Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grandma Kelly's Parkerhouse Rolls

Grandma Kelly's Parkerhouse Rolls

These rolls are a family tradition.  Outsiders don’t necessarily adore them the way my brother and I do.  My Grandma Kelly would make these before we’d visit, freeze them, and then serve them to us  each morning piping hot from the oven.  I kind of think she probably made other breakfast foods to go with the rolls, but I don’t recall eating anything else but these as I sat in her cozy kitchen in the Santa Cruz mountains, watching game shows with Grandpa Kelly as he sat in his EZ chair next to the kitchen table.

These rolls have a nice thin crust on the outside, and are light, moist, and tender on the inside.  Because you butter the dough and fold it over, they're easy to open up to butter the middle again once they're baked.  Yeah, these aren't low fat.  Piping hot with melty butter.  So good.  Mmmm…I could eat half a pan by myself.  They’re also delicious eaten with leftover turkey and gravy.

Grandma Kelly’s Parkerhouse Rolls

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 8 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 stick butter (maybe more)
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, scald the milk (bring just to a boil).  Pour into a very large heat-proof mixing bowl.  Add 1 stick butter.  Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to melt butter and then cool slightly.
In a small bowl, mix the yeast and 1/3 cup warm water.  Sprinkle with a little sugar so that when it activates, you’ll be able to see it’s alive by the bubbling action.
When the milk/butter mixture is just warm (105°-115°F), whisk in mashed potatoes, sugar, salt, and yeast mixture.  Whisk in 4 cups of flour.  Then whisk in beaten eggs.  Switch to a sturdy spoon and stir in the remaining 4 cups of flour.  Stir until well mixed.  Dough will seem more like a thick batter than a bread dough.
Place in a very large greased bowl (I use my Tupperware “That’s a Bowl”), sprinkle with a little flour, cover with plastic wrap and a clean wet dish towel.  Set in a warm place to rise.  Let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.
While dough rises, butter 5 cake pans (I use disposable aluminum) and preheat oven to 400°F.  Soften second stick of butter on a microwavable plate in the microwave.  Flour a sheet pan to hold the cut rolls before they go into the pan.
Once dough is doubled, punch down and then turn out onto a well-floured surface.  Generously sprinkle with more flour.  Flatten to about one-inch thickness.  Cut into circles with a 2” biscuit cutter. Set circles aside on the floured sheet pan.
Gently knead scraps and cut more circles until you can cut no more.
Take one circle at a time and dip half of one side in the softened butter.  Fold circle in half and press deeply along the rounded edge with your fingertips.  Place shaped rolls into pan around the outside first, and then make an inner circle.  Fill each pan up.
Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled. 
Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, or get one out quickly and put some butter in the middle and enjoy. 
Serve hot or allow to cool completely, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and freeze.  Reheat by placing in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes.  That’s how I would enjoy them for breakfast at Grandma’s house.
Makes 5 pans of rolls.
Buttered and ready to be enjoyed.

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