Who doesn’t love a basket full of soft yeasty rolls on the dinner table? Rolls with a little crust and a tender crumb. When a basket of parker house rolls hits the table, the meal feels special. Especially when they’re homemade rolls and not out of a pop-open package with an especially white dough-boy on the front.
These are those rolls. Yeasty, tender, brushed with butter (yes, I know, but I intended them for Thanksgiving so that’s my pass) and flecked with fresh thyme and garlic.
You know my foibles with bread and pastry – and yet for some self-flagellating reason, I keep coming back for another go. I guess bread and pastry are my weakness and I will always come back to it, regardless of my lack of prowess. What I’ve learned from my constant efforts (both failed and triumphant) is that to my family and friends, it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter that it’s not crimped perfectly. They don’t care that my biscuits aren’t uniform, or that part of the pie overflowed its crust. It’s bread. It’s pastry. It’s homemade. And it’s freakin’ good.
I preface the recipe like this because – I can’t roll out dough for shit. As you see below, it’s nowhere near a perfect rectangle. Thus, my rolls were uneven in size, some were lopsided, others just so misshapen that they had no business in the pan.
And yet, that’s where they ended up. And you know something? They were gobbled up. Because no one cared that they weren’t perfect. They were rustic. They were authentic and they were undeniably satisfying.
So if you, like me, are missing the dough and pastry chromosome, don’t worry. Go forward, full force. Never apologize. And trust me, they’re gonna love it! Have a great Thanksgiving.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted + additional for brushing the pan
- additional thyme for garnish
- sea salt
- In a small skillet, over medium heat cook the olive oil and thyme together until softened and fragrant but not browned. Set aside.
- Stir together yeast and water in a small bowl and set aside for five minutes.
- Heat the milk until warm, but not hot (about 110 degrees). In a large bowl whisk together the warm milk, vegetable shortening, sugar, salt, garlic and thyme. The shortening may not melt completely, but break it up into smaller pieces with your whisk.
- Whisk in the yeast and egg. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough forms.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 4-5 minutes until smooth and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Flip dough inside the bowl to coat with the oil, cover with plastic wrap and set in a non-drafty spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Brush down a 13 x 9 inch pan with a little melted butter and set aside.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to into an 8x6 rectangle. Cut the dough into 3 strips -- 2" wide x 8" long. Cut those strips in half so you have 2"x4" rectangles. Brush dough with butter, pick up a strip of dough and fold the unbuttered side over on itself, leaving a little overhang. Place the dough in the corner of the pan, with the folded side facing the short end of the pan. Fill the pan short side first and continue with the rest of the dough. Lightly brush with butter, cover and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Lightly brush with butter and sprinkle with additional thyme leaves and sea salt. Serve.
More favorite holiday breads: