Beginner’s Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner~ Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls are the namesake of the Parker House hotel in Boston Mass. where they were first prepared in the 1870’s. According to legend, the rolls were the result of an angry chef throwing an unfinished recipe into the oven accidentally creating a carb sensation that diners of the hotel demanded there after. Parker House Rolls are made with milk, generally very buttery, soft, lightly sweet. Pretty much everything you want in a delicious dinner roll!

Because yeast rolls can take some additional time, I like to prepare mine in advance. Either the night before, or if your real ambitious you can make them well in advance and freeze them. If you aren’t sure you are up to the task of fully preparing these yourself a lovely pre-made alternative can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store under the brand name of “Sister Schubert’s” (no financial interest). If you freeze your rolls simply thaw the night before and rewarm in the oven before serving.

Here is what you need to make fresh baked Parker House Rolls

  • 1 3/4c scalded milk
  • 1/4c lukewarm water
  • 2Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1c. butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 c. all purpose flour 

Dissolve yeast into water and set aside. In a large bowl combine 1/2c. butter, sugar and salt. Stir in water/yeast mixture, milk, and egg. Add 3c. of flour and beat together thoroughly. This will look like a thick batter. Cover and let rise until it doubles in size. Stir down the mixture, and add enough flour to make a soft dough.(about another 2 1\2c.) Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 10 minutes. work in more flour as you knead. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl turning once to coat the dough. Cover with a warm damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. knead lightly into a smooth ball, cover with a bowl and let the dough rest for 15min. Meanwhile pre-heat over to 400F. On a large roasting pan (17x 11) melt remaining 1/2c butter and coat the bottom of the pan. Roll dough to a 1/2 in. thickness and cut into circles with a floured 2 3/4in round cutter. dip both sides of dough in the melted butter, fold dough in half, and then arrange in the same pan so that they nearly touch each other in the pan. cover with a towel and allow to rise for another 40minutes. Bake for 15-18min or until golden brown. These are a lot of work but SO worth the effort! Enjoy!

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