So, this recipe came out of the November 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine and I did this recipe and loved it SO MUCH that I still have the magazine to this day. This recipe is credit to Alex Guarnaschelli who was the host of Alex’s Day Off TV show and they were called ‘Parker House Rolls’. I guarantee you that if you have a big family get together, you’ll want to make this recipe twice. I doubled mine, but I did TWO different sessions of bread making. I did not double the ingredients into one bowl but instead made it two separate times. You’re supposed to get 24 rolls out of the lot… but that depends on how you cut them which you’ll see when we get to that part.
Tools you need:
- Large bowl for your dough to sit and rise in
- Large bowl to mix your dough in
- Small bowl to bloom your yeast in
- Mixer with a bread hook (I’m old fashioned and I just use my hands!)
- Measuring Cups
- Big heavy spoon for mixing the bread until you knead the bread
- Bellemain Heavy Duty Aluminum Half Sheet Pan, 18″ x 13″ x 1″
- Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper (Smart Grid, Non-Stick, 50 Square Foot Roll, 3 Count)
- Saran Premium Plastic Wrap, 100 Sq Ft if you’re making these ahead of time
- OXO Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush – Small
1 Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast,0.25 Ounce, 3 Count (Pack of 2)
1/2 C sugar
7 1/2 – 8 C all purpose flour
12 tbsp (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I always use salted!)
2 C whole milk room temperature
2 large eggs room temperature
1 tbsp Morton Coarse Kosher Salt 35 oz. by Morton Salt
So first, we’re going to bloom the yeast. This means we’re going to activate it and get it to ferment the sugar and the flour, which makes that delicious yeasty smell we all love in bread as well as make the bread rise and have a soft, non chewy texture.
In your small bowl, sprinkle the yeast packet into the bowl and add 1/2 cup warm water. This should be the temperature of a nice warm bath. I always make mine nice and warm without being HOT because as soon as the water goes into my cold glass or stainless steel bowl, the temperature drops and it cools pretty quickly. Hot water will actually kill the yeast so remember, WARM is the key word.
Set aside while you prepare your dough mixture.
Mix the melted butter and the milk together in a large bowl. The reason the milk needs to be room temperature or even slightly warm is because, as soon as you put this butter in, it’s going to harden back up and be seriously clumpy and we want them to just come together nice and flawlessly.
Add your 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing each well until incorporated. We’re then going to take our blooming yeast flour in the small bowl and add it to our milk mixture, stirring it in until its well mixed and we have a thick soupy mixture which may be slightly lumpy. I had one batch come out somewhat lumpy and one come out smooth, but it made no difference in how well the bread rose, so don’t be too worried about it.
Now, I add my 6 1/2 cups of flour, but since I don’t have a fancy mixing machine with a bread hook and I’m doing this by hand, I mix it in, 2 cups at a time, using my heavy spoon to stir it.
By the time I drop in the last 2 1/2 cups of flour and stir it somewhat, I give up the ghost, put my spoon aside, use my WASHED hands, and begin to knead the dough by hand. This is, after all, the ultimate fun part of making bread! I just fold it, and knead, fold it and knead until it’s all well mixed. If the mixture is too sticky, add a little more flour. I just sprinkled it on, a tablespoon or two at a time, because I can add more easier than I can take it away if it’s too dry.
With our empty large bowl (you should have 2 large bowls for this), we’re going to butter the empty bowl. (I used olive oil cooking spray). We then transfer our nice smooth dough into the greased bowl and we’re going to cover it with a towel and set it aside for 2 to 2.5 hours so it can rise, doubling its side. I use this time to wash my dishes and I even ran an errand or two since I had the time!
Welcome back from your two hour stint of errand running, dish washing or, if you were lucky, napping! Let’s check in on our ‘baby’.
Seems it’s sleeping peacefully, growing into a delicious mountain of fluffy dough beneath the towel.
Yep! There she is! Twice her size and ready to grow up and become some tasty dinner rolls!
If you are ready to cook these rolls right now, you need to preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you’re not going to cook them but are making them ahead of time, just don’t turn the oven on!
We’re going to flour our kneading surface, dusting it, not dumping out two cups of flour to mix into the bread. Just enough ‘snow’ to keep it from sticking. I knead my bread on my bar top since it’s butcher block, but feel free to knead it on a counter top. I always, always wash the counter first, using a disinfectant wipe first, then a clean wash rag and water to wipe it off after the disinfectant wipe, then I dry it with a clean towel. We are preparing food on it after all.
Once your kneading surface is floured and you take a peek at that big ball of fluffy dough that should be peeking up out of the bowl, we’re going to simply dump the dough onto our floured surface and we’re going to use our fingers to press it into a rectangle that is 16 x 8 and about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
This part here determines how many rolls you get essentially. I don’t EVER measure my rectangle, I just eyeball the thickness of it, because that is what really determines if the rectangle is big enough or not, you know. If you have a big ole fat pile of dough that is four inches thick, then clearly you didn’t make your rectangle big enough. Don’t use a rolling pin because we don’t want to completely squash out all the nice fluffiness of this dough.
Once you have your rectangle formed, get a knife (I used my big ole butchers knife), and you’re going to cut one time down the middle, lengthwise. Don’t saw with your knife, but instead, press with the blade so you don’t stretch the dough. Now you’ll have two strips of long dough.
Next, we’re going to cut 11 times width wise, which means we’ll have 24 total strips, 12 on one side, 12 on the other. Now um… so I’m not necessarily a perfectionist when it comes to cutting the strips so I actually cut like 9 on each side instead of 12, so i had huge fat rolls. That was because I didn’t do some pre marks on this first rectangle. On the second dough I did, I cut long wise down the middle, then I marked where I’d cut by just lightly pressing my knife in the dough so I’d come out with 24 strips total, but, of course, I want to show you my ‘mistakes’. But really, it’s not a mistake! It just made a nice big fluffy roll that would feed two people instead of one, unless you’re like me and you can eat what two people can!
We’re going to take each strip, and fold the dough unevenly in half. So the first little side, I took in 1/3 of the way to the middle, and the other side, I took the rest of the 2/3 way. Now we’re going to place our rolls in three lines of 8, that is, if you cut the 24 strips like you were supposed to and I didn’t, on our parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I will admit, I uh..cut a piece of parchment from the roll, put it on the cookie sheet and while I was in the middle of rolling a strip, the parchment rolled back up, shot off the cookie sheet and did a nosedive to the floor! See!
This is the behind the scenes things you DON’T see on cooking shows. I also failed to mention I had a flour explosion which landed in my shoe while I was kneading the first batch of dough! So.. back to the rolls! We have three lines, placing the rolls, seam down, right next to each other, on the cookie sheet, leaving an inch gap between the three separate rows.
If you’re going to go ahead and bake these, put them in the over at 375 for 18-20 minutes. If you’re going to save them for a later date, wrap them, air tight, with saran wrap, on the cookie sheet and just freeze them. If you freeze these and want to bake them, you take them out of the freezer and bake for 25 minutes at 325 and then 10 minutes at 375, per the directions in the magazine. What I like to do is take them out of the freezer the night before and put the sheet in the fridge so they can defrost. Then, say half an hour to an hour before I want to cook them, I’ll take them out of the fridge and remove the plastic wrap and let them sit on the counter to plump up. Basically the longer they sit and the warmer they get to room temperature, the more plump they’ll be. Then I bake them at the regular baking time of 18-20 minutes.
The rolls are done when they are a golden brown and are pulling apart at the seams. Take the hot rolls out of the oven, melt a little butter and brush the tops before serving. DELICIOUS!
These, if you’re into the whole bread making thing and spending a day doing it, make an EXCELLENT way of having fresh rolls for a month really. If you keep these in the freezer, and make several batches on disposable cooking sheets (especially if you only have so many good ones lying around), you can say goodbye to heating up the store bought frozen ones, plus these are, by far, cheaper to make from a dollar point of view. I use to make sheets of them to give to my friends who weren’t so baking savvy but loved these rolls, which is also a nice thing to do if you love baking bread! Mind you, I took 8 rolls from my sheet and baked them this evening, since my family was eager to try one tonight, so there’s my 8 little rolls ready for the oven just above and below… the finished, delicious fruit of our labor! Buttery Dinner Rolls!