Legend has it that Parker House rolls were created by accident as a disgruntled baker slammed a tray of rolls in the oven. The jolted rolls emerged with their signature folded appearance, and the guests raved about them. It’s that pocket-like fold that creates a crispy golden exterior with a steaming hot and tender interior.
Parker House Rolls
- 4 to 4¼ cups (500 to 531 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
- ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk
- ⅔ cup (160 grams) water
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
- ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1⅓ cups (167 grams) flour, sugar, kosher salt, and yeast at medium-low speed until well combined.
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk, ⅔ cup (160 grams) water, and cubed butter over medium heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium-low speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg; beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2⅔ cups (333 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see Note] but may still stick slightly to sides of bowl.) Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and gently shape into a ball.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 35 to 50 minutes.
- Position oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 light-colored metal baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Punch down dough; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Divide dough in half, covering 1 portion with plastic wrap. On a lightly floured surface, roll uncovered half into an 11-inch square, about ¼ inch thick. Using a 2¾-inch round cutter, cut dough, discarding scraps. Gently stretch each circle into a 3×2-inch oval; place smoothest side of oval facing downward. Brush each oval with melted butter. Using the back of small knife, make a crease crosswise in center of each oval; fold ovals in half along crease, pressing to seal. Place at least 1 inch apart on a prepared pan. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until nearly doubled in size and dough holds an indentation when poked, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Brush tops of rolls with melted butter.
- Bake, one batch at a time, until lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Brush warm rolls with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve warm.
To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.
Folding Classic Parker House Rolls
1. After cutting dough into 2¾-inch rounds, gently stretch each circle into a 3×2-inch oval, placing the smoothest side facing downward.
2. Using the back of a small knife, make a crease crosswise in the center of each oval. Take care not cut through the dough. The indentation will mark where to fold the roll.
3. Before folding, brush the top of each oval with melted butter. Fold each oval in half along the crease, pressing to seal.