Baking History

A Taste For The Past

World Bread Day ’07: Parker House Rolls

Posted by bakinghistory on October 16, 2007


Buttery, slightly sweet, crusty on the outside and fluffy inside, small and dainty.


World Bread Day '07

Thanks to Zorra for organizing this great event

For World Bread Day I wanted to choose a bread to represent the United States–choosing only one was obviously difficult given its rich and diverse heritage–but since I write from Massachusetts I finally opted for something typical of this area.
Parker House Rolls have a long and colorful history. They were created at the Parker House Hotel here in Boston in the 1870s, and were greatly appreciated by its patrons, which included famous ones such as Offenbach, Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. They have been popular ever since.

From the original recipe by Fannie Merritt Farmer

In “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book” 1896–USA


2 cups (488 g) milk

3 tbsp (45 g) butter + 1 tbsp (15 g) extra

2 tbsp (25 g) sugar

1 tsp (6 g) salt

1/2 (7 g ) fresh yeast cake

1/4 cup (60 g) warm water

6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour (or as needed)

Add 3 tbsp (45 g) butter, the sugar and salt to scalded milk and set aside until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and set aside.

Add yeast water to lukewarm milk mixture and mix well, then add 3 cups (375 g) flour and set aside, cover, and let rise until light and bubbly. Add more flour to make a soft dough that can be kneaded and rolled (it will require about 2-1/2 to 3 cups of four–312 g -375 g flour). Knead the dough (on low speed) until smooth and supple, then let it rise in a covered greased bowl until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425°F–220°C

Melt 1 tbsp butter and set aside. Roll the dough to a 1/3-inch thickness and cut in rounds using a small biscuit-cutter dipped in flour (2-3/4-inch –7 cm diameter). Dip the handle of a wooden spoon in flour and with it make a crease through the middle of each round. Brush over one-half of each piece with melted butter, then fold and press edges together. Place rolls on a pan, let rise, and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Best served warm in a basket lined with a napkin.


9 Responses to “World Bread Day ’07: Parker House Rolls”

  1. […] Baking History wrote an interesting post today on World Bread Day â07: Parker House RollsHere’s a quick excerptWorld Bread Day ‘07: Parker House Rolls Posted by bakinghistory on October 16th, 2007 [ … Longfellow. They have been popular ever since. From the original recipe by Fannie Merritt Farmer In “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book” 1896–USA Ingredients 2 cups (488 g) milk 3 tbsp (45 […]

  2. Those are lovely rolls! And a nice reminder of what was once my home town.

  3. bakinghistory said

    Thanks Susan 🙂

  4. Ulrike said

    I baked Parkerhouse Rolls following this recipe

  5. bakinghistory said

    Hi! 🙂 I just saw your Parker House Rolls and they are perfect!
    I believe in fact that in the more recent versions they include eggs; I usually bake them for Thanksgiving

  6. zorra said

    I love rolls and yours look very awesome!
    Thank you for participating in WBD.

  7. bakinghistory said

    @Zorra: Thanks! And thanks again for organizing World Bread Day

  8. Tanna said

    I love that you used an “original” (or close to it) recipe. That is still an excellent cookbook and resource.
    Parker House Rolls are on my list to make. My Dad always makes them and I love them.

  9. bakinghistory said


    Hi! 🙂
    Parker House rolls are indeed very nice and I think I should bake them more often than I do. Fanni Farmer’s books are among my favorite cookbooks as well.

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