These chestnut bread rolls are made with a blend of wheat, rye and chestnut flours. This mix gives them a slight sweetness and depth of flavor that makes them extra tasty, but just as easy as a basic loaf. They're perfect to enjoy alongside a meal or make them into mini sandwiches.
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I have enjoyed using a range of different flours for many years, and as I have become more into baking bread, I've come to use a range in bread as well. Some blends are a typical cultural styles of bread, like the French pain de campagne with some rye. But others are more experiments, like my spelt rolls.
Often using a different flour adds a different flavor which can make the bread that bit more interesting. Sometimes there are nutritional benefits as well. And of course, some allow you to make the bread or baked good gluten free.
It's worth remembering that it's rarely, if ever, as simple as switching a flour exactly, though. Each absorbs liquid differently and some have a higher or lower gluten content which impacts rise and density. In general, apart from wheat flour, most flours work best as part of a blend. And that's certainly true for these rolls.
Using chestnut flour
Chestnut flour is simply ground, dried chestnuts. Unlike some other nut flours, it is very fine and makes a smooth paste when combined with water. It is naturally gluten free and has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
While it's far from a popular ingredient in the US (or Australia, as I found), it is relatively common in Northern Italy and parts of France where chestnuts are an important crop. There you'll find it in a few traditional recipes including necci (a kind of pancake similar to my chestnut crepes), pastas and baked goods.
It adds a lovely flavor, but can lead to a dense texture in some cases. I found it worked well in my chestnut brownies, but in bread, you definitely have to mix it with another flour or flours. Using a bit of rye in these rolls as well adds a bit more depth and balances out the slight sweetness. Using mainly wheat flour, though, ensures you still get a nice texture.
The process for making these rolls is pretty simple and typical of many breads. You mix everything together, knead the dough, leave it to rise, form the rolls then let them rise again. Then, bake at a high heat. One of the advantages of rolls over a loaf is they cook quicker. They are also less problematic if they don't rise quite enough.
These chestnut bread rolls are easy to make, have a wonderful flavor and make a delicious side to many a meal or a great base for a simple sandwich. They have a slightly festive feel, but would be great any time.
Try these other tasty bread recipes:
- Caramelized onion sourdough bread
- Herb fougasse (a French bread with aromatic herbs and salt on the crust, in a leaf shape)
- Japanese milk bread (a wonderfully soft white bread)
- Plus get more bread recipes in the archives.
Chestnut bread rolls
- Mix together the wheat, chestnut and rye flours with the salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the olive oil and water and mix well to bring the dough together. If it doesn't all join into a ball, add a few drops more water if needed.
- Lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough for around 3 - 5 minutes until it's smooth and not sticky. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover and leave at warm room temperature to double in size.
- Once the dough has risen, divide it into six equal pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball by lightly stretching out the sides and folding them over and under to give a taught top with the joins underneath. Roll lightly in your hands.
- Place the rolls on a lined baking sheet, cover and leave to rise further around 30 - 40 minutes until they look lightly puffy.
- Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 425F/230C. Bake the rolls for approximately 15 minutes until lightly brown and hollow sounding when you tap the bottom. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting open.
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