Yes, Virginia, there is a way to improve upon classic Parkerhouse rolls.
Spread garlic-herb butter on the hand-mixed dough, braid it into a wreath and give the idea of breaking bread a whole new meaning.
“This bread is delicious on its own, but it’s also a great accompaniment to roast beef or turkey.” — Carey, Martha Stewart Living editorial director of food and entertaining
GARLIC-HERB DINNER-ROLL WREATH
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 large egg
cup warm whole milk (110 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl
Garlic-herb butter (see additional recipe)
MAKE THE DOUGH: Sprinkle yeast over water in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Beat egg and add to bowl along with milk, sugar, salt, flour and butter. Stir until a loose, slightly tacky dough forms (it will firm up when kneaded). Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. (Dough can be covered at this point and refrigerated up to 24 hours.)
FORM THE WREATH: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 17- by 10-inch rectangle (Image 1, below). Spread herb butter evenly over surface, all the way to edges (Image 2). Starting at a long end, roll dough into a tight cylinder (Image 3), pinching seam to seal. Transfer to baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Cut lengthwise through dough down center of log, leaving about ½ inch intact at one end; turn cut-sides up (Image 4). Lift one length up and over the other; repeat with second length. Continue to overlap pieces to form a log. It should be about 22 inches long; if not, stretch it a bit to lengthen (Image 5). Shape into a 9½-inch-diameter circle, and pinch ends to seal (Image 6).
LET IT RISE AND BAKE: Cover loosely with plastic; let stand until soft and nearly doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until golden brown and baked through (internal temperature of about 200 degrees), 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack about 15 minutes, then slide directly onto rack and let cool completely. Wreath is best enjoyed within 1 day; store tightly wrapped in plastic at room temperature.
In a food processor, finely chop ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 1 garlic clove. Add cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse until mixture has the texture of a paste. Add 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter; pulse until fully combined and mixture has a vivid green color. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; pulse to incorporate.
This can be made up to a week ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Return to room temperature before using.