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Dec 28, 2009 09:25 AM

First Attempt at Parker House Rolls

I tried the recipe in the recent Good Housekeeping - it had good illustrations. You had to beat the dough with a wooden spoon and it wore me out. I was very careful to test temps like instructed. Followed instructions re extra rising.

But, it only made 18 rolls instead of 24. They tasted ok but a bit dry. Anyone know what I did wrong?

Anyone have another recipe that would perhaps use my dough hook on my mixer to make it easier for me?

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  1. I haven't tried that recipe, but King Arthur Flour has a very good one.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

      Modified from the CI recipe. The original calls for whole milk and 4 to 41/4 cups of flour. This makes a softer dough. I used 1% milk, 3 cups of all-purpose flour and a half cup of cake flour because Canadian AP flour is higher in protein.
      1 1/4 cups milk
      2 tablespoons sugar
      1 envelope instant yeast
      1 large egg , lightly beaten
      3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
      1 1/2 teaspoons salt
      14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), 8 tablespoons cut into 8 pieces and softened
      1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once oven reaches 200 degrees, maintain oven temperature for 10 minutes, then turn off heat.
      2. Heat milk and sugar together in small saucepan or in microwave until mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). Whisk in yeast and egg and set aside. Combine 4 cups of flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle and mix at lowest speed to blend, about 15 seconds. With mixer running at low speed, add liquid mixture in steady stream; mix until flour is moistened, about 1 minute. With mixer still running, slowly begin to add 8 tablespoons softened butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated into dough. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is thoroughly combined and scrappy, about 2 minutes longer.
      3. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at medium speed until smooth but still sticky, about 6 minutes, adding more flour in 1-tablespoon increments, if necessary for dough to clear sides of bowl. Scrape dough out of mixing bowl and onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand until very smooth and soft, but no longer sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to very lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warmed oven until dough doubles in bulk, about 45 minutes.
      4. Once dough has doubled, press down, replace plastic wrap, and allow dough to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter and, with a pastry brush, liberally butter bottom and sides of large rimmed baking sheet with 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Separate dough into 24 balls, flatten into an oval, brush with melted butter then fold in half over a wooden spoon handle.and place on prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush tops of rolls with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Set rolls in warm place and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
      5. When rolls are almost fully risen, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls until tops are dark golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

      1. re: sharonanne

        Thank you for this; I'll give it a try soon when I'll be hanging out around the house.

        1. re: walker

          You're welcome, these were amazing and didn't even need butter.

    2. Not so sure what that recipe was but you could use a stand mixer to beat the dough or you could get one of those one looped wire dough whips that are available at The Bakers' Catalogue or Sur la Table stores and other places I'm sure. And always remember any recipe can be made in a bread machine on the "Dough" cycle or mixed in a standing mixer, with a hand mixer, or by hand regardless of what the instructions specify.

      Also not sure why Parker House rolls would be dry. Are you folding the disks of dough in half with butter in the middle? If you made them bigger they took longer to bake but only minutes so that shouldn't cause drying. But you may have baked them too long in any case. Remember *everything* in bread baking is relative and it's *always* the dough you have to operate by and not the clock or recipe instructions.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rainey

        I just followed the recipe in Good Housekeeping -- it had some nice illustrations so I gave it a try. The recipe said to make 3 balls and fit them into a muffin space. They were edible but not terrific.
        My aunt (no longer with us) lived on a farm in Mississippi her whole life, same house since she ran away to get married when she was 16. She was such a good cook and sometimes made yeast rolls. Too bad I didn't learn how when I had the chance; was not interested at the time.
        Guess I just need to practice until I get it right!

        1. re: walker

          Ah! But those are Cloverleaf rolls not Parker House. Still should have worked.

          Yes, what a shame to miss out on that expertise but you'll come up to speed with practice. Don't give up! And don't even assume it's all you -- even published recipes are not tested as thoroughly as they should be before they're released. They also rarely make clear how important slow rising -- even overnight in a fridge -- is for developing flavor. But when you do that, make sure you have it well contained to retain that moisture and a supple skin on the dough.

      2. I find that baking in winter (we live in a drafty old farmhouse) needs lots of asterisks. Nothing's as simple as it is in the other seasons.
        Sometimes the dough rises too fast, othertimes it's too slow.
        The 'lost' rolls might be the result of a too slow first rise so that there wasn't enough dough to make those lost six.