All I need is another dinner roll recipe. They are all delicious, and that is because they are made by hand and warm from the oven. Any roll recipe should work using this method of forming the roll.
This method of forming rolls has been attributed to a technique by Alex Guarnaschelli in a Food Network magazine. The rolls shaped this way very loosely resemble Lion House Rolls - spoken of in hushed and reverent tones in the state of Utah. But these are MUCH easier to shape, and don't unwind as they bake. Part of the trick I'm sure is making sure the dough is allowed to rise slowly, and is completely relaxed before shaping. I found this particular roll recipe on syddallfamilyeatingitup.blogspot.com. Not an unusual recipe at all, but it works well with this shaping technique - yielding exactly 24 rolls (enough to fit a large aluminum baking sheet)
You place the rolls in three rows right in the center of your baking pan, standing next to each other and touching sides. As they rise, they push outward and fill up the pan. They don't unwind because they are holding each other up. (There ought to be a parable in that somehow?)
Parker House Rolls - (shaped to look like soldiers standing at attention)
1-1/2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup (one cube) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp salt
6 cups (+ or -) all purpose flour
Stir 1 Tbs yeast into 1/2 cup warm water. Set aside until it is dissolved and foamy.
Meanwhile, place milk in a large measuring cup and scald in microwave for 2-3 minutes on high. Stir in the butter, and continue stirring until melted. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, salt, and eggs. Stir in the milk/butter mixture when it has cooled slightly (you don't want to cook the eggs).
Now add 4-5 cups of the flour. I use a Bosch mixer to mix this dough, but it can be done by hand. Continue adding just enough flour until dough pulls away from side of bowl. When touched lightly, it should still stick to your finger, but not be obviously wet to the touch. Do not add too much flour, as you cannot take it back out. Less is more, but you should have enough that it holds it's shape.
Turn out onto oiled countertop, or place in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat other side and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
At this point, you don't want to work the dough and make it stiff. It needs to stay relaxed. Do not use a rolling pin, just dust your hands with flour. Form into a 16" x 8" rectangle. It will be about 1/2" to 3/4" thick.
With a sharp knife (I used a pizza cutter), cut in half lengthwise. Now slice crosswise (as pictured) into 12 even strips. (I cut it in half, then in half again - making each quarter into three strips as shown).
One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half. Now tuck the overhang underneath.
Place the rolls, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet in three tightly packed rows. Leave only an inch or two between the rows so they rise up together in the oven.
Bake an a 375° oven until the rolls are bursting at the seams and are golden brown - about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with softened butter. You may even sprinkle with salt if desired. Serve immediately.