Parker rolls have become a holiday staple in our house. Every summer we like to spend time in Bethany Beach, Delaware. It’s one of the closest beaches to DC — only about 3 hours — so you can spend a weekend or a week there. The Delaware beaches if you don’t know — and many people don’t since it’s, you know, Delaware — are great. In the summer the water is warm, the beaches are wide and the waves are manageable. A perfect place for a summer beach visit.
There’s a restaurant in Bethany called Matt’s Fish Camp. Now I have no idea what a fish camp is but this place has great food and is casual enough that my children can’t embarrass themselves too much so if we’re eating out its often here. And when we do, we always order their Parker House rolls. They’re salty, sweet, buttery, bready (is that a word?) perfection.
This inspired me to start making parker house rolls for the holidays. Initially I made them using a mix from Williams Sonoma which were good but expensive and still involved a fair amount of work. It made for tasty parker house rolls but not a timesaver.
Since I’m what some might call “thrifty” and of the belief that most things are better home-made, this year I decided I’d try my hand at making them from scratch. And now that I have? I’m not going back.
Parker House Roll dough itself is easy to make. Yeast in warm water. Milk and butter heated. Add it all to some flour, sugar and salt and mix.
Or it is easy unless your toddler decides to turn the mixer to high, spraying milk and partially mixed dough over himself, me, the floor . . . Definitely not perfect but funny for sure.
Once the dough is mixed comes the fun part — kneading. Any excess stresses, frustrations, anger? Take it out on the dough. My mother was visiting when I made this dough. A lot of pent up feeling went into this dough.
Like so many yeasted doughs the fiddly part is the proof. Has it proofed enough? Not enough? It’s a constant internal debate for me. . .
This dough is proofed, divided into four balls and rested. After that you each ball into a long rectangle, slathered with butter and made into 6 rolls.
Finally the rolls are but into a butter pan and allowed one last proof. After which, of course, they’re slathered in butter. Time consuming, yes. But totally worth it.
After the second proof, more butter, a coarse sea salt topping and it’s all over but the baking.
Warm and spread with, you guessed it, more butter these rolls are amazing. The next day, these parker house rolls are still amazing. Though in our house they rarely last that long.
Parker House roll recipe that lives at that perfect intersection of salty, sweet and buttery. One meal with these and you’ll wonder why you’d every been settling for some boring dinner roll when you could be having these. The only problem? Family and friends will request them again and again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.