Fiber Roll Tips

When we were living in Norway, we took a trip way up north to Tromsø, a beautiful city that is home to the world’s northernmost university and beer brewery, and where we saw the most spectacular display of the Northern Lights. We travelled with some other exchange students from Germany, a few from the former East Germany. One of the interesting observations we made of the Germans was their method for choosing bread. They went around the bread section of the grocery store looking for the heaviest bread in the smallest package, in other words, the densest bread possible. Note that we were in Norway, where bread was already dense and hearty by American standards. But they were horrified that we ate the goat cheese (geitøst), so we learned to respect our differences.

Making fiber rolls for the first time reminded me of the Germans, which isn’t a good sales pitch for fiber rolls. The bad news is, when Nora first looked at the fiber rolls, her reaction was, “yuck!” The good news is, when she tasted them her reaction was “yum!” They are so tasty and bread-like that the density didn’t turn her off on the first attempt. On the second attempt I changed my procedure and made them lighter, and now they are in the list of Nora’s Top 15 Foods.

Dawn Martenz at ketocook.com is the keto-genius mom behind the recipe. I didn’t even think about attempting keto-bread, but Dawn came up with a clever combination of ingredients that really works. Her instructions are simple and easy to follow, but if you are a scattered mama like me, it might not occur to you that the procedure for making these rolls will matter a lot to the outcome. Here I will share my more detailed procedure for maximizing the rise in the rolls to create the illusion of more bread and more surface area and air pockets for spreading butter!

The Fiber Roll Recipe is approved by the Charlie Foundation and can be found at http://www.charliefoundation.org/recipes/item/978-high-fiber-rolls.html. The psyllium husks can absorb liquid, including oils, so it can carry an amazing amount of fat without feeling greasy. The original recipe gives several ratio options; I use the 3:1 ratio. The recipe also notes that the recommended daily intake of psyllium husks for children ages 6-12 is 1 tsp, or 3 g. Because Nora is only 4, I divided the recipe into 6 rolls instead of 4 to reduce the psyllium husks to 2 g per roll. Therefore, the nutrition label that you see below reflects those changes to the recipe. Each roll contains 18.4 g of dough.

Nutritional Information for Fiber Rolls, 3:1, 6 servings. Analysis by www.caloriecount.com.

Fiber Rolls, 3:1 (6 servings)
50 g egg
24 g olive oil
4 g apple cider vinegar
5 g water
12 g Whole Psyllium Husk (bought as a fiber supplement at natural food stores)
13 g Flaxseed Meal
1 g baking powder
1 g baking soda
pinch salt and dried thyme

Preheat oven to 300. You definitely want your oven preheated when the rolls are ready to pop in, so turn it on before making the rolls.

Mix egg, oil, vinegar and water very well. Add the psyllium husks and let the dough rest and stiffen to the consistency of oatmeal. This is where I deviate from the original recipe, and here’s why. It’s food science time.

Yes we did do the volcano a few summers ago, and it was underwhelming. But it did very slowly engulf the Lego Star Wars villans in it’s watery pink lava. Mission accomplished.

Normal bread rises because of the action of yeast eating up the sugars and releasing carbon dioxide into the elastic glutenous dough. That takes some time to accomplish and the gluten can take the stretch, which is why you let dough rise. But these rolls are not elastic and not using yeast; they are a “quick bread,” in part using baking soda and vinegar to create the air bubbles in a fast-acting chemical reaction that is over in less than 1 minute. Remember making a “volcano” explode in school, or with your kids? You mix together baking soda and vinegar and it poofs the liquid out of your volcano by releasing carbon dioxide bubbles. But that reaction doesn’t last very long–you put the ingredients together, it fizzes out of the volcano, it’s over in a flash, and you are left with a watery mess that will take 10 times as long to clean up than the cheap entertainment it provided. Imagine that happening inside your fiber rolls.

The recipe also calls for baking powder, which has slow-acting chemical leavening agents that work when heated. That’s why you have the oven pre-heated. You want to take advantage of that fast-acting reaction between the baking soda and vinegar, getting it into the oven to cook, trap the air inside the rolls, and get the baking powder action to continue to hold it up while it solidifies. That’s how you get the maximum air into your fiber roll bread. But it requires you to act fast.

Notice that you didn’t put the baking soda or baking powder in with the psyllium husks and liquid ingredients in my instructions; you are keeping them away from the vinegar to minimize the amount of time between starting that chemical reaction and getting them into the oven. The original recipe says to put everything together and let it sit for 5 minutes to absorb the liquids, but it will take at least 5 minutes to weigh out your rolls. By allowing the psyllium husks to absorb the liquid first, you don’t let the chemical reaction blow itself out before you get the rolls in the oven. That was my mistake the first time. After I changed my procedure, the rolls were at least 50% bigger and much airier.

The dough before it goes into the oven.

Back to the recipe instructions:

While the psyllium husks are absorbing the liquid, in a separate bowl mix together the flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and thyme (or other dried herb of your choice for flavor). This is your dry mixture. When the psyllium husk mixture is thickened, quickly stir in the dry flaxseed meal mixture. Don’t wait–weigh out the dough for each roll, 18.4 g in my recipe making 6 rolls. They don’t need any extra handling, just ball them up gently. Put them on to your baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking surface, and into the oven as fast as possible!

Bake 30 minutes.

See the air bubbles? Good for holding more butter! It has the texture of a hearty bread and a nice flavor from the flax seed.

Not only is it amazing to make a satisfying bread with 0.2 net carbs (in my 6-roll version), but getting it at a 3:1 ratio without feeling heavy or greasy is astounding. We can make a meal with a buttered fiber roll and several other moderate-ratio ingredients and you would never think so much fat would be hiding in there.

And Anders likes them too! I  know that we have several readers that are using the Modified Atkins Diet or who have low-carb and/or gluten-free diets for other health reasons. Here is the recipe for the MAD version at a 1.25 ratio in standard US measurements. If you want the short version of the instructions, see below. Only the measurements of the ingredients are different.

Nutrition for 4 Everyday Fiber Rolls at 1.25:1 ratio (MAD version). Analysis by www.caloriecount.com. Net (effective) carbs = 0.2 g per roll.

Everyday Fiber Rolls
1 large (50 g) raw egg, beaten
1 tsp (4 g) olive oil
1 tsp (4 g) apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp (25 g) water
2 Tbsp (12 g) Whole Psyllium Husk (bought as a fiber supplement at natural food stores)
2 Tbsp (13 g) Flaxseed Meal
1/4 tsp (1 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 g) baking soda
pinch salt and dried thyme

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Thoroughly combine egg, oil, vinegar and water. Mix in psyllium husks and let it absorb the liquid until thickened.

Meanwhile, combine the flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs in a separate bowl and mix well.

Quickly incorporate the flaxseed meal dry mixture with the thickened wet mixture. Quickly form into desired number of rolls (4 in the original recipe at 28 g each, if you are measuring). Place on parchment lined baking sheet or silicone baking surface. Bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy fresh from the oven!

 

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About Christy Anderson Brekken

In no particular order... Instructor and Researcher, Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University. Educational background: University of MN Law School, 2005. MS in Ag and Resource Economics, Oregon State University, 2011. Teaches: Agricultural Law, Environmental Law. Mother: brilliant 9 year old boy; brilliant 6 year old girl with benign myoclonic epilepsy on a modified ketogenic diet therapy. Married to: Ted Brekken, OSU Department of Electrical Engineering. Ride: Xtra-cycle Edgerunner with kid seat; 400-pound cargo capacity. Grew up: Devils Lake, ND. Lived in: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Pohang, South Korea, Trondheim, Norway, Corvallis, OR. Interests: Cooking, knitting, eating, yoga, laughing, hiking, traveling, staying sane.

7 thoughts on “Fiber Roll Tips

  1. You crack me up with your scientific ways… I am the exact opposite of you, wing it and write it down when it works! We are loving the rolls in our house, I recently made an egg sandwich for breakfast (just a fried egg on one of the rolls) and you would have thought I put a million dollars in front of Charlotte! I am so glad she likes them as well. I have a few other recipes that you can “investigate” and tell me why they work if your interested!

    • Actually, you see that I do just slap it together without regard to specific instructions first (I waited way more than 5 minutes between mixing and baking the first time!) Then when I screw it up somehow, I have to figure out why. It’s taking me longer between mixing and baking because I have to make them smaller too. Thanks for the note about psyllium husks, by the way, that’s valuable information.

      I’d love to investigate if you’ve got anything for me to try!

  2. Looks yummy, can’t wait to try. I have a question: how did you get the nutrient facts label? I noticed it said “analysis by caloriecount.com” am wondering if you have to send info to them? Also, wondering if “net effective carb” is different from total carbs – fiber – noticed a food label the other day that had a lower net effective carb value than the total-fiber I have been using.
    Thank in advance! Off to check “Nora’s Top 15 foods”

    • I got the nutrition facts from http://www.caloriecount.com. If you register for the site, they have a “Recipe Analyzer” tool that lets you enter amounts of each ingredient (in grams, servings, cups, etc.) and number of servings. It does the calculation and produces this fact panel, just like you see on packaged goods! When you chose ingredients, you have to look for the specific brand you are using and can double check that their database agrees with the fact panel on the product you are using. For example, not all coconut flours are the same, and european style butter is different from regular butter, etc. I have found it to be accurate. Nora’s dietician has put a few of my recipes into the official ketocalculator and gets very similar results. It has worked for Nora, and I would be confident of the results for the MAD diet.

      Yes–net effective carbs is total carbs minus fiber. The fiber is counted as a total carb, but it does not have an effect on blood sugar so we count net effective carbs. I have also found that some labels are slightly off, I think probably because of the rounding rules that the food manufacturers use. I talked to a food scientist about it once and he had another fancy answer that I can’t explain! To be safe, I would do the total carb minus fiber on the label, not another claim about net effective carbs.

    • I would store them in the refrigerator. But they might not last long! You could take them out to warm up a bit before serving.

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