November 12, 2014

Parker House Rolls

It is almost "Christmas Vacation" time!
It is -3ºF as I write this post.  
Have you ever tried Parker House rolls?  They are buttery, fluffy rolls.  Supposedly, a frustrated pastry chef threw a batch of unfinished rolls into the oven after having a little disagreement with a hotel guest.  When the rolls came out from the oven, they had a folded shape and were light and fluffy on the inside while crisp on the outside--and most importantly, loaded with buttery flavor.

With the cool temps here in Denver and Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, I've been thinking more about comfort food and holiday dinner ideas.  Every year, the legal department does a Thanksgiving potluck.   When the sign-up list comes out, everyone responds so quickly to sign up for the different menu items.  These are important things, after all.

Our Thanksgiving potluck was this week.  This year, I signed up to make rolls and dessert.  I had never made Parker House rolls, so it was time to give them a try.  They were a hit!  I had a few requests for the recipe, so I wanted to make sure and get this up on the blog quickly.

Since I was also making a pumpkin cheesecake for the potluck, I decided to prep the dough in the bread machine to make things a little easier.  

Butter makes everything better, especially these rolls.  The dough contains butter.   After the dough rises, you roll the dough out and make little dough discs using a cookie cutter.  Each dough disc is dipped in melted butter before being placed on the baking pan.  After the rolls are baked, they are brushed with butter.  These rolls turn out perfectly soft and buttery.  In my opinion, you really don't need extra butter to put on these rolls.

They are a must for a Thanksgiving dinner and will be a favorite at any meal.

Parker House Rolls
Yields 2 dozen small rolls

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water (120ºF)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or one package)
1 cup butter
Fleur de sel, to sprinkle

In the bread machine: Add the water, flour, sugar, egg, salt, yeast, and 1/4 cup butter.  Set your bread machine to the dough cycle.  (On my bread machine, this is a 90 minute cycle.)

Using a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, and water. and combine using the dough hook   Once combined, add egg.  The dough should be very soft.  After the dough is mixed, put the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for about 20 minutes.  Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl and cover with a towel.  Allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes or until doubled.

While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Use some of the remaining butter to grease a 9x9 baking pan (or whatever size you prefer).  Melt the remaining butter in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave and set aside.

After the dough finishes rising, generously sprinkle flour on a smooth surface, and roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick with a rolling pin.  Using a 2 1/2 to 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles.  Dip both sides of the dough disk into the melted butter.  Fold in half, and arrange the dough disc on the pan.  Continue repeating, and each disk should nearly touch be touching the other.  After all the dough is on the pan, cover the pan with a towel and allow it to rise for about 40 minutes.

Before baking, sprinkle fleur de sel over the rolls.  Bake the rolls for about 15 to 20 minutes until browned.  Upon removing them from the oven, use a pastry brush to brush the remaining butter over the rolls.

Source: A Simply Sweet Justice Original, inspired by the Parker House Hotel in Boston


  1. So basically a little bit of flour with that butter right Claire?

    I love these rolls so much; give me this and some cranberry sauce and my favorite mushroom dish and you can have the turkey and stuffing!

  2. I love Parker House rolls. They are so soft and buttery and frankly I find them irresistible. I'll have Barb's turkey and stuffing please.

  3. Well, if you can make these in our high altitude and finicky humidity, so can I. I'd love to be able to turn out rolls this beautiful. Pinned.


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