Parker House Rolls

Who doesn't love bread? From baguettes to croissants, I haven't met a carb-loaded baked good that I don't like. But when you make dinner rolls that are rich, soft, buttery, eggy, and barely sweet Parker House Rolls,  people will more than love them. They will crave them, and find you (as the maker of such delectable bites of carb comfort) more attractive, more intelligent, and more lovable, than you could ever imagine.

Okay, I might've exaggerated with that last bit there, but my husband certainly seemed to love me more when I started making these rolls. Called Parker House Rolls after the hotel in Boston where they originated, the recipes date back more than a hundred years. Traditionally, I believe these rolls are made by flattening ovals then folding in half, but I prefer pull apart dinner rolls, brushed with butter and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt.

Homemade Parker House Rolls Recipe
Recipe makes 18 rolls.  I tend to bake half and freeze half. Trust me when I say that my hubby and I have no problem finishing off nine rolls with just the two of us, so feel free to bake them all if you are cooking for 4 or more. They won't go to waste. If you are freezing, individually wrap and freeze dough balls after your portion them, but before their final rise.

2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (plus 1 tblsp for brushing later)
1 cup whole milk at room temp
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups flour (approx) plus more for shaping
Maldon Sea  Salt (or any coarse salt) for sprinkling at the end

Start by making your dough. I like to pull out my cup of milk, egg, and melt the butter so everything has time to come to room temp. Brush a large bowl with some of the melted butter, as well as the bottom of your baking pan (I like to use a cake pan with a parchment round on the bottom and butter the top of the parchment). If you forget to pull out your milk, you can always add it to the remaining melted butter when the pan is still warm, this will take the chill off.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix your yeast, warm water, and 1 tsp of your sugar. Let that sit until it gets foamy (3-5 minutes). Then, place 3 and 1/2 cups of the flour on top, then the sugar, then the milk, butter, egg and salt. Start your mixer with the dough hook and add the last half cup of flour gradually. This is a soft dough. You want it just to form a ball that separates from the sides, but go slowly, it shouldn't be stiff and dry. You may need all 4 cups of the flour or a tblsp less or more, just stop adding flour once the dough is holding together but still a bit tacky. Once you think you've got it right, let the mixer run on med low for another 3 minutes. Move your soft dough ball to the buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

You want the dough to be soft and sticky, but ball up around the dough hook and clean the sides of the bowl.

Dough before the first rise, sitting in the buttered bowl.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Once the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and (using a floured knife) cut into 18 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough oval and place in your baking pan. I like to put 9 in each. If you aren't baking the whole batch, this is the point where I individually wrap each dough ball, toss them in a big zip-lock bag and freeze.

They should be touching, but don't jam them in too tight, they'll rise a bit more before/during baking. Let these sit for 30 minutes, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden and puffy. When they are hot from the oven, brush with a little more melted butter, sprinkle with coarse salt and allow them to cool on a rack for 15 minutes before eating. It'll be difficult, but you can make it.

If you are going from frozen, I take the balls out of the freezer the night before, place on parchment in the bake pans, and let them thaw in the pan in the fridge. Then pop the whole thing in the oven, watching your bake times.

Shaped dough balls in parchment lined cake pan. These just need 30 minutes.

After the 2nd rise, ready to bake.
They are divine as they are. You can feel free to serve with butter alongside but I don't think they need it. They are buttery, rich, and simply heavenly.

Fresh from the oven.

Buttered and sprinkled with salt. Just 15 minutes then you can devour.
Enjoy! And if you don't finish them all while they are warm, they can be stored in a zip-lock bag and reheated in a 350 oven.