Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Parker House rolls

I have been in the mood for some fresh, soft bread rolls lately, so I made these super buttery Parker House rolls earlier this week.

light and delicious rolls

The rolls originated in the Parker House hotel right here in Boston (wicked awesome)! The original Parker House rolls recipe calls for using round cutters, but I adapted my recipe from Bon Appétit's and followed their method, where you roll out the dough and cut it into a rectangle shape. It was a bit tedious to roll, cut, butter, and fold 36 rolls, so I would probably use a different shape if I were to make these again.

Overall, the dough was very easy to work with and the rolls themselves were light, soft, and buttery. I definitely recommend trying these rolls (but skip the time-consuming rolling and folding). I would recommend instead to either skip the inside buttered layer or to perhaps roll out the whole dough, cut it into thirds lengthwise, butter that, fold it and then cut that up. I think that would go much faster. Here is my recipe, adapted from the Bon Appétit recipe.

2 1/4 t. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (110-115 degrees), to proof the yeast
1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 t. sugar (add a pinch to the proofing yeast)
1 1/2 t. sea salt
1 egg, at room temperature
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
another approx. 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted, for brushing the dough and baked rolls

Using the melted butter, butter two 9x9" pans, or you can use a 9x13" pan; set aside.

See below for the method.

mise en place - easy, simple ingredients

Proof the yeast in a small bowl by combining the yeast, warm water and a pinch of sugar (to feed the yeast). Set aside for 5 minutes.

foaming yeast...smells yummy

Heat the milk, butter, sugar, and sea salt (whisking to blend) until warm and the butter is almost melted; pour into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and egg; whisk to blend.

combining the wet ingredients

Add the flour all in one go. Mix quickly with a large spoon until the dough starts to come together.

adding and mixing in the flour

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5-6 minutes. It will be very sticky at first, but keep kneading until it is smooth and elastic.

From this:

very sticky to start

To this:

soft and smooth to end

Oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning the dough over so it is lightly coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap then a large kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size (about 90 minutes or so, depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

the oiled ball of dough is ready for the first rise

risen and doubled in size! So pretty

Gently deflate the dough by punching it down; turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four equal pieces.

the deflated dough is ready to be rolled out

Roll out each piece of the dough into a rectangle about 12x6" then cut into 12 equal sized pieces. You should end up with 12 pieces, each approximately 4x2"

the 12 squares that will become the rolls

Butter one half of each small rectangle of dough and then fold the unbuttered half over so the "tail" of the unbuttered dough hangs slightly over the buttered half; see the next two photos.

butter half the dough

then fold the unbuttered half over

Layer the folded-over rolls in the baking pan so they are staggered and slightly overlapping, and with the unbuttered "tail" underneath the roll that is on top. It is hard to describe, so see the next two photos.

Repeat this process (rolling out, cutting, buttering, folding, layering) with the remaining 3 pieces of dough. This is the part I felt took too long. Next time I'll shape them differently so this is faster.

one pan of the buttered and folded-over rolls

the rolls sit slightly on top of each other, on the "tail" end

The rolls don't look like much at this point - so flat and lifeless - but after they rise again they will look much more like real rolls. Cover the pans of rolls with a kitchen towel and set them aside for the second rise (about 45 minutes). Toward the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350.

After the second rise, gently brush the rolls with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.

after the second rise, gently brush with melted butter

Immediately after taking the rolls out of the oven, brush again with melted butter and sprinkle with large flake sea salt. Serve warm.

beautiful golden brown rolls

a side can see how they puffed up as they expanded during
the second rise and baking

light and tender - and buttery! - inside

Bye for now...

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