Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tidbits About Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls have been in our vocabulary for quite a while. Below are a few recipes from the 10th Century for these rolls. Note there are some basic differences in the recipes. They were developed in 1870 in the Parker House Hotel in Boston, MA. The Parker House still stands today and serves these rolls.

PARKER HOUSE ROLLS.—Mrs. D. B. Hubbard Chicago. —Take one cake of yeast and dissolve it in one cup luke-warm water, add flour to make a thin batter, put this in a warm place to rise. Take 1 pint milk and add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon lard, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 small teaspoon salt and let this mixture reach the boiling point; then remove from the stove. When this is cool the batter is usually risen sufficiently. Stir the two together and add about 2 quarts flour, knead 15 minutes and let rise again, when very light roll out and cut into shapes and let rise in pans and bake in a good quick oven.
Source: Mrs. Owens' New Cook Book ©1897

Here's a picture of them:

Mrs. A. H. Dashiell, Bricksburg, N. J.

One quart sifted flour, one-half cup of yeast, two tablespoons of sugar, salt, two tablespoons butter and one of lard; pour one pint of boiling milk over the ingredients, except yeast, and add that when lukewarm; mix early in the morning, and knead at noon, adding sufficient flour to make as stiff as biscuit; when light knead into rolls; roll out rather thin, cut with a biscuit cutter and then roll oblong, spread a little butter on one end and fold over; let them rise on the pans before baking. They ought to bake in ten or fifteen minutes. In cold weather the sponge should be made at night.

Alice M. Adams, Mrs. J. P. Hoit and others.

Two quarts flour, make a hole in the top, put in a piece of butter the size of an egg, a little salt, and a tablespoon of white sugar; pour over this a pint of milk previously boiled and cooled, and one-half teacup of good yeast. When the sponge is light, mould for fifteen minutes, let it rise again and cut into round cakes, butter one side and turn over on itself, bake in a quick OVen.

Mrs. L. J. Tilton.

Boil one pint of sweet milk, and when partly cooled melt in it half a cup of white sugar and one tablespoon of lard or butter; when lukewarm, add half a cup of yeast; make a hole in two quarts of flour and pour this mixture in. If for tea, set to rise over night, in the morning mix well and knead for half hour, then set to rise again; about four o’clock knead again for ten or fifteen minutes; roll out thinner than for biscuit, rub melted butter upon half the surface and fold it upon the other; set to rise once more in pans, and when light, bake twenty minutes in a hot oven.

Tidbits from Wikipedia can be found here.

Lynn A. Coleman is an award winning & best-selling author who makes her home in Keystone Heights, Florida, with her husband of 40 years. Lynn's newest novel THE INNKEEPER'S WIFE released last month. It is the second in her Historical St. Augustine, FL. series.
Check out her 19th Century Historical Tidbits Blog if you like exploring different tidbits of history.


  1. Funny how the same recipe can differ depending what part of country it is made. Sm. Wileygreen1gat)yahoo(dot)com

  2. They have some good rolls but I don't cook anymore. I can remember my mother cooking rolls tho when I was little and we could smell them when we got in our yard after walking home from school. Good ole' days. Of course we each got one for a snack. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  3. I did some research on these rolls for one of my books to make certain I had them in the right time frame. I remembered my grandmother making them and how good the house smelled when they were baking and hot out of the oven. She'd fix me one with butter and honey. Oh, how delicious they were. I didn't realize the recipe had been around so long. I just knew about them from the Parker Hotel. Very interesting.

    1. That's how I knew about them too. It's amazing what we find in research.