Thursday, March 10, 2011

Parker House Style Rolls

Harvey Parker opened the famed Parker House Hotel and Restaurant in 1855 in Boston, MA. Mr. Parker went outside of the area tradition, and at great expense, hired a french chef, Sanzian, to run his restaurant. Having been in the restaurant business before being in the hotel business he knew a good restaurant could bring interest and great regard to the Parker House.

Sanzian would later invent what is now known as the Boston Cream Pie (not too shabby to be credited for the creation of a state pie!) Another famed baked good from this kitchen is the Parker House Rolls, which according to the hotel history was conceived by a German baker named Ward (you can find the full history here.) The recipe was apparently a well guarded secret until 1933 when Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt requested the recipe!

I am going to visit my sister in a few weeks, and I plan on making a few things for her to have in her freezer and just be able to pop out and bake when she wishes. Anyhow, Kristen has an obsession with bread; she's had this as long as I can remember. Growing up, seeing as she was a picky eater, she would judge a restaurant based on their bread alone.

Thus, whilst reading the King Arthur blog some time ago I stumbled upon a recipe for Parker House Rolls. My mom has used Sister Schubert rolls for years; these are a knock off of the Parker House version that you can find in the freezer section of your grocery store.

I've been on a mission recently to try and make things from scratch verses buying them prepackaged and processed in the next venture might be tortillas (just start reading the labels on stuff and you might become a convert too!)

The results were just as I had hoped; Dan and I both really loved them and he now wants me to rework them a bit in order to make these into a hot dog bun version for the summer. As you can see, I didn't have the right sized pan for the original recipe, but it really didn't matter; they weren't pretty, but they were tasty!

I only made half of the rolls (8) and froze the other half of the dough after the first rise because we didn't need 16 rolls between the two of us (shoot, we didn't need 8 either) and I wanted to see if this would be a viable option for Kristen. I'll let you know how the frozen batch works out.

You can use the original Omni Parker House Roll Recipe, or the King Arthur version that I used here. As a note, potato flour can be found in most supermarkets these days; I used a version made by Bob's Redmill.

In other news, we woke up to a small layer of snow; thankfully, what you see here is about as much as we got, which meant no shoveling, and just mere waiting for the sun to come out and do its work!

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