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Parker House Herb Loaves

Yield 2 loaves
Parker House rolls snuggled together on a baking sheet bake into a single loaf you won't even need a knife to serve. Just break off individual rolls from these herb loaves, and tuck a sliver of ham or turkey inside.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • Garnish: fresh thyme

How to Make It

  1. Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and garlic salt in a large mixing bowl; stir well.

  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup butter in a saucepan; cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 120° to 130°, stirring often.

  3. Gradually add hot milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring well. Add eggs; beat at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

  4. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6 to 8 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

  5. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup softened butter, herbs, and onion; stir well. Set aside.

  6. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 or 5 times. Divide dough in half. Roll half of dough to 1/4" thickness; cut with a 4" round cutter.

  7. Spread 2 teaspoons herb butter on tops of dough rounds; fold in half, bringing bottom within 1/4" of top half, allowing herb butter to peak through top. Place half-moons upright next to each other on a greased baking sheet.

  8. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and herb butter, making a second loaf. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

  9. Bake at 375° for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush loaves with remaining herb butter. Garnish, if desired.

Christmas with Southern Living 2004