Boston Parker House Dinner Rolls

The longest continuously operating hotel in the U.S, the Parker House Hotel has operated on the same spot in Boston since 1855. The hotel was the first in America to use the “European plan,” meaning guests were only charged for the room. Meals were paid for separately. Prior to that, American hotels included meals with the price of the room but they were only available at set times and with limited menus.

Sometime in the 1870s, the now famous Parker House rolls were invented. Legend has it the rolls were discovered when an angry baker threw a batch of unfinished rolls into the oven after an altercation with a hotel guest. When the rolls came out of the oven, they had a folded shape that made them light and fluffy on the inside but with a crispy, buttery shell on the outside.

Parker House Rolls

The kitchen of Boston's Parker House Hotel created two famous baked foods, The iconic Boston Cream Pie and Parker House Rolls. The marvellous dinner rolls are captured in this recipe. The reward for waiting for the dough to proof will be soft, pillowy, butter-laden warm rolls that will be devoured in minutes.
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Course: Bread, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, American Northeast, New England, North American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting batter: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 28 rolls
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with mixing and dough hook attachments
  • Baking pan lined with parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp Butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups Whole milk, warmed
  • 1 packet Instant dry yeast (1.25 tsp)
  • 6 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp Milk, mixed with egg for an egg wash

Instructions

  • Make Starter – Turn on oven lights. In the bowl of a stand mixer with beater attachment, combine milk, 4 tbsp softened butter, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups flour and yeast water to the milk mixture. Beat for 1 minute on low, and then another minute on high. Cover work bowl and leave it the warm oven for 1 hour to let the dough to double in size.
  • Make Dough – Change to a dough hook and then, with mixer on low, add remaining 3 cups flour ¼ cup at a time. Turn to medium-low speed and knead for 10 minutes. Dough should be smooth. Cover work bowl and place in the warm oven again for 1 hour to let dough to double in size.
  • Make Rolls – Roll out dough to ⅓-inch thick. Cut as many round 2½-inch disks with a biscuit or cookie cutter as possible. Melt 4-5 tbsp butter in the in a small bowl. Brush each disk with melted butter, and then fold in half pinching the round edges lightly together.
    Place rolls 1-inch apart on a buttered baking sheet. Let rolls rise another 45 minutes until doubled in size.
  • Bake Rolls – Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) with the rack in the upper third of the oven. Brush rolls with egg wash and bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. They're ready when an instant read thermometer reads 190°F (88°C). Remove from oven and immediately brush again with melted butter. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Rolls can be frozen and reheated in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.

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