I visited my sister several months ago and right before I left to return home she handed me this huge yellow book. It was a cookbook they had received as a gift and apparently rarely used and she figured I would appreciate it more. I glanced at it, but didn’t pay too much attention, who am I to turn down a free cookbook? I thanked her and went on my way.
It turns out that she gifted me The Gourmet Cookbook. I subscribed to Gourmet magazine last fall, just in time to receive it’s last issue before it ceased publication. Talk about bad timing. It was a great issue and I was sad to realize what I’d been missing out on, not subscribing to it earlier. Having a cookbook filled with over one thousand of it’s best recipes from over the years certainly helps me feel a lot better. And I absolutely love this cookbook.
One of my favorite recipes so far is this one for Parker House Rolls. I am such a sucker when it comes to homemade bread, I can’t get enough of it. These rolls are no exception. They are flaky and tender and packed with so much flavor. They’re great with a smear of jam or butter, or even just all by themselves. They are the perfect thing to bake on a cold rainy afternoon, which, believe it or not, happened last weekend. It’s the middle of June and we had to turn the heat on. Now that’s just nuts.
Thankfully I had these delicious rolls to make me forget about my troubles.
Parker House Rolls
From The Gourmet Cookbook
Makes 20 rolls
3 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 1/4-ounce package) active dry yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4—1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Stir together warm water, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and yeast in a small bowl until yeast is dissolve. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the milk and heat until lukewarm. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, bread flour, and salt and mix with a dough hook until combined. Add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and continue to mix. Then, if necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, while mixing until the dough forms a ball.
Continue kneading the dough on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic but still slightly sticky, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Butter a 13×9 inch baking pan. Divide dough into 20 equal pieces and shape into balls. Arrange evenly in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for an additional 30-45 minutes until almost doubled.
Use a floured straight edge (such as a ruler, I used the blunt edge of a knife) to make a deep crease down the center of each row of rolls. Let rolls rise for another 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the tops of the rolls. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool rolls in pan for 10 minutes and brush with more butter, if desired.
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