is a common method to make Millet and Corn flat breads.
Flour: 1 Cup
Hot water (115º F preferred): 11 Tablespoons
Salt: 1/8 teaspoon
Mix salt and flour. Add water. Knead to make dough. Gather in to a ball. Cover with plastic film. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Knead again before Rolling out.
Cooked Slurry Dough
This method is primarily used for Rice and Ragi breads. This results in a softer dough than the traditional method.
Flour: 1 Cup
Salt: 1/8 teaspoon
1. Mix flour and ½ cup of cold water to make a slurry.
2. Mix the remaining ½ cup of water and salt. Bring it to a boil. To make spicy bread, you may stir in finely chopped onions, cilantro, Serrano, and finely grated carrots. Bring it back to boil. The vegetables will get wilted.
3. Slowly pour slurry into boiling water, stirring frequently. Turn down heat. Wait till all the water is absorbed and you have the dough of desired consistency. Turn off heat. Let it cool to handle and make balls
Gluten free dough is very difficult to roll out with a rolling-pin without causing any tears. Traditionally, the hands are dipped in water, the ball of dough is pressed to make a patty. The patty is flattened by pressing dough with wet fingers, till it reaches a round cookie of desired diameter.
For convenience, I will use rolling pin in conjunction with two pieces of Parchment / wax paper.
1. Pinch dough to form it into a ball
2. Put down one wax paper. Baste the wax paper with melted Ghee or oil.
3. Put the dough ball on the greased wax paper. Try to spread out patty as much as you like by hand.
4. Grease and put the second wax paper on top of the patty.
5. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to form the round cookie of desired diameter.
6. Slowly peel-off the top sheet of wax paper. The exposed surface is skin surface.
7. Lift the dough cookie with the bottom paper in tact . Transfer the cookie on to hot griddle with skin surface down.
8. Slowly peel off the wax paper.
Bake the bread, repeat for the remaining dough.
Heat the griddle (Tawa) to about 350º F surface temperature. This is cooler than the temperature used to bake wheat Roti. If you don't have a thermometer to measure the surface temperature, put a test cookie on the Tawa. If the cookie sticks to the griddle, you need to increase heat. If the cookie gets brown spots too quick, it is too hot. The actual time to cook depends on moisture content and the thickness of the cookie. It should take about 30 seconds to develop scattered brown spots on the underside of the test cookie. You may baste the top surface with water before turning the cookie over to prevent dryness.
It takes about 3 to 4 minutes to bake each side of the cookie. The cookie is baked in three steps.
1. Put the rolled cookie on the griddle with skin surface down. Use a turner to lift a corner to see that the underside has a few brown spots. It will take 45 to 60 seconds. Baste the top surface with water.
2. Turn it over and let it bake. Bake 90 to 120 seconds, you will notice steam bubbles trapped in the dough. Again use a turner to lift a corner to see that the underside has a brown spots. Baste top surface with water.
1. Add a little bit of corn Tapioca (Ground or presoaked Sabudana) to the flour. The added starch will absorb more water during baking making it moist. It works well with Bajra, Kuttu, and Jowar.
It is common to add mashed potatoes to Kuttu dough, the potato starch makes the bread moist.
2. Most of the gluten free flours (Millet) are slightly alkaline. Wheat is slightly acidic. You have to be careful when using baking soda or the baking powder. You will need more acid than what is needed for wheat recipe. Add an extra pinch of cream-of-tartar. Make sure the baking powder is gluten free.
3. In South India, it is common to add finely chopped onions, cilantro, green chili, and grated carrots to the flour to make dough for Rice or Ragi breads.
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