These Low-Carb Bread Rolls are indeed life-changing. Ever since I discovered the original recipe I’ve been making batches of them every week. Light and grain-free, these bread rolls are very easy to make and absolutely delicious. Use either sunflower flour (easy to make in a blender) or almond flour to make these soft, pillowy rolls. No yeast required.
My new low-carb life
If, like me, you mostly eat low-carb, bread will be the first thing that pretty much disappears. Poof! Along with normal pasta and potatoes. Sounds dire, right? Not necessarily. Not at all.
To be honest, I do occasionally eat homemade sourdough bread. I can cope with the occasional treasured slice, eaten with all of the reverence given the finest caviar. But I can’t be too cavalier. If I eat as many starchy carbohydrates as I would like, it hurts. My gut swells and cramps, and my joints ache without relief. This is with any grains, pseudo-grains and legumes. Sugar isn’t too clever for me either. Not good.
Since embarking on a low-carb diet (or way of life, as I like to put it) these mostly inflammation-related issues are a distant, faint hum instead of blaring klaxon. I’m so grateful.
Why life changing?
A lot of what we eat in the west is paired with bread – sandwiches, wraps; to accompany a meal; eat with a smear of butter. And it has been called the “staff of life”: All cultures seem to have a tradition of at least some kind of bread-making, whether flat, yeasted, boiled and baked, fried. So to not eat bread is really quite radical. You might say, it goes against the grain. (yes, I know that was terrible)
And I want to eat bread! This recipe, using whole food ingredients, makes this delectably possible. Look at the images. Bread, right? Even if you aren’t low-carb, I do urge you to try these. Even if it’s just to see how close in texture and taste these low-carb bread rolls are to the real thing. They really are absolutely gorgeous in texture and taste. I’ve added an optional ingredient that makes them even better, but leave it out if you want them to be suitable for savory or sweet (they would be fab with a scrape of good butter and a sticky spoon of homemade jam).
What you need for low-carb bread rolls
The ingredients are largely found in an average supermarket. Except for perhaps the psyllium husks. Composed of soluble and insoluble fiber found in Plantago ovato seeds, this is commonly used as a natural, safe laxative (not in the amounts you will have here!). But psyllium is extremely useful in low-carb baking. It also supports gut, heart and pancreas health. You can get them at any health food store, or online (I will link to Amazon UK).
Sunflower seeds – or use almond flour
Psyllium husks – pre-ground, but not a fine dusty powder
Apple cider vinegar, or other white vinegar – this works with the baking powder to give essential airiness
Hot water – activates the psyllium better than cold or room temp
Egg whites – white from 2 large eggs, or use 5 tablespoons (I use some from a carton of free-range egg whites from The Happy Egg Co)
Black olive tapenade – this is the wild card ingredient I’ve included to really amp the overall flavour. It adds umami and depth rather than an olive flavour. Use finely grated pecorino or parmesan, or leave out completely.
Dried yeast – optional and just for a bready flavour. But you really don’t need it at all, as I’ve discovered.
Extra seeds for topping the rolls – I have sunflower and flax here, but I also like sunflower and poppyseed.
How to make low-carb bread rolls
Making these low-carb bread rolls is astonishingly easy. There is no yeast to deal with, nor any tedious kneading. Hooray!
First of all you toast the seeds in the oven. This is to give them a gorgeous, intensely nutty flavour. Don’t skip this step! Then you pulse them in a power blender, just until they get powdery. This should be about 6 pulses, scraping the sides down between each one. If you don’t have a good blender, just use ground almonds – as fine as you can get them – almond flour if possible. Remember, you are wanting as close to a flour texture as you can get. If you have a small food processor bowl/food chopper thingy, this may work, too.
Then it is a matter of whisking the dry and adding the wet, beating all briefly with electric beaters/hand blender or stand mixer. I just use electric beaters. To be honest, I’ve not tried to beat with a spoon as I think it might not get the necessary cohesive, thick texture. But it might be possible. I’m a bit of a weakling. But I am strong enough to shape the rolls. 🙂
Finally, dip the shaped rolls in the extra seeds, and bake them on a parchment-lined tray for 50 minutes in a moderate oven. The aroma will fill your house and drive your neighbours crazy with desire. 😉 Allow them to cool for about 15 minutes before splitting and slathering in butter. That is how I would recommend you enjoy the first batch. Then consider them for burger buns – see my image of them enclosing a deliciously trashy Beyond Burger!
If you like them, do make a double batch next time, and perhaps stash half in the freezer. To eat, just defrost (this won’t take long) and pop in a hot oven for five minutes.
Heavily adapted from a recipe on dietdoctor.com, my favourite low-carb information website.
These Amazon UK links are for products that I use, although some I get from the supermarket. Buying on any of the links costs you nothing extra and helps defray the costs of running Food To Glow and keeping it ad-free. Thanks so much. 🙂
Belazu Beldi Black Olive Tapenade 170 g (Pack of 3) — single jars are available at larger Sainsbury’s supermarkets
WILLY’S ACV Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother, 500 ml – I get this at Waitrose; get (Pack Of 2) – Organic Cyder Vinegar | ASPALL if Willy’s isn’t available
Bacofoil The Non-Stick Baking Paper, Textured Surface, High Quality, Versatile, 38cm x 10m – this can be hard to find, but I can sometimes get it at Waitrose. Once you’ve used it you will whine and grumble if you have to use something else. Seriously.
More Low-Carb on Food To Glow
Here are just a few other lower carb baking treats on Food To Glow. I’m creating more all the time, so do keep coming back to see what else I’ve got for you!
** I will be making a separate recipe and research index for my growing collection of lower carbohydrate recipes and information. Bear with me! **
Cocoa-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Salt and Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds – literally the worst photos, but still good recipes!
So, low carb or not, are you tempted?
Low-Carb Sunflower Bread Rolls
Light, grain-free bread rolls that are easy to make and absolutely delicious. Use either sunflower "flour" or almond flour for making these, dare I say, life-changing, pillowy rolls. No yeast required. Adapted from a recipe on dietdoctor.com
- 125 g sunflower seeds raw and unsalted ** see notes below for almond flour option **
- 35 g ground psyllium or 2 tsp powdered psyllium
- 1 tsp salt less if using tapenade
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150 ml water just-boiled
- 1¼ tsp apple cider vinegar or any white "table" vinegar
- 5 tbsp egg whites about 2 large egg whites
- 3 tbsp black olive tapenade optional but adds depth rather than salty, olive taste
- 4 tbsp mixed seeds for topping
- 1 tsp dried yeast optional, just for flavour not rising
Heat the oven to 160C fan/180C/350F. Place the sunflower seeds on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes. Keep the oven on.
Pour the toasted seeds into a powerful blender and pulse until you get a powdery, flour-like texture. Scrape the side of the jug as needed. Be cautious when pulsing though as it is easy to start on the road to sunflower butter!
Add the sunflower flour to a mixing bowl and dry whisk with the ground psyllium, salt and baking powder. Pour in the egg whites and vinegar and do a quick mix before adding the hot water.
Use electric beaters or stand mixer to mix for 30-45 seconds. It should thicken and the beaters should start to "strain' a bit. Do not over-mix. Let the mixture sit for five minutes.
Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces (use a scale if you like). Dip your hands in water and shape the rolls, pressing each one into the extra seeds. Place on the lined baking tray.
Pop the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting open, filling/buttering and eating!
Carb content: The carbohydrate value in the nutrition panel is misleading. At most, each roll has 5 grams of net carbohydrates as one takes away the fiber from the raw total carb value. If you use almond flour, the values will be even less.
Other flour option: If you have a powerful blender with a pulse function, making sunflower flour is the very best option. You can also buy it, although it is expensive. The taste is very, very good. But you can make these low-carb bread rolls with almond flour or ground almonds if the latter seem to be quite evenly ground with no "bits".
Storage: These keep well in the fridge for three days, and can be frozen once baked. Refresh in a 180/400 oven for up to five minutes.
Flavour options: I use black olive tapenade, but do add some finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (a handful), or sun-dried tomato paste instead if you like. So many potential flavour options. Or keep them "plain".
Serving suggestions: with a pat of butter to melt right in; as a filled roll; as a burger bun.