I made that!

A dinner roll to be thankful for.

Posted in I Like Salt Too, Playing With Yeast by brandi on November 29, 2010

Oh Thanksgiving. What a fantastic day. A day fully devoted to food. And in my world, slippers and board games. I’ll admit that there were some culinary blah moments: leaky pie crust, not quite right brussels sprouts, a realization that even spending a lot of money on a locally raised heritage bird does not make turkey taste better than the side dishes. But there were some super happy moments: playing the train game, cauliflower caramelized in browned butter with pears and hazelnuts, and most important – Parker House dinner rolls. Yes, just like July 4th.

It was one of those serendipitous moments a month ago, when I was debating about what to serve with Thanksgiving dinner – my usual biscuits, a loaf of brioche, a nice crusty bread. My Saveur magazine came in the mail and I landed on the article where Tom Colicchio shares his recipe for Parker House rolls. I was immediately sold. I grew up on delicious rolls, or at least I think I did. No one actually made them from scratch in my family, so I’m not sure where I got the flavor memory of a delicate, buttery, yeasty roll. But it’s in there and that recipe was tickling that memory. And, my people, they were GOOD. So good in fact, that I made them again the day after Thanksgiving, to make sure I wasn’t blinded by Thanksgiving buffet hysteria.

First I made the dough. I let it rise in the warmest corner of my house and then shaped it into little balls.

I brushed the little balls with clarified butter and let them rise some more, until puffed and filling the pan.

I brushed them with even more butter and baked them until golden. While still hot I brushed them with…even MORE butter and sprinkled them with sea salt.

And then me and John started eating them, one by one. I think these little guys will find a happy home on my Christmas dinner menu…

PARKER HOUSE ROLLS RECIPE (Tom Colicchio, printed in Saveur magazine):

3/4 cup milk, heated to 115°

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp barley malt syrup (I was out and used brown rice syrup)

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1¼ oz unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup clarified butter

Fleur de sel, to garnish

– Stir together the milk, yeast, and malt syrup in a large bowl and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to the milk mixture along with the softened butter and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 5–6 minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl that has been lightly greased with clarified butter and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. Uncover and punch down dough. Cover and let sit until puffed, about 45 minutes.

– Heat oven to 350°. Portion dough into sixteen 1 1/2″-diameter balls, about 1.1 oz each, and transfer to a greased 8″ cast-iron skillet or 8″ x 8″ baking pan, nestling them side by side; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Brush with clarified butter and bake until puffed and pale golden brown, 20–22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and brush with more clarified butter; sprinkle each roll with a small pinch of fleur de sel and serve warm.

NOTE: They definitely want to be eaten within the first few hours of being baked, straight from the oven if you can manage.


16 Responses

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  1. Leigh said, on November 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Hi. Can I substitute sugar for barley malt syrup?


    • brandi said, on November 30, 2010 at 9:30 am

      give it a try and let me know how it goes!

      • Kelsey said, on December 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

        I substituted in sugar when I made these on Christmas Eve. I used about 2 teaspoons and the rolls turned out great. I also just brushed them with regular melted butter and they still browned nicely. Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. E said, on November 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

    dang, i needed this on thursday! my parker house rolls were a fail.
    thank you for the pastry studio, i needed a new pastry blog to follow!

  3. Kasey said, on November 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I’m sad to say that after staring at this recipe in Saveur for weeks, I didn’t make it for Thanksgiving 😦 But, looking at your pictures makes me regret it and commit to making these in the future 🙂

  4. Kristie V. said, on November 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Too funny! My hubby just finished telling me about that article he read in Saveur at the doctor’s office about Parker House rolls.And our chef son-in-law just served them for Thanksgiving dinner. And now your post…a weird confluence! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Needles&Bread said, on November 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

    They looked delicious in Saveur and they look just as delicious here… I love the dusting of sea salt….. oh how I need to bravely throw myself into bread making!

  6. Dave Bryant said, on December 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Growing up, my aunt, who has since passed away, always had the family over for Thanksgiving. She was a superier cook and always made “MONKEY BREAD”. From an old reciipe she got from the actress Zazu Pitts. The “MONKEY BREAD” that you can buy now in the stores is nowhere near the same thing. Her’s was a yeast-potato bread recipe almost equivilent to Parker House Rolls, (the closest to them I could find). Where can I find Parker House Rolls or the equivilent in regular grocery stores? PLEASE HELP ME! I am a handicapped bachelor and don’t cook. EXCEPT MICROWAVE!!! David Bryant 12/2/10

  7. Dana said, on December 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Great looking rolls! I really like the idea of brushing them with clarified butter, the color they come out with is amazing!

  8. biz319 said, on December 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Those look amazing – my Mom used to get Rhodes brand rolls – they were frozen and when you thawed them they turned out just like those – but I believe she passed them off as homemade now that I think of it!

    cauliflower caramelized in browned butter with pears and hazelnuts – I need that recipe please! 😀

  9. Sam said, on December 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Beautiful looking rolls. How long do they stay yummy for i.e. how long in advance can you make them for X-Mas? 🙂

  10. Karen said, on December 20, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I see you raised the oven temp to 350. It was 325 in Saveur and a lot of commenters complained on the Saveur site that it was too low. You found that 350 worked? And the amount of yeast and everything worked?

  11. LimeCake said, on December 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    These look like the most perfect buns. They’re darling! Happy holidays!

  12. Kate said, on January 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Ooooh! I make Parker House Rolls every Christmas. My recipe calls for sugar, and they taste lovely. Also, my recipe says to roll out the dough and cut into rounds. You then pull the rounds into ovals and dip one half in melted butter. Then you fold the ovals in half and place butter-side down on your baking sheet. Then let rise and bake. Probably this is a step that my great great grandmother added….

  13. whathappensafter5 said, on January 26, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Yum – looks delicious!!


  14. […] Note: I’m pretty sure that the printed version is incorrect (read the comments or, worse, try it yourself; the main flaws are too cool an oven and too short a proof, although I’m not convinced about his precise quantities, either), so I’ve reprinted their version, crossing out the original wherever I’ve made changes, with my reasoning (in parentheses); another home cook’s take may be found here. […]

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