What food is sacred to your family? Everyone has a food or two that stands, unchanged, for all of time. Food trends come and go, yet usually there is one recipe that is so revered it has to be served, no matter what.
In a recent blog post on the Kansas City Star’s Chow Town Blog, I shared my story about capturing holiday menus, used “to-do” lists and must-serve recipes in an old 3-ring binder. It is not only my top organization tool for the holidays, it has become a priceless family journal, packed with memories of each holiday gathering. I hope you start a holiday notebook soon and I bet you, too, will soon treasure your notebook.
Homemade, buttery-soft Parker House rolls is a critical, must-serve recipe for the holidays for my family. Crusty artisan breads reign supreme in the food world, and ask me any time of year, other than during the holidays, and I will always choose a crusty, whole-grain loaf. However, for holidays, traditions run deep, and for us, these rolls are essential.
Mom made them for every holiday—so much so, we call them “Grammy Rolls.” Yes, I had made them with her, and thankfully, had the recipe, but I didn’t “have” to make them. Suddenly the holiday dinners were at my house and these rolls were absolutely necessary. I was so thankful I had the recipe written down—for many of her recipes were lost with her—but I had this one and could duplicate her incredible rolls. I finally was able to adapt the recipe to a heavy-duty mixer—which made them so much easier to make-but the flavor is still old-fashioned. They are soft, buttery and packed with love. Enjoy!
Old Fashioned Parker House Rolls (a.k.a. Grammy Rolls)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110°F)
1 cup milk, scalded* (See tip below)
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
3-1/2 to 3-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in water; set aside until yeast bubbles, about 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl for a heavy-duty stand mixer, stir together hot, scalded milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Stir to blend, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Add yeast-water mixture. Add egg and 1-1/2 cups flour. Beat with regular, paddle-style beater at high speed for 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup flour and beat, at high speed, for 1 minute.
Change beater to dough hook. Add remaining 1-1/2 cups flour and mix at medium-high. Once flour is blended into the dough, continue kneading with dough hook at medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Midway through kneading, if dough appears to be quite sticky, beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
Turn dough into a lightly greased bowl. Lightly grease the top of the dough and cover with a clean cloth. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease large baking sheets.
Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured board. Roll until about 1/2-inch thick. Using a large, round cookie or biscuit cutter, about 3 inches in diameter, cut dough into rounds. Brush top of each cut round with melted butter and fold in half. (Folding over a table knife helps to make the crease sharp.) Place rolls, about 1/2-inch apart, in prepared pan. (Do not crowd, as rolls will rise, but once they rise, rolls should lightly touch and this helps to keep them soft.) Allow rolls to rise until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake about 12 to 14 minutes, or just until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush warm rolls lightly with melted butter. Serve warm.
Makes about 25 to 30 rolls.
* To scald milk, pour milk into a microwave safe cup; microwave on high until milk is very hot and steaming, but does not boil. Begin by microwaving on High (100%) power for 1 minute, then continue microwaving in 30-second intervals until steaming. When you blow lightly on scalded milk, you will see a slight “film” or surface skin.