Make Ahead

My Grandmother's Parker House Rolls

December 11, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Makes a few dozen
Author Notes

My Grandmother's box of recipes is a virtual treasure trove. I never have to look far for inspiration. I'm really hoping to post a photo, but with Christmas approaching, I've been a little kitchen slack lately and trying to catch up with everything. I do want to share her recipe though, because I remember these rolls as one of my all time favorites. Don't you just love Grandmothers? Bless her heart for her patience while trying her best to teach me about yeast during my "I've got better things to do" phase of life. It's at this time of year that I'm reminded of how much I miss her. Her kitchen wisdom was something else, entirely. The origins of her recipe, I'm not really sure, but here's what I do know, she was an adventurous cook and for the most part, self taught, so I'm heavily leaning towards her tinkering around with it until it worked. I often think on how her kitchen table was never once lacking for company or warmth. I like to think that I'm on the right path there. Update: I made them and they were as good as I remembered!! They had a crusty exterior and a melt in your mouth, buttery taste. Pictures are posted! - TiggyBee —TiggyBee

Test Kitchen Notes

Although I love everything about fresh rolls, warm from the oven, I have only made bread a few times. However, I was determined to make TiggyBee’s lovely rolls. Not only did they look incredibly delicious in her photos, but also I really loved the story behind them and could not pass up the opportunity to learn how. I am so happy I did. Due to my own inexperience, I did have a few hiccups. For example, I didn’t know how thin or thick the rolled dough should be before cutting the rounds. It seems to me however that bread making is an experiential art, the more you do it, the better you get. I will be doing this a lot more as we enter a new year, because this recipe makes rolls that have a buttery, crunchy-crust, and a fluffy-soft, melt-in-your mouth interior. Thanks to TiggyBee, I am looking forward to my next bread. —gingerroot

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Packages dry active yeast
  • 5 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Lukewarm water
  • melted butter for brushing
  1. In a saucepan, heat the milk until it's scalded but not boiling and remove from heat. Add the butter, sugar and salt. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool.
  2. Add the yeast to the lukewarm water and dissolve. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until a froth forms.
  3. Take 3 of the 5 cups of flour in a large bowl and blend the cooled milk mixture into it. Add the beaten eggs and yeast and combine thoroughly. At this point, it should look like a thick batter.
  4. Take the remaining 2 cups of flour and blend it in a little at a time to form the dough. It should not be sticky, but should form a soft dough that comes clean from your hands.
  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 - 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and stretchy. Put the dough in a greased bowl and turn it, allowing the top to become greased too. Cover the dough with a dish towel and allow it to double in volume. (About 1.5 hours.)
  6. Punch the dough down, allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll into a circle. Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter or similar tool, cut circles from the dough to form the rolls. Lightly score each of the circles just off the center, but take care not to cut through. Brush the circles with melted butter and take the most narrow part of the circles and fold it over so that the edges meet and pinch them together. Brush with more melted butter for extra golden tops.
  8. On a lightly greased baking sheet, place the circles an inch apart, cover them lightly and allow them to rise again, for about an hour.
  9. After the circles have doubled in size, bake them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shanaralane
  • gingerroot
  • lapadia
  • Sagegreen
  • Terila

24 Reviews

NinaKayParker December 27, 2011
I'm glad that u put this recipe on here. I absolutely love these rolls, growing up my
grandma (Ortense Parker) made these all the time. She was very popular in Blackfoot Idaho for her cooking & sewing skills. I always thought that someone just took her name & put it on her famous rolls. but i'm sure that she just added her own special ingredients & lots of love.:) I just found this website & am very excited about it. I will have 2 put some of her famous candy & other goodies recipes on here. She was a fabulous cook, I still workin on it in hopes that I can be as good as her someday!
Shanaralane December 25, 2010
Update on the yeast problem: They turned out just fine, as fluffy as could be. There also was no indication as to how thick the dough should be rolled out but the pics were helpful. The rolls were scrumptious. When the rolls were being baked off, I rolled out the scrap dough (about 1/4 inch) left over after cutting out the circles for the rolls, into a rectangle, covered the rectangle in the leftover melted butter and then spread sugar and cinnamon (as much as I wanted) over the top and studded the whole thing with raisins. Then I rolled it up lengthwise and sliced it into 3/4 inch pieces. Viola!!! cinnamon rolls!!!!! I put the rounds (mine made 10) into a baking dish and put them in the fridge overnight. This morning I popped them into a 400 degree oven and baked for 15 minutes, the same as the rolls. While they baked I mixed up a bit of cream cheese and milk and warmed it in the microwave and then added powdered sugar until I had a thick glaze to drizzle over the hot cinnamon rolls. We Just finished eating them and they were as good as cinnamon rolls can get. This is now my favorite combo recipe idea!!! Thank you for sharing such a nice recipe.
TiggyBee December 25, 2010
I'm so appreciative that you enjoyed them!! Sorry for the late reply, but I'm away for Christmas and just logged in! I tried my best to correct the recipe regarding the yeast to the best of my recollection and it looks like you figured it out for me and everyone else. Thank you so much!
Shanaralane December 24, 2010
I took the recipe a bit too literally and got through step five ( letting the dough rest in a greased bowl) when I saw the lovely little bowl of bloomed yeast on the counter waiting to be added when the recipe called for it, which it never did. I threw it into the Kitchen Aid along with my dough and re-kneaded it until it looked right again. Hopefully it will come out O.K. Just thought you should know so the recipe can be clarified. I'm looking forward to the results.
gingerroot December 15, 2010
I am a total bread girl and these look so good. I am sure I would not be happy with just one! I feel the same way about my Grandmother's recipe box, and whenever I look through it I am thankful to have had such a wonderful role model and inspiration in the kitchen. What a lovely way to honor your Grandmother. I can't wait to try these!
TiggyBee December 15, 2010
thanks gingerroot!! How sweet to hear that you have a similar relationship to your box of recipes, too! If you do try them, I hope they work out for you, I've been a little sponge lately trying to absorb all this great bread knowledge that's floating around but made these before I learned enough!!
lapadia December 14, 2010
Great recipe and story, TiggyBee!
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
Thank you!
Sagegreen December 13, 2010
Parkerhouse has such a great history. These are great classics. Who knew rolls would be such a challenge though? We are getting there!
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
I'm exhausted!! Thank you for your encouragement, I've got left-over dough in the fridge and it's calling to me, even though it's now tripled in size.
adamnsvetcooking December 13, 2010
These look great, and easy to make :)
Terila December 11, 2010
The name came from the Parker House Hotel which is still operating in Boston.
dymnyno December 11, 2010
They look and ready for butter!! (Where did the name Parkerhouse rolls come from?}
TiggyBee December 12, 2010
Thanks!! The name is indeed, from the Hotel, but I'm not sure of the standard. Maybe I should change the name! Huge fan of your recipes, by the way!!
dymnyno December 12, 2010
I think that you should change the name to reflect that it is your recipe.
TiggyBee December 12, 2010
I really appreciate the suggestion. It's done!! :)
mrslarkin December 11, 2010
TiggyBee December 12, 2010
Thanks MrsL!! They turned out great! I actually have left over dough and today I'm going to experiment with it. I'll be sure to post if I come up with a great result!
Sagegreen December 11, 2010
Thanks for posting the photos. I don't have any family stories about dinner rolls, except while at the table, my grandfather's predictable answer to the question, "Would you like a roll?" with "No thanks, I'll just sit right here."
mrslarkin December 11, 2010
Oh, Sagegreen, THAT is hysterical!
dymnyno December 11, 2010
I like it!
TiggyBee December 12, 2010
Sagegreen, funny!
iuzzini December 11, 2010
Irresistible indeed! This contest will be the end of me.:)
TiggyBee December 12, 2010