You will probably dream about wrapping yourself in one of these buttery, pillowy-soft rolls on a cold day. Ok, maybe you don’t dream about food like I do, but I hope you will make these and fill your house with the scent of freshly baked bread and butter taking a snooze in the oven together.
I made these so many times trying to perfect the recipe. I burned the bottom of the rolls EVERY SINGLE TIME. Likely from the quantity of butter and baking the rolls too close to the bottom of the oven and overbaking them…so many variables. I started by tucking a little knob of butter inside each roll because I randomly read somewhere that you were supposed to do that; all that accomplished was melting out, creating a frying pan full of butter in the bottom of the pan armed and ready to burn my rolls. I gave up on this idea eventually and settled for buttering the rolls after they were baked, which is obviously better anyway because the butter stays where it’s supposed to and you actually taste it.
But one day, I finally did it! They were not burnt, but had the most perfect golden-brown, slightly crisp bottom that made me want to cry with joy and pride. (This was also the day I didn’t overcook a prime rib, too.) The folding technique can be a little tricky, so I recommend using these instructions to give you some visuals on how to do it. I accidentally made them with the fold upside-down, but it honestly does not matter one bit. Make them your own! The shape will be perfectly imperfect, but they will be so golden-brown, warm and inviting that no one will notice when you serve them. And make sure you serve with pleeeenty of butter for slathering.
PARKER HOUSE ROLLS
Yield: 16 rolls
3 cups (361 grams) all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons (39 grams) sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) potato flour
3 tablespoons (43 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (227 grams) milk, warmed slightly
1 large egg, at room temperature
5 tablespoons (50 to 57 grams) melted butter, for brushing
Flaky sea salt, for topping
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all of the ingredients except the melted butter and sea salt. Knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes until it’s smooth; it may still stick to the bottom of the bowl but should pull away from the sides. Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough, kneading by hand just until it comes together. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 90 minutes. It may not look like it’s rising much at first, but will pick up speed towards the end. It may not quite be doubled in volume.
Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with melted butter.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide in half and pat one into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough lightly with the melted butter. Divide this rectangle in half lengthwise to have two 4 x 12-inch rectangles. Fold each rectangle on top of itself lengthwise, leaving a 1/2-inch border of with just one layer of dough. Cut each rectangle into 4 equal pieces. Transfer the 8 rolls to the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough half to form another 8 rolls. You should have 4 rows of 4 rolls in the baking dish. Cover the pan and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the dough has puffed.
Preheat the oven to 350° and place a baking rack in the middle of the oven. Brush the dough with remaining melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and set to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Brush with additional melted butter and sprinkle a little more salt on while still warm.
Inspiration: Parker House Rolls, kingarthurflour.com