No-Knead Parker House Rolls

Parker House rolls became famous at the Parker House Hotel in Boston.


The Omni Parker House Hotel – old and new

From my Mom’s book, “Breads From Betsy’s Kitchen“: On a trip to Boston, I attended a meeting with my friend June Jacobs who told me this limerick:

A corpulent maiden from Kroll
Had a notion exceedingly droll
At a masquerade ball
Dressed in nothing at all
She backed in as a Parker House roll.

My Mom continues… “I seem to have gotten credit for the limerick since my food friends frequently want me to tell them ‘my’ limerick about the Parker House rolls! When I was in Atlanta, I even received a bouquet of flowers addressed to the ‘Parker House Roll Lady.'”

I served these to some friends at a recent dinner party. They were soft, light, and buttery. Which is how I like my friends.

No-Knead Parker House Rolls

A corpulent maiden from Kroll
Had a notion exceedingly droll
At a masquerade ball
Dressed in nothing at all
She backed in as a Parker House roll.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 32 rolls
Author Mark Oppenneer

Ingredients

  • 2 scant tablespoons (or two ¼-ounce packages) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
  • 2 cups warm milk about 110 degrees
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • cups unbleached flour
  • ½ cup melted butter

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add milk, eggs, butter, sugar and 3 cups flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
  2. Gradually add flour, ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Brush the top of the dough with oil, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the dough, and cover the plastic wrap with a tightly woven towel. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface (Mom's note: yes, I know we've used oil in every recipe, but we need the flour to help keep the fold in middle of the rolls). With a rolling pin, roll dough to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut out with a 2-inch round cutter (Mark's note: I used an empty can of chicken broth scrubbed clean - made a nice circle cutter). Cut as many circles in the sheet of dough as possible. Gather up dough scraps surrounding the circles and knead into a smooth ball. Set the dough ball aside, covered with a towel. 

  4. Stretch the dough slightly into a 2 by 2½-inch oval. Dip one side of each roll into melted butter and fold the roll in half with the butter on the outside and the flour on the inside. Place on well-greased baking sheets about ½-inch apart. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, re-roll the dough scraps and form those into rolls using the technique covered above.

  6. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the rolls reaches 190 degrees.
  8. Immediately remove rolls from pans and cool on a rack.

Recipe Notes

An older version of this recipe in my Mom's notes mentions salt as an ingredient. I don't know how much was called for or why it was removed.

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