Coffee N° 5

Food, comfort, warmth and friendship

Parker House Rolls

The other day, I made a delicious tray of rolls to go with my late Christmas/New Year dinner (which was fantastic). I’ve made these rolls in the past and they have always been a hit. There are many variations of this recipe out there, but I’m biased and liked this one. Plus I found it in my Food Network Magazine. These rolls were created in Boston’s Parker House Hotel in the late 1800s. Yeah. They’ve been here for a while. This is the same hotel that invented the Boston Cream Pie. I pulled the following from KingArthurFlour.com:

These feather-light, buttery rolls were a 19th-century staple of the Parker House, a famous Boston hotel — the same hotel that in 1855 created the first Boston Cream Pie, serving both rolls and pie to the likes of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

So what makes a Parker House roll special? Butter. A buttery fold during the shaping process (and butter brushed on after they’re baked) give them over-the-top flavor. An egg, milk, and a fair amount of butter in the dough give them fine and tender texture. All in all, this Boston-based roll is a bread-basket classic.

A note on these rolls. They are heavy and dense. I mean look at how much flour is used. These aren’t your light and fluffy Pillsbury dinner rolls. As I mentioned before, this comes from Food Network and can be found here. I’ve made notes which are denoted in blue.

Ingredients:

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 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

Directions:

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.

Make the dough.
Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low-speed. I don’t have a stand mixer, but a hand mixer with the hooks works too.
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.

Let it rise.
Brush a large bowl with softened butter. I recommend an actual basting brush for the butter. I used a silicon brush and it took twice as long.
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.

Shape the dough.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use the biggest baking sheet you have. I was only able to make 2 rows with the baking sheet that I used. If you don’t have parchment paper, a Silpat works great too.
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).

Cut the dough.
With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife.
Then slice crosswise into 12 strips.

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.
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.)

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.)
Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter.
Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately. The salt really brings out the flavors. It will still be delicious with out the added salt, but not as delicious.

Keep in mind that this is a fairly long (time wise) recipe. If the air is too cool, your dough will take longer to rise, at the same time, don’t turn on your oven and leave the dough on top. It will literally bake the bread in the bowl. At least it does with my oven. If the dough isn’t rising properly, and the air temp is good, check your yeast. You don’t want to use yeast that’s expired. If you’re like me and buy yeast by the jar, keep it in the fridge. It won’t kill it, and helps preserve it.

If anyone does make this, please let me know how it turned out. Take pictures! Share it! This bread is too good not to share with the world!

– Brent

Baking Soda vs Baking Powder

I’ve kind of always been curious about the difference between baking soda and baking powder. I’ve used both in various recipes, but it was never explained to me why I use one over the other. Thanks to the wonders of Google, I was able to discover an answer fairly quickly. What follows was taken from About.com. I feel that they have done a pretty good job of breaking down the two different explanations that I read in Wikipedia.About.com explanation:
Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to ‘rise’. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!

Baking Powder

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.

How Are Recipes Determined?

Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking powder. Which ingredient is used depends on the other ingredients in the recipe. The ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product with a pleasing texture. Baking soda is basic and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk. You’ll find baking soda in cookie recipes. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

In my free time (usually after the little one goes to bed), I used to stumble around the internet. StumbleUpon.com brought me to a food blog known as RecipeGirl.com, and more specifically, the recipe found below. It is an amazing, delicious, filling, wonderful food. First, I pulled this off of RecipeGirl.com. This is not in any way, my own. I just made it and felt the need to share it :).  On to the food!

Here is the recipe (italicized words are my thoughts and notes):

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Yield: 4 servings (4 pancakes)
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 10 min
An absolutely decadent morning treat…

ingredients:

PANCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon canola oil (I didn’t have any canola oil, but vegetable oil seems to work as well)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
CINNAMON FILLING:
1/2 cup butter, melted (1/2 cup = 1 stick of butter. Not 4oz. Just sayin’)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions:

1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie (I don’t recommend actual Ziplock(R) brand bags due to the fact that the corners are folded back in the bag) and set aside. You don’t want this to remain super-liquidy. It’s best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted (I was unable to get these two to melt completely and blend together as well as I would have liked).  Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
5. When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.

tips:

*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don’t flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!
*It’s best if you pour the batter onto your skillet, wait a minute or so and then swirl the cinnamon onto the batter. That’ll give it a chance to set a little before you add the swirl. (I finally saw this tip after my first 2 pancakes were done. I strongly recommend following this tip.)
*If your baggie of filling begins to get too thick, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up again. On that same note, it shouldn’t be too runny. The consistency of soft toothpaste is perfect. If it’s melty and runny, it will tend to run all over your pancakes. Once you micro it, let it sit on the counter at room temp for a while until it thickens slightly.
Note: Once you flip the pancake, the filling spreads out all over and will caramelize. This leaves you with an indented spiral in your pancake.
Source: RecipeGirl.com
 
These pancakes are a wonderful breakfast. However with that being said, I would recommend making them smaller if you’re serving more than 2-3 people. Or making a second batch. The little one keeps asking me to make them, so, I must be doing something right. As I mentioned, these are pretty filling pancakes. Keep that in mind when making them.
 
– Brent

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