This recipe for My Grandmother's Parker House Rolls works best if you have a large stand mixer. If you don't, go ahead and make it anyway. Just beat and beat the dough really well as you add the flour. Nobody will ever make these as light and fluffy as my Grandma Matha did, but every year I try! And she made hers beating by hand.
Each batch of rolls that you make will be better than the one before. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before you begin. There are a lot more tips after the recipe instructions.
Oh, and here's what I do with the scraps that are leftover when you have cut out all the rounds: gather some pieces and gently squeeze to form a rough ball. Dip in melted butter and place in a greased pan. Let rise, bake, and brush with more butter when they come out of the oven. In some ways I think I like this version even better than the beautiful, perfectly formed half moons. They have crisp edges and are very buttery. The next day (and the next), heat the rolls in the microwave about 10 seconds per roll on high and they will be as pillowy as they were when they first came out of the oven.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 packages dry yeast
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- more melted butter
Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat to 110°F. Mix 1/3 of the milk with the dry yeast in a small bowl and let sit until bubbly and puffy, about 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining milk, melted butter, salt and sugar and beat until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the beaten eggs and bubbly yeast.
Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating on high speed of stand mixer. This step should take at least 5 minutes. When the dough gets too stiff to beat, stir in rest of flour by hand, if necessary, to make a soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth and satiny.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 1 hour. (I have also covered the dough well and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. This works really well. If you are going to refrigerate the dough, put it in the fridge before it has a chance to rise. It will rise overnight in the refrigerator; just not as high as it would at room temperature. Let the dough stand, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding with recipe.)
Punch down the dough and roll out on floured surface to 1/2" thickness. Cut with 3" round cookie cutter. Brush each roll with melted butter and fold in half to make half circles. Pinch edge lightly to hold, so the rolls don't unfold as they rise. Place in 2 greased 13x9" pans, cover, and let rise again until double, about 45 minutes. (If you refrigerated the dough, this will take longer, about 60-75 minutes.)
Bake rolls at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan immediately and brush with more melted butter. Don't use the same butter you used when forming the rolls - melt some fresh just for this step.
Note: To answer reviewer's questions and comments:
- Do NOT let the dough rise before you refrigerate it, if you choose to make the dough ahead of time. These rolls will NOT rise three times; there's too much sugar and fat in the recipe, which retards yeast growth. Put the dough into the refrigerator BEFORE the first rise.
- I've received several comments about the amount of salt in this recipe. I use 1/4 teaspoon because that's the proportion I like, but you can add up to 1 teaspoon salt without harming the recipe. If you like yeast rolls that are slightly sweet, use less salt.
- f your rolls don't rise, the yeast was dead; that isn't the recipe's fault. Make sure you follow the expiration date on the yeast and don't make the liquid too hot. It should feel just warm to the touch when you add the yeast to the milk mixture.
- Never ever put the rolls into the oven and then turn on the heat. Preheating the oven means you turn on the empty oven and then when it reaches the correct temperature add the food. While the oven is preheating the bottom coils heat to their maximum temperature. That's why the rolls burned on the bottom.
- Don't use high protein or bread flour in this recipe. Regular all purpose bleached flour is the best type of use. I use Robin Hood flour because that's what my grandmother used. And you use enough flour to make a soft dough. The amount of flour you will need depends on many factors, including where the wheat that made the flour was grown. As you get more experience, you'll be able to tell by the feel of the dough when you've added enough flour.