At Thanksgiving and Christmas you will find my mother-in-law, Kristie, on our doorstep, bundled up for a chilly day and holding a pan of her freshly baked rolls as she arrives to celebrate the day with us. For years I have admired her beautiful Parker House rolls stacked tall on a platter. Before opening our second restaurant, Rye, in Kansas, I asked Kristie if we could use her recipe to make our table bread. And just as Kristie shared it with me, I now share with you this wonderfully simple recipe for delicious yeast-raised rolls.
Grease two (12-cup) muffin pans with shortening and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and yeast and mix with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, milk, sugar, eggs, salt and the 1/3 cup shortening.
Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed until the dough comes together, about 6 minutes. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth. Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside; cover lightly with a dry cloth and set in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled, punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 24 pieces weighing 45 grams or 1 2/3 ounces each. Cup your palm around one dough piece on the work surface and, with your fingers closed tightly around the dough, roll the piece into a ball. Place the ball into one greased muffin cup. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Place the muffin pan uncovered in a warm place once again until the rolls have doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Once the rolls have doubled in size, carefully brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake the rolls until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the rolls to cool to room temperature in the pans before turning out.
To serve, place the baked rolls in a basket and serve with butter or jam alongside. These rolls can be served at room temperature or re-warmed in a 200 degree F oven if needed, but they should be baked and eaten the same day. Leftover rolls may be frozen in a resealable plastic bag for up to one month and used later for a bread pudding or casserole.