Omni Parker House, Boston

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The soft, buttery Parker House Rolls, dubbed “America’s first soft dinner roll,” was a top secret recipe until 1933 when U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt requested they be served at a White House Dinner.

Ingredients

  • One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 cup)
  • 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

 

Step 1: Make the Dough
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the yeast with the water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand until foamy, 10 minutes. Beat in the remaining sugar, 3/4 cup of the butter and the milk, eggs and kosher salt. At low speed, stir in the 7 1/2 cups of flour until the dough comes together; add more flour by the tablespoon, if necessary. Mix at medium speed until the dough forms a loose ball around the hook, 3 minutes. Brush a large bowl with some of the melted butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 hours. 

Step 2: Form the Rolls
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a 9-by-16-inch rectangle. Using a floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise into 3 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 12 small strips. Working with 1 piece at a time, fold it unevenly so the top half slightly overlaps the bottom half. Tuck the overhang under and place the roll seam side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, forming 2 rows of 9 rolls on each baking sheet. Each roll should just touch its neighbors, but leave about 4 inches between the rows. 

Step 3: Bake the Rolls
Bake the rolls for about 18 minutes, until browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Immediately brush the rolls with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer the rolls to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. To reheat, toast in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

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