How to Make Authentic Parker House Rolls
What is the recipe for the Parker House Rolls?
The recipe for a dish that is now more than 150 years old? There are many recipes for Parker House Rolls.
Among the recipes we looked at, most were more concerned with how you shape the rolls than with the specifics of the dough. In fact, most of the cookbooks that include Parker House Rolls use their regular recipe for roll dough or even soft bread dough, and then spend a fair amount of time telling you how to shape the rolls.
There's a certain amount of disagreement there, as well. Among the dozen or so books we checked, you can either roll the dough to a thickness of 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch and cut out rounds with a 2-1/2-inch, 3-inch, or even 4-inch biscuit cutter/can/glass/etc., or you can roll pinches of dough into balls that are 2 inches or so around, and then flatten them.
Now is when things get a little tough. You can place a rolling pin in the center of the small rounds of dough and carefully roll toward each side to create a valley in the center, which will be about 1/8-inch thick, while the sides will be thicker. You have to be pretty good with with a rolling pin or have one of those very thin rolling pins or a dowel to make this work consistently. Or you can press the rounded handle of a knife into the dough to achieve the same results. Either way, keep the rolling pin, dowel, or knife handle dusted with flour as you work.
Afterwards, brush each round to within 1/4-inch of the edges with melted butter, which will allow the baked roll to open as a pocket. Fold over the round of dough so the cut edges just meet. Pinch to seal, and press the folded edge (the hinge) gently. Place the rolls, seam side up, about 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet.
Some books want you to create oval shapes with the dough; some want the "hinge" slightly off center; some want one side of the dough to be thinner or smaller than the other, so that the rolls are lopsided when baked.
We could easily give you a dozen Parker House Rolls recipes – here is one classic.
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