Friday, November 4, 2011

Parker House Rolls

After seeing this recipe in the November Everyday Food, I somehow couldn't resist trying it right away. Parker house rolls seem like they make their way to many a Thanksgiving table but quite honestly, I don't think they ever made it to ours (or it could also be that I was too focused on the stuffing).

So instead of Thanksgiving, I decided to whip up half a batch on a Monday night.  I was concerned when the first rise didn't seem to double but apparently, I had nothing to worry about.  These were so light and fluffy.  We each immediately ate 2 fresh from the oven -- I just couldn't stop at one.  They were definitely the best fresh or warmed.  My husband also enjoyed them as mini brisket sandwiches for dinner the next night, too.  They seem like they would make excellent buns for any kind of sliders as well.  And I thought they were delicious with just butter and/or honey.

The one thing that might a be little difficult is that the recipe only provides instructions for a stand mixer.  However, I would think the rolls would still do well if you mixed the ingredients and then kneaded by hand until smooth (I almost always use a stand mixer because I'm lazy but my guess is that kneading by hand would take 10+ minutes).

Everyday Food also gives instructions on how to do some of the steps ahead of time, how to freeze the unbaked rolls and how to warm already baked rolls, making your Thanksgiving (or Monday night) a little easier!

Parker House Rolls
Taken from: Everyday Food, Nov 2011
Makes 24 rolls (I halved this recipe and baked in a 8x8 dish)
  •  4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 white whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature (Everyday Food suggests whole milk but I used skim with a dash of cream)
  • Optional: 4 tablespoons of melted butter (I omitted)
  1. Can be done the day before: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients except the melted butter.  With dough hook, mix on low until mixture just comes together. Increase to medium-high; beat until butter is incorporated and dough is soft, about 6-10 minutes.
  2. Lightly coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray or oil.  Form dough into a ball, place in bowl, and cover with a damp clean dish towel.  Set aside in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight; bring to room temperature before baking). 
  3. Lightly coat a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Turn dough onto a work surface and loosely cover with a damp towel so it doesn't dry out.  With a sharp knife or bench scraper, divide dough into 24 pieces, roll into smooth balls (about 2 inches each), and arrange in pan, 1/2 inch apart.  (Dough can be frozen at this point for up to 3 months).
  4. To freeze: Place dough balls in a parchment-lined baking pan;  cover with plastic, store in freezer bag and freeze.  To bake, let rise in the baking plan in a warm place, covered with a damp towel, until rolls just touch, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, then follow step 6.
  5. Cover with towel and let rise until rolls begin to touch, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.  Brush rolls with 2 tablespoons of melted butter (optional); bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  7. Right before serving, brush with 2 more tablespoons of melted butter, sprinkle with salt (I omitted both the butter and the extra salt) and serve warm.
  8. Store cooled rolls, wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days. 
  9. To reheat: Reheat in a 350 oven for 10 minutes.  Then add the 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle of salt, if desired.


  1. Dear Anne,
    I just made this recipe and I questioned the amount of salt. You stated that the recipe called for 2 teas. Kosher salt. I read 4 teas. of coarse salt. Against my better judgement I gave it a try. The result was heavy, salty dough. I have a lot of experience in baking and I feel that this recipe should have specified what exactly they consider coarse salt ...Kosher Salt , French Grey Salt or many different sea salts are coarse. FYI, I weighed each ball of dough and 1 1/4 oz. makes a good size roll.

  2. Yes, the original recipe in Everyday Food was for 4 tsp of coarse salt! However, that seemed like a lot of salt to me, especially since (as you mentioned) there are different kinds of coarse salt. I halved the salt and used kosher which worked well so those were the instructions that I gave. I think that's also helpful for anyone who's more concerned about sodium intake. Thanks so much for the comment about weighing the dough balls!