This post was done in partnership with Land O’Lakes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own, and I’m incredibly excited to work with Land O’Lakes because of their high-quality butter and dairy products. Thank you for supporting Hummingbird High and the sponsors that help make the magic happen!
One of the questions I often get asked is how I come up with recipes to bake for Hummingbird High. Truthfully, I find inspiration all over: I read a lot of my fellow food bloggers’ recipes, subscribe to a ton of food magazines, and oftentimes try to recreate pastries and desserts that I I had while traveling (like these vanilla custard donuts) or even while out at a local restaurant or bakery (like these gluten-free double chocolate cookies inspired by my favorite Portland bakery).
Recently, Erlend and I went on a date night to a newish Polish restaurant in the city. Neither of us were all that familiar with Polish cuisine, but we absolutely loved it. We ordered crispy potato pancakes (very similar to latkes), pierogies (Polish dumplings, basically) filled with potato, truffles, and caramelized onions, and spaetzle with tons of gruyere and fresh herbs. It was all delicious, but the real star of the show were some Parker House rolls that they’d spiced with everything bagel seasoning and served with herbed cream cheese and smoked trout roe.
Interestingly enough, that date night was the first time I’d ever tried a Parker House roll. I was immediately obsessed with its incredibly fluffy and pillowy interior, and how it contrasted with a slightly crispy shell. When we got home, I immediately started researching Parker House roll recipes and discovered a wealth of new-to-me information all about Parker House rolls. Like the fact that their namesake comes from the Parker House Hotel in Boston, where they were invented all the way back in the 1870s! I also discovered that, although most of the Parker House rolls recipes I’d seen online came in a variety of shapes and sizes, a folded-over roll (think: a taco made out of bread dough) is the original shape. The story is that an angry pastry cook, angry after an altercation with a hotel guest, distractedly threw a batch of unfinished rolls into the oven. The unfinished rolls then baked up into their distinct taco shape.
Needless to say, I definitely took some liberties with MY recipe for Parker House rolls. For my recipe, I opted for a more “modern” bun shape, similar to these Hawaiian sweet bread rolls I made a few weeks ago and am STILL obsessed with. Of course, as an homage to our recent date night at the Polish restaurant, I topped each bun off with a generous amount of everything bagel seasoning (be sure to check out the baker’s notes for sources). And finally, because today is apparently National Pretzel Day (who comes up with these holidays?!), I brushed each roll with “pretzel wash” to give them the signature dark pretzel color and slightly salty flavor. Enjoy!
Some baker’s notes:
- Traditional Parker House roll recipes use vegetable shortening, which I swapped out with Land O Lakes® Butter because I think it’s more delicious. Note that, unlike many of my baking recipes that call for unsalted butter, this recipe uses SALTED butter. For bread recipes, I find that salted butter really adds a deeper and more umami flavor. Because I tend to rely more on unsalted butter and tend to use less salted butter in my baking, I opted for Land O Lakes® Butter in Half Sticks. Unlike most butter, which tends to come in ½ cup sticks, Land O Lakes® Salted Butter in Half Sticks come in ¼ cup portions. They’re perfect for small batch recipes like this one and help keep your butter tasting fresher for longer (since you’re less likely to have a partially unwrapped stick sitting in the fridge for an extended amount of time).
- Bagel seasoning is available online. If bagel seasoning is unavailable in your area, make your own: in a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1 ½ tablespoons dried garlic flakes, 1 ½ tablespoons dried minced onion, and 2 teaspoons flaky salt.
- To shape the dough into balls, I use the pinch and claw grip. You basically pinch and fold the seams of the dough inwards to make a rough ball shape, then use your hand in a claw shape to roll the dough into a perfect circle.
Get the Recipe: Everything Pretzel Parker House Rolls
For the Dough
- ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) water, warmed to between 110° to 115°F
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 Half Stick (2 ounces or 57 grams) Land O Lakes® Butter, melted and cooled
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3 ½ cups (15.75 ounces or 447 grams) all-purpose flour
For the Pretzel Wash
- ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) water
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 Tablespoons bagel seasoning
Day 1: Make the Dough and Let it Rise Overnight!
- In a small liquid measuring cup, combine ¼ cup warm water and 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast. Whisk to moisten the yeast, and set aside for 5 minutes, or until foamy and bubbly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup milk, 1 melted Half Stick Land O Lakes® Butter, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt. Use a rubber spatula to mix by hand until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add yeast mixture and 1 large egg all at once; mix with the spatula until just combined, about 1 minute. Add 3 ½ cups flour and mix with the spatula until a shaggy dough forms, another minute.
- Affix the bowl to the stand mixer with a dough hook. Knead on medium-low for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and use the spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl for any stuck dough. Use your hands to knead the dough lightly and bring it together, about 1 minute. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, until puffy and doubled in size.
Day 2: Shape the Dough, Let Rise Once More, Finish and Bake!
- Once the dough has doubled, lightly spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Tip the dough onto a floured counter. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 2.5 ounces each. Gently shape each piece into a rough ball (see baker’s notes), and place in the prepared baking pan, arranging the balls in three rows of four. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until noticeably puffy.
- Halfway through the rise time, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375° F. Make the pretzel wash: pour ¼ cup water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in 1 tablespoon baking soda, stirring until completely dissolved. The water will foam up — don’t panic, this is what you want! Set aside to cool slightly on a wire rack while you wait for the dough to finish rising. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash.
- Once the buns are puffy, use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the buns and the creases between each bun with the pretzel wash. Rinse the brush, then brush the tops and creases again once more with the egg wash. Sprinkle each bun with a generous amount of bagel seasoning.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until evenly golden-brown. An instant thermometer inserted into the middle of a roll should read 200° F. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving while warm. The rolls are best the day they’re made, but leftover rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.