If you ask me, a nice warm piece of bread is a great side to any meal. What could be better than that? Well, a nice warm piece of homemade bread!
Since Thanksgiving is coming up, I thought I'd do a post about how to make Parker House rolls. These rolls are really handy when you have a big get-together. And they're so soft, light, and fluffy! Which wasn't really a great thing for me because I ate 6 of them without even realizing it.
But if my description hasn't convinced you that these yeast rolls are delicious, just ask my burnt fingers and tongue (because I couldn't wait to start stuffing my face). But don't be like me. Wait a bit before enjoying them.
How To Make Parker House Rolls:
Start by dissolving your sugar in warm water. Combine warm water (about 110°F), sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Let this mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until you start to see foam and bubbles on the surface of the water.
Add your milk and egg to the bowl. Mix the liquids together to break up the egg a bit and to roughly combine everything. Don't worry too much about incorporating everything together here because there's still a lot of mixing and kneading left to do.
Add 2 cups of flour and salt to the bowl. Mix everything together until you start to get a wet dough forming. It should look something like this:
Mix the wet dough for about 1 to 2 minutes (by hand or with a mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed). It's not going to look much different at this point. This is just to start the kneading process.
Add melted butter and remaining flour to the wet dough.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes on medium speed using a mixer or 10 minutes by hand).
If your dough seems too sticky, add flour in 1 tablespoon additions until it pulls away from the sides of your bowl. Your final dough should be soft and stretchy. It shouldn't stick to your fingers or bowl, but it should be slightly tacky on the surface.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let the dough sit and rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. If your home is warm, you could probably leave the dough out on the counter to rise. During the colder months, I like to place my dough in my oven (turned off) so it doesn't get hit with any cold breezes.
Take the dough out of your bowl and shape. It's going to deflate, and that's all part of the plan. You should even aim to get the air out of your dough because that challenges the yeast, which means it's going to start working again during your second rise.
Shape your dough. In the post below, I go into detail about four different shaping methods for this dough. You can definitely use any of the methods below, or some of your own.
If at any point you start having trouble rolling out your dough during the rolling/shaping process, just cover it and let it relax for 10 minutes. It should roll out easier after you let it rest.
Arrange your shaped rolls in two 9x13 inch baking dishes. You can either line your pans with parchment paper or simply grease and flour lightly.
Cover and let rise again. Leave your shaped rolls in a warm place to rise again for about 30 minutes (or until doubled in size).
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes (or until golden brown on top). After they're done baking, remove from the oven and brush with some more melted butter.
Serve and enjoy! These rolls taste best warm. So if you don't finish them all on the same day, I recommend heating them up before enjoying them.
Four Ways To Shape Parker House Rolls:
I have 4 methods I like to use when it comes to shaping this dough.
#1: Half Moon
The most common way to shape Parker House Rolls is a half moon shape. To do this, you have two options. The first is to roll out the whole dough and cut it into circles using a round cookie cutter. Then brush the tops with melted butter and fold in half. This technique is great if you want very uniform rolls.
Option two produces slightly less uniform rolls. This option starts with portioning out your dough and shaping each portion into a ball. The number of portions depends on how large you want your rolls. I personally like to divide my dough into 24 equal pieces.
Next, roll out each ball individually to flatten, brush with melted butter, and fold. When I want to get the half moon shape for Parker House rolls, I find it easier to go with this method because I don't have to deal with any scrap pieces of dough.
#2: Straight Edged Fold
Another way to shape Parker House rolls is a bit of a lazy version of the half moon shape. I'm going to call this a half square(?), for lack of a better name.
First, roll your dough out into a long rectangle.
I recommend dividing your dough up in half or into quarters if your work surface can't fit your whole dough. I divided mine into fourths. If working with ¼ of the dough like me, it should be about 9 inches long and 4 inches wide after rolling it out.
Brush the entire surface of the dough with some melted butter.
Fold the dough in half like the picture below so you're left with a long, narrow rectangle, and the melted butter is sandwiched within the dough.
Gently press the dough down to seal slightly (so it doesn't come undone in the next rise and while baking). Don't press down too hard though. You should still have a visible seam and some separation between the layers.
If working with ¼ of the dough, cut your rectangle into 6 even portions.
If you want a nicer finish to your rolls, you could cut the ends off the rectangle before cutting it up into individual rolls. I usually just leave them, and if any pieces end up odd looking, I just eat the evidence.
Repeat this process with the remaining dough.
A third way to shape Parker House rolls is forming the dough into knots. To do this, first divide your dough into about 24 equal pieces (more if you want smaller rolls, less if you want larger rolls).
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a rope shape. Then twist the dough, pulling one end of the dough over the other.
Loop one end of the dough through the center of the piece of dough.
This is by far my favorite way to shape yeast rolls, just because it's so quick and simple ... and I'm lazy.
Simply portion the dough into 24 equal pieces and shape into smooth balls.
And done. See why I love this shape so much?
How Long Do Parker House Rolls Last?
Like I mentioned, these rolls taste best warm, on the same day you made them. You can usually get away with reheating them a day after you've made them, but I personally don't suggest you wait any longer or they may get stale.
Can Parker House Rolls Be Frozen?
You can freeze baked Parker House Rolls and they'll keep for up to 2 months. When you want to serve them, you have two options. One is to let them defrost at room temperature and then warm them up in your oven. The other option is to place the frozen rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until defrosted and warmed through.
I personally don't like to freeze an unbaked yeast dough because I've heard that harsh freezer conditions run the risk of killing the yeast. I haven't really built up the courage to try it myself yet.
Can Parker House Rolls Be Made Ahead?
If you wanted some make-ahead Parker House rolls, you could place them in the fridge after you've shaped and placed them in your baking dish, but before you let them rise the second time. If you do make these ahead, it's best to bake them within a day or two of shaping and refrigerating them.
You can also refrigerate your unshaped dough (before you let it rise for an hour) for up to one day. The fridge will slow down the yeast's rise, which means you can wait longer before shaping and baking the rolls.
When you want to bake the shaped dough, take your baking dish out of your fridge and let the dough sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes (or until the dough warms up). Bake normally and enjoy!
If you refrigerated the unshaped dough, I find it easiest to divide the dough while cold and let it sit, covered, at room temperature for about 10 minutes to relax and warm up. You can then shape normally and let them rise again at room temperature or in the fridge.
Parker House Roll Toppings:
As I mentioned, Parker House rolls are typically topped with melted butter after they're baked. I chose to add 2 minced garlic cloves to my butter while it was hot. You can also add some herbs like dried oregano, thyme, or Italian seasoning. You can also top Parker House rolls with sea salt after you brush them with melted butter.
Parker House Rolls Recipe:
Description: These yeast rolls are warm, buttery, and soft, and they pair well with almost any meal!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2h 20m
Yield: 24 rolls
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
1 large egg
1 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
¼ cup warm water (about 110°F)
¼ cup (½ stick) melted butter, cooled, plus more for brushing
1. Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Let sit until foamy on top (5 to 10 minutes).
2. Add milk and egg. Whisk together the wet ingredients to incorporate a bit.
3. Add 2 cups of flour and salt. Mix until a wet dough starts to form. Knead for one to two minutes.
4. Add remaining cup of flour. Knead your dough until smooth and elastic. This will take about 5 minutes if you're using a stand mixer on medium speed, or 10 minutes by hand. Your dough should stop sticking to the sides of your bowl. If it's not, add flour in 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is no longer sticky but still soft.
5. Cover and leave your dough in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
6. Punch your dough down to release any air. Divide your dough if you don't have enough room on your work surface to roll out your entire dough at once. Working with a portion of the dough, roll it into a long rectangle (about 9 inches by 4 inches). Brush the top of the dough with melted butter. Fold your dough in half so you sandwich the butter. Gently press the dough down to seal slightly, but leave the folded shape. Cut your rectangle into 6 even portions. Repeat with the remaining dough.
7. Arrange the shaped rolls on two 9x13 inch baking dishes, leaving a bit of room in between each roll for them to rise and bake. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F.
8. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and brush with some more melted butter.
Enjoy! These rolls are best served warm.