A Short Stay at The Parker House

I am sure most of you are experts at making and baking Parker House Rolls, but I saw a recipe from KAB a week before Thanksgiving and thought I would give them a try.

Making the enriched dough is pretty standard, although this recipe calls for 50g of potato flour. Substituted in any yeast bread potato flour increases the moisture content. Along with the egg and milk this results in a smoother enriched dough than you would expect from 55% hydration bread. (100* weight liquid/weight flour.)

Forming the rolls is what makes the Parker House Rolls distinctive. The dough is rolled out, folded and cut into 3” portions. (See METHOD below for exact steps.) Butter painted onto the inside of the rolled dough, plus the additional butter coating the finished product after baking makes these moist, tender and very buttery. Easy to do and delicious.

Parker House Rolls

INGREDIENTS
• 3 cups (361g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
• 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
• 3 tablespoons (39g) sugar
• 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
• ¼ cup (50g) potato flour or 3/4 cup (50g) dried potato flakes
• 3 tablespoons (43g) butter
• 1 cup (227g) milk
• 1 large egg
• 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons (50g to 57g) butter, melted; for brushing on rolls

METHOD

  1. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients (except the 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons (50 to 57g) melted butter at the end), mixing to form a shaggy dough. Note: to speed the rising process, whisk together the milk and egg, and heat gently just enough to remove the refrigerator chill; then add to the remaining ingredients.
  2. Knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (7 to 8 minutes) until it’s smooth.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure (so you can track its rising progress). Allow it to rise for 90 minutes; it’ll become quite puffy, though it probably won’t double in bulk. Note that the dough takes quite awhile to get going; after 1 hour, it may seem like it’s barely expanded at all. But during the last half hour, it rises more quickly.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, roll or pat the dough into an 8″ x 12″ rectangle.
  5. Brush the dough all over with a light coating of the melted butter. You’ll have butter left over; you’ll need it for the other half of the dough, as well as for brushing on top of the baked rolls.
  6. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, to make two 4″ x 12″ rectangles. Working with one rectangle at a time, fold it lengthwise to about ½” of the other edge, so the bottom edge sticks out about ½” beyond the top edge. You’ll now have a rectangle that’s about 2 ¼ ” x 12″. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
  7. Cut each of the rectangles crosswise into four 3″ pieces, making a total of 8 folded rolls, each about 2 ¼” x 3″. Flip the rolls over (so that their smooth non-folded side is facing up), and place them in a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, making 16 rolls in all. You’ll arrange 4 rows of 4 in the pan, with the longer side of the rolls going down the longer side of the pan. Gently flatten the rolls to pretty much cover the bottom of the pan.
  8. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they’re puffy but definitely not doubled. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  9. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re golden brown and feel set.
  10. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. Pull them apart to serve.

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