Dinner rolls

Food Stories: Great Grandma Craig’s Dinner Rolls



When we took over ownership of the shop, we were welcomed enthusiastically by long-time customers and friends.  Linda, a talented local artist, has been there cheering us on along the way – from liking and commenting on our Instagram account, subscribing to our newsletter, or answering the call when we solicited family recipes from our followers.  This recipe has been passed down through generations by the many women of her family.  The pocket roll may be a desendent of the dinner roll made famous by the Parker House Hotel (pictured above), home of the first Boston Cream Pie.  Regardless of which came first, they are delicious and worth a place at your table.


by Linda Sievers


This recipe was handed down to me by my mother. It was her grandmother’s recipe. My family affectionately calls it “Great Grandma Craig’s Dinner Rolls.” They are called pocket rolls because each roll is folded in half forming a pocket in which a pat of butter is placed—what a great idea! No wonder this recipe has been in my family for more than 100 years.


Pocket Dinner Rolls


In a large bowl add

3 tablespoons shortening

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup sugar

Pour 1 cup boiling water over the above ingredients.

Let shortening melt, then add ½ cup cool water.


In a separate small bowl add

2 packages of yeast

½ cup warm water

Dissolve yeast in the water.  Add the dissolved yeast to the above ingredients and mix.

2 extra large eggs well beaten.  Add to above and mix.

Sift 7 cups of flour and add slowly to the mixture.


Remove dough and place in another large bowl that has been lightly greased with shortening. Let rise until double in size.


At this point, you can make right away or put the dough in the refrigerator and keep for up to one week. If you refrigerate, keep it in the bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap. Punch it down daily or more often if it doubles in size.


Punch down dough and roll out to about ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a biscuit cutter or a 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter. Fold each roll in half and insert a small pat of butter in the fold. Place rolls in rows of three in a greased 9×13 pan. Let rise to double-triple in size. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.


Linda’s notes:

  • Be sure the shortening is completely melted before adding the cool water.
  • Remember, this is an old recipe so use regular yeast, i.e., no rapid rise or other quick rise yeast.
  • The original recipe called for large eggs, I use extra large eggs.
  • When the rolls are rising in the pan right before baking, the rows of rolls should have expanded enough so they are touching each other. They will expand more in the oven. Also, the butter may be pushed up, but that’s okay so don’t try to push the butter back down.
  • I let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator and bake the next day. It’s possible this is just my imagination, but I think it enhances the yeast flavor and makes the rolls are airier. 
  • Once baked, the rolls keep well in the freezer.


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