Parker House Rolls

A traditional New England recipe for bread rolls, Parker House Rolls may be eaten either hot or cold with creamy butter.

Serve these American rolls at breakfast time with crispy fried bacon and eggs.

4 oz. butter, softened

1 oz. fresh yeast

1 oz. plus

½ teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons lukewarm water

12 fl. oz. milk

12 lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon melted butter

Grease two large baking sheets with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Set aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in 2 teaspoon of the sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the lukewarm water and cream the water and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

In a small saucepan, scald the milk over moderately high heat (bring to just below the boiling point). Reduce the heat to low and add 3 ounces of the remaining butter. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to allow the milk and butter mixture to cool to lukewarm.

Sift the flour, remaining sugar and the salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture, the milk and butter mixture and the egg. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead it for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth.

Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for about 3 minutes. Roll out the dough until it is approximately 4-inch thick. Spread the remaining tablespoon of softened butter over the dough in a thin layer.

With a round 3-inch pastry cutter, cut the dough into circles.

Make a shallow cut in the centre of each circle. Fold each circle in half to make a semi-circle and press the edges together to seal. Transfer the semi-circles to the prepared baking sheets, well spaced out. Using a pastry brush, coat each semicircle with a little of the melted butter. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and Serve traditional Parker House

Rolls from New England, hot or cold, with butter, either as a snack -with a cup of tea or coffee or for breakfast. to cool slightly before serving warm. Alternatively, leave the rolls to cool com-pletely, and serve cold.