Parker House Rolls with Sea Salt

Today is a bit of a rough one for me because it is the first anniversary of my Dad's death. I knew it would be hard, and it is. Kevin says that I have to be happy that he isn't here and sick anymore, and I am. But I would sure give anything to bring him back healthy. He was a wonderful man and a terrific supportive father. I know he would be so proud of me for what I am doing. I miss you Dad!!!

Ok, I was not trying to be Debbie Downer with that. The reason I told you is so you would understand the meaning behind this post. I mean I know I had talked over and over about wanting to tackle (and win) bread making. So far I have made pizza dough twice and both times it has been fantastic. But bread? Not so much. Up until this try I was 0 for 3. I mean I have just seriously been getting my butt kicked by a bowl full of dough! It is really quite sad when you think about it. I mean come on Bobbi, you can make pizza dough...sheesh!!
So when I started planning Thanksgiving I knew I was going to give the bread making one more shot. Why you ask? Oh and you aren't the first to ask, Kevin thought I was completely insane for trying it when I was already stressed out from planning a meal for 14 people. The answer? I am completely insane.

But I found this recipe as I was flipping through last month's Food Network Magazine and these little babies damn near jumped off the page at me. I have no idea why, bread doesn't usually affect me that way. George Clooney maybe, but bread? Naaa. But something just made me want to make these rolls. So I scribbled what I needed onto my long list of other ingredients needed for dinner and away I went to the store. 

I had been a good girl and planned out the week so I knew what things I was making on what day. I knew better than to plan on making everything in one day. When the day came for me to make the rolls i wasn't feeling very well. I had a headache that just would not go away. Possibly it was a subconscious thing, but I put off the baking until the last day. Wednesday rolls around and I have a list of about 3 or 4 dishes to put together but I went straight into the kitchen and tackled the rolls first. 

It was one agonizingly long day I can tell you because I had to let it rise in a bowl and then again in the muffin cups. It looked great, but I wouldn't know for hours ARGG!! When Kevin came home and asked me how things were going I told him how stressed out I was about the rolls. All he said was :I still don't know why you made them" Ummm hello insane remember??

OK bottom line, the rolls looked great, smelled great, tasted great, but were very very dense. After talking to a few people that bake I think I figured out that I kneaded the dough too much and made it kind of tough. So the verdict? I think this was a draw. I nailed it on 3 out of the 4 though so I guess I will have to try again. 

My Dad loved, and I say loved I mean lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvved bread. I know he was rooting for me through the whole thing and if I am honest he was a bit of the reason I tried again this Thanksgiving. But in the end I know what he would have said to me..."As a roll they make a good weapon" I love you too Dad!

Parker House Rolls with Sea Salt
as seen in Food Network Magazine

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks softened, 1 stick melted)
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • Flaky sea salt, for topping

Heat 1/2 cup milk until lukewarm (105 degrees F to 110 degrees F). Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, sprinkle in the sugar and yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the softened butter, about half each of the flour and remaining milk, and the fine salt; mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the egg and mix until incorporated, then add the remaining flour and milk; knead on medium-high speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 5 minutes (it will still be sticky).
Lightly brush a large bowl with vegetable oil and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Lightly brush two 12-cup muffin pans with some of the melted butter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Tear off about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball, then put on the prepared baking sheet; repeat with the remaining dough. Dip the dough balls in the remaining melted butter, letting the excess drip off, and arrange 3 balls in each muffin cup to make a clover shape. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator, at least 8 hours or up to 1 day. Cover and refrigerate the remaining melted butter.
Position racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Remove the muffin pans from the refrigerator, uncover and let stand at room temperature, 1 hour. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the rolls are golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Melt the reserved butter, then brush on the hot rolls while still in the pan. Serve or let cool and freeze.
MAKE IT AHEAD Let the rolls cool completely, then freeze in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 week. To reheat, arrange on a baking sheet, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F until warmed through, 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter.


  1. It's hard missing a loved one but I'm sure your dad would be very proud of you for keeping on trying. Good for you.

    I doubt if over-kneading was the problem with your rolls. Kneading develops the gluten within the dough, which acts like rubber bands that are all stretchy and allow it to rise.

    A couple of hints that may help with your next batch of rolls: Double the amount of yeast called for in the recipe (I usually use 1-1/2 Tablespoons, which equals 4-1/2 teaspoons for a batch of bread that calls for 6-1/2 cups flour, melt the butter and let it cool but not solidify before adding it in, and save the salt until you mix in the last batch of flour because this will insulate it from the yeast.

    1. Thanks so much Aunt B I will give that a try!!

  2. They look so wonderful (I can almost smell them) and I know your dad was definitely cheering your success. Thank you for sharing your story. XOXO

    1. Thank you Nicole! I just found out that the majority of the people loved them. I guess I am hard on myself at times LOL

  3. I am sure your dad is watching over you and is proud of your bread achievements and much, much more. I lost my dad last year too. I know how hard it is to deal with the loss.