I have ruined countless meals by going overboard on the breadbasket, the unofficial first course of any meal. Finding yourself full before the salad appears on the table really isn’t anything to brag about, but sometimes warm fresh-baked biscuits, focaccia or crusty sliced bread is too hard to resist. I will dip bread in olive oil, slather it with butter or devour it plain—it doesn’t matter.
On my to-do list has been to bake fluffy pull-apart bread, so I made these spelt parker house rolls. They are a version of the classic roll invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in the 1870s. They rose very tall in the pan and baked up even higher in the oven. I sprinkled them with pepitas, sesame seeds & flaky salt. As lovely as they looked baked in their grid, I didn’t hesitate to tear one off.
Spelt Parker House Rolls
Adapted from Food 52
Makes 16 rolls
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature plus 1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup whole milk, warmed slightly
1 large egg
2-1/4 cups spelt flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 teaspoon flaky salt
Stir together the yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the room temperature butter, sugar and salt. Whisk in the milk and egg followed by the yeast mixture. Add both flours and mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed. Then increase to medium speed, kneading the dough until smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with 2 teaspoons melted butter.
Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each one into a tight ball and coat it with melted butter. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle them with sesame seeds, pepitas and flaky salt before baking until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.