Classic Dinner Rolls


Once I started to make no-knead bread and cream biscuits, I decided to get more adventurous in my bread making.   I felt that with a little patience,  yeast might actually become my friend after being disagreeable for so many years.   If you’ve read any of my other posts, you probably know that I have four little boys who are the pickiest eaters in the world.  That said, they will all eat almost any type of bread as long as it doesn’t have any funny colors in it (herbs, spices, etc.)    They love rolls when we go out to restaurants.  Actually, the rolls are probably their favorite part of the meal.

Last week I searched for a recipe for Parker House Rolls (named after the Parker House Hotel in Boston).    My grandmother was from Boston and she always served them at big holiday dinners.   They are dinner rolls that are ever so slightly sweet and incredibly buttery.  I have very fond memories of them.    I didn’t find a Parker House roll recipe that I liked, but I did find this dinner roll recipe in Fine Cooking.  They’re very close to the Parker House Rolls that I remember from my childhood.   Fine Cooking is one of my favorite cooking magazines.   The instructions are incredibly clear and all of the recipes that I have tried have worked out perfectly, and I’ve been adventurous, making Fine Cooking recipes for the first time at dinner parties.   No disasters yet and these rolls are no exception.

I found these rolls to be very easy to make as long as you’re organized.     If you read the whole recipe (something I often neglect to do), and take into account the amount of time the dough needs to rise and bake, you can have warm, delicious dinner rolls on the table with relatively little effort.

Classic Dinner Rolls

18 oz. (4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) rapid-rise yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Put the bowl in the mixer stand and fit it with the dough hook.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter, stirring until the butter melts and the liquid is very warm, between 115° and 125°F.

Dump the warm milk-butter mixture and the egg yolks into the flour and mix on medium-low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 8 min.

(If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make a well with the dry ingredients, gradually add the wet, and then knead the dough by hand until smooth and shiny.)

Remove the dough from the bowl, shape it into a neat ball, and then return it to the bowl. Lightly grease the sides of the bowl and cover the top securely with plastic. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 min.

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Turn the dough onto a clean work surface (no need to flour; the dough is soft but not sticky) and gently press to deflate. Using a pastry scraper, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, each about 2 oz. (use a scale to be sure).

Put a piece of dough in your palm (again, no flour). With the edge of your other palm (curved slightly), press gently but firmly on the dough, rotating it repeatedly until it forms a smooth-skinned ball with a sealed bottom. Put the ball in the pan, sealed side down, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Cover the pan with plastic and let the dough rise until almost doubled, about 30 min. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic and bake the rolls until they’re puffed and browned, about 20 min. Serve warm.

Yield:  16 rolls

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