Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dinner Rolls

The well crafted dinner roll has the power to elevate its baker to a sort of celebrity status within the community in which it is enjoyed. I have an aunt whose reputation for her rolls is epic. Nearly as epic is the attempt to make a successful recipe that really captures my memories of Aunt Julianne's rolls time after time. I believe that this recipe is fairly close. These rolls, known as Parker House rolls because of their genesis at the Parker House (a hotel) in Boston, are folded over before baking and are quite rich.

2 cups milk (not skim)
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp oil
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
4 cups/1 lb 9 oz flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter, melted

Heat the milk until bubbles begin to form on the perimeter of the sauce pan. Pour the milk over the butter, oil, and honey in a bowl (preferrably with a pouring spout). Once the milk has cooled so that it is no longer hot to the touch, whisk several tablespoons of the milk mixture into the eggs to temper them. I find that it is easier for me to whisk with my dominant hand and pour with my less-dominant hand when tempering eggs. This is a necessary step because it prevents the eggs from curdling. Whisk the tempered eggs into the milk mixture. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. When the milk mixture is no longer hot to the touch (I use a thermometer to ensure that it is between 100 and 110 degrees), pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir for five minutes. Pour the dough into a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to rise for several hours (I like to prepare the dough in the morning so that it is ready for me when I need it). Sprinkle a workspace with 1/4 cup flour and turn the chilled, risen dough out onto it. Scatter 1/4 cup additional flour over the top of the dough and roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a half-sheet baking pan with a rim. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the rolls into rounds. Dab a bit of melted butter in the center of the roll and fold over so that the top of the roll is slightly underlapping. Place four rolls across the baking sheet. When the baking sheet is full brush the remaining rolls with the remaining butter. Allow the rolls to rise for approximately 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Bake the rolls for approximately 18-20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool and serve warm.

© Katherine C. Otterstrom, August 2012

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