Friday, November 15, 2019

Thanksgiving: Make 'Parker House' Dinner Rolls and Sandwich Rolls at the Same Time

                                                  Original Parker House Hotel in Boston                   

The recipes for "Parker House" dinner rolls date back to at least the 1870's, when the original recipe was first printed in the April, 1874 edition of the New Hampshire Sentinel. The most popular story of the real origin of these much-admired rolls is that the baker at the Boston Parker House Hotel threw a batch of unfinished rolls into the oven after an altercation with a guest. Somehow, these rolls came out of the oven with a crisp, buttery shell and a light and fluffy texture inside. And, they appeared to have the shape of a folded 'pocketbook'. The rest is baking history.

Research tells us that the original Parker House Hotel opened its doors on October 8, 1855. Guests included Charles Dickens in 1867-1868, along with many other famous people. In addition to the Parker House rolls, the hotel/restaurant also developed the Boston Cream Pie. Here's a link to the history of the Parker House Hotel, which is still in operation on the same site today (rebuilt in 1927).

GETTING BACK TO THANKSGIVING ROLLS, we wanted to make dinner rolls and sandwich rolls (for 'after dinner' sandwiches) from the same batch of dough using a recipe that's close to the original one. Here's our recipe for making a small batch (12 dinner rolls and 5 sandwich rolls), and of course you can easily double this recipe as long as your EZ DOH mixer has the stainless steel dough hook that can easily handle large batches.


3/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 package of dry yeast (NOTE: one package of Red Star contains 1/4 ounce which is 2 and 1/4 TSP
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (4 ounces).
1/4 cup sugar
2 small eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 TSP salt
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour


*Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, cut the butter into small pieces and stir them into the milk along with the sugar and then let it cool down.
*Dissolve yeast into warm water and stir until some foam bubbles appear.
*Place 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour into your EZ DOH container and add in the salt and stir to mix. Add in the milk mixture, the beaten eggs, and the water/yeast mixture and mix until smooth. Then slowly add in the the rest of the flour and slowly turn the crank and work the dough thoroughly for about 5 minutes. You'll develop a smooth dough with good stretch qualities, which helps form the desired texture.

Remove the mixing attachment, cover the container and let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour (or until it doubles in size). If you prefer a more 'hands-on' experience, remove the dough from the container and place on a lightly floured surface and hand knead for a minute. Rinse the container, apply some olive oil to the bottom and sides, and then place your dough ball back in to let it rise (again, covered and in a warm spot).

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and form your rolls. We made 12 dinner rolls that each weighed 1 and 1/4 ounces, and five sandwich rolls that weighed 2 and 1/2 ounces. Place them on a greased cooking sheet, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let them again rise until they double in size. True Parker House rolls get flattened and then folded over (for that pocketbook appearance).
You can flatten them with your hand and use a dull knife to form a slightly off-centered crease, and then fold them over and place the shorter side down before placing on greased sheet and letting them rise.

They should about double in size in less than an hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes when they should be golden brown and the centers should measure 190 degrees. You can remove the smaller ones a few minutes before the larger ones, but we removed all of ours after 20 minutes and they were all brown on the outside and had great texture on the inside. Place them on a cooling rack for a few minutes and they're ready to serve.


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