Make Ahead Parker House Rolls


Next to the turkey and cranberries, my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the homemade rolls.  For me, the rolls must be homemade.  However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend all day working on them.

I saw a recipe in my recent Food Network Magazine Thanksgiving issue for parker house rolls.  The recipe come from Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off.  I decided to give these rolls a try because you can make the rolls up to 3 weeks in advance and you cook them straight from the freezer.  Yep, that’s right you cook them frozen.  That definitely cuts down on you Thanksgiving stress!  You just need 35 minutes before the meal to put them in the oven.

These rolls were easy to make.  You do need to give the dough a couple of hours to rise.  I always turn my oven to warm, then when it’s preheated, I turn it to off and place the dough in the oven.  This ensures a warm place for the dough to double in volume.  The other unique part of this recipe is the rolls do not need a second rise when shaped.  This is achieved by not punching the dough down after the first rise.  You just lightly shape the dough with your hands.

When testing the recipe, I cooked some rolls immediately and froze the rest and cooked them later.  With the batch I cooked immediately, the tops got too brown.  I decided I need to cook them for less time or use a lower temperature.  So on the frozen batch, I cooked them for the last 10 minutes at 350 degrees and they turned out perfect.

Overall, this was a good way to have hot homemade rolls while doing the work well in advance.  I must say that I still prefer the taste and texture of the Lion House Rolls and Molly’s Rolls that I have share previously.  However, this is still a good alternative if you need a make ahead version.

You can also check out my post last year for more roll recipes and different ways for shaping your homemade rolls.

Today’s the last day of the Virtual Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner.  Today’s host is Liz over at Hoosier Homemade.  She has a Gingerbread Trifle waiting for you if you want to check it out.

Make Ahead Parker House Rolls

  • 1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7 1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for brushing
  • 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  1. Bloom the yeast.  Measure out 1/2 cup warm water and check the temperature: It should be between 110 degrees F and 120 degrees F (comfortable bathwater temperature). Sprinkle the yeast into a large bowl, add the warm water and whisk in the sugar. Let sit 1 minute (it should bubble and froth slightly), then gently stir in 1 cup flour. Set aside near the stove while you prepare the dough.
  2. Make the dough.  Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low speed. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Scrape in the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated. Add 6 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon salt; mix until the dough forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky.
  3. Let it rise.  Brush a large bowl with softened butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, 2 hours to 2 hours, 30 minutes. The dough should double in volume.
  4. Shape the dough.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F  if immediately baking the rolls (in my oven I cook them at 350 degrees)and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust a clean flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands; gently press the dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (don’t use a rolling pin).
  5. Cut the dough.With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife (I used my pizza cutter). Then slice crosswise into 12 strips.
  6. Shape the dough.  One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half, then tuck the overhang underneath. (Basically you fold the strip into thirds)  Place the rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet in 3 tightly packed rows. (If making in advance, wrap the baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 weeks.)
  7. Bake the rolls.  Bake until the rolls are bursting at the seams and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. (If frozen, bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees F, then 10 minutes at 375 degrees F [I did 350 degrees].) Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.
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10 comments on “Make Ahead Parker House Rolls

  • I made this recipe last Thanksgiving. they are the best rolls ever. The Best. They are light,and tender. Melt in your mouth. They came out exactly like the picture.

  • These rolls were easy to make and they taste delicious. They might be my new go to rolls.

  • I made these using my breadmachine dough cycle to mix and knead and they turned out beautifully. I cut the recipe in half as I wasn’t sure my machine would hold a batch with that much flour. But with everything else in half, I used 3 1/2 cups flour, and they were great. I put ingredients in the breadmaker in this order: salt, melted butter, milk, egg, flour, yeast mixture. I did proof the yeast with just 1 T sugar instead of the whole amount, then added the rest of the sugar into the bread machine. I cooked some immediately and they were fantastic. I froze the rest – haven’t tested to see how they bake up yet.

  • Sounds yummy! I am wondering if it is possible to convert this recipe for a bread machine? If so, how it might be done?

  • Yes, I am a devout fan of the Lion House rolls, but i love that these can be made ahead!

  • How many servings does this make?

  • Thanks so much for this! I have to bring rolls this year and I doubt I’ll have the energy to make the Lion House Rolls in time for a Noon Thanksgiving dinner time.

  • Hey, I was hunting for deals on VersaCAMM spares. Your website popped up on AOL. I found what I needed here: DX4 printheads

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