PARKER HOUSE ROLLS
One of America's favorite rolls was created at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in the middle 1800s by,
it is said, a baker provoked by the actions of a hostile guest. Maybe the guest was impatient to get a
basket of bread or maybe he didn't like the bread that had been brought to his table. Whatever the reason,
the annoyed baker hurried some unfinished dough into the oven, and what came out were light, puffy rolls
with the famous off-center crease. Serve the rolls nestled in a linen napkin-lined basket, with a pot of
sweet butter alongside, and say a quiet thanks to that angry diner, whoever he may be.
Makes 16 rolls
| (CLICK TO BUY)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooked to room temperature
||The day before you plan to bake the roils, prepare the dough: Stir the yeast into the warm water
in a small bowl. Set it aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.|
||Combine 3 cups of the flour, the sugar, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.|
||Mix the milk and egg together in a medium-size bowl. Add the 1/4 cup butter, and mix.
(Don't worry if the butter is not completely incorporated – it will be further incorporated in the next step.)|
||Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the liquid ingredients and the yeast.
Using your hands, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the liquid to form a sticky dough.|
||Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead, incorporating the remaining 1/2 cup flour,
until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.|
||Generously grease a large bowl with butter. Add the dough and roll it around in the bowl to coat.
Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, and set it aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled
in volume, about 1 hour.|
||Punch down the dough and knead it briefly (2 or 3 times). Butter the bowl again, and turn the dough in it to coat. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.|
||The next day, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide it is in half.
Press each half out to form an 8 x 5 1/2 –inch rectangle (1/2 -inch thick). Cut each rectangle into
4 pieces crosswise and in half lengthwise, so that you have 8 rectangles (16 total). Brush the
dough evenly with the melted butter. Fold each rectangle in half but do not press down on it
(you want the crease).|
||Grease two 9 x 5 x 2 3/4-inch loaf pans. Arrange the rolls, seam side up and facing in the same direction,
in two rows in each pan (8 rolls per pan). Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm
place until the rolls have doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.|
||Preheat the oven to 350°F.|
||Remove the wrap, and bake the rolls in the center of the oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and cool the rolls slightly, in the pans, on a wire rack. Break the rolls
apart, and serve warm.|
Excerpted from U.S.A. COOKBOOK copyright © 1997 Sheila Lukins.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.