Thursday, January 27, 2011

Parker House Rolls

I definitely have a "love-love" relationship with bread...I love to bake it and I love to eat it!! I guess it's a good thing I'm training for a half marathon! For years, I was intimidated by making homemade yeast breads, but now that I have mastered it, there's no stopping me! I sometimes drool over bread recipes. But since we can only eat so much ourselves (because after all fresh is best), I send a lot to work with my husband. His co-workers seem to enjoy the bread almost as much as my famous cake bites! Although I have great success with bread, I do have failures from time to time. I have not mastered the "rapid rise" breads yet, but hope to soon. When I have a failure, it just makes me more determined than ever to get it right!

I found this recipe in the November 2010 Food Network Magazine and had to add it to our Thanksgiving menu. The recipe looked involved, but I was not intimidated in the least. This made a very light, airy and oh-so-tasty roll to accompany any meal. The rolls didn't last long at all which is good since bread is best right after being made.

1 package active dry yeast (I used 2 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast)
1/2 cup sugar
7 1/2 to 8 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp softened butter for brushing hot rolls
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling


Sprinkle the yeast into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm water (110-120 degrees). Whisk in the sugar. Let sit 1 minute (it should bubble and froth at this time).

Gently stir in 1 cup flour. Set aside near stove while you prepare the dough.

Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the dough hook on low speed. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Add the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated.

Add 6 1/2 cups flour and 1 tbsp salt. Mix until the dough forms a ball (about 2-3 minutes), adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky. Brush a large bowl with softened butter (or spray with cooking spray). Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.

The dough should double in volume. This sight always make my heart sing!!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust a clean surface with flour and turn the dough onto it. Flour your hands and gently press the dough into a 16x8 inch rectangle that is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. It's important to NOT use a rolling pin here.

With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife. Then slice crosswise into 12 strips.

One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half, then tuck the overhang underneath.

Place the rolls seam side down on the prepared baking sheet in 3 tightly packed rows. If you are making these in advance, you can tightly cover the baking sheet in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 weeks.

Bake until the rolls are bursting at the seams and golden brown, 18-20 minutes. If frozen, bake 25 minutes at 325 and then 10 minutes at 375. Remove from oven and brush with softened butter. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.


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