Carla Hall's Yeast Rolls
- 1 1/4 cups Whole Milk
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 packet Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 large Egg (beaten; room temperature)
- 4 cups All-Purpose Flour (plus more for rolling and cutting)
- 1 tablespoon Table Salt
- 8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (cut into 1-inch pieces; room temperature; plus more for hands; plus 6 tablespoons melted)
- Canola Oil or other other neutral oil for bowl
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until luke warm (90 to 110 degrees F). Remove for the heat and whisk in the yeast and egg. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the flour and salt on low speed until blended. With the machine on low, add the dissolved yeast in a steady stream. Mix until just moistened, about 1 minute. With the machine still on low, add the room temperature butter, one pieces at a time, beating until each piece is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look broken. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Beat on medium speed until the dough is well combined and looks scrappy, about 2 minutes.
- Swap the paddle for the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until nice and smooth, about 5 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape the dough off the hook and from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a very lightly oiled metal bowl. Turn the dough to coat in the oil, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Uncover the dough and gently press down with your hands. The dough should be sticky without actually sticking to your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap again and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Coat your hands with soft butter, as if you're washing your hands in the butter. Pinch off a golf ball-sized piece of dough, then squeeze it through your thumb and index finger of one hand into a tight ball. The motion is similar to when to when you squirt water at someone in the swimming pool. Remember that from camp? You need a bigger opening between your fingers for dough than for water, but it's the same squirting-squeezing motion. Place the ball on a pan, with the pinched side against the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls 2 inches apart.
- Alternatively, you can also make the classic Parker House shape: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness. With a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out rounds. Brush the rounds lightly with melted butter, then fold in half, gently pressing the two sides together. Space on the pans 2 inches apart.
- Cover the pans lightly with plastic wrap if it's drafty in your kitchen. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and lightly brush the tops with melted butter. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.