Pocketbook Rolls

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield: About

    3 dozen

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Throughout my childhood, pocketbook rolls were served hot from the oven at Sunday dinner (the meal taken at midday) and on holidays and other special occasions. They are called “pocketbook” because the dough is folded over before baking and the rolls resemble small purses or pocket-books. These rolls are not of Southern origin, although they figure largely throughout the South. They are basically Parker House rolls and were first created at the Parker House in Boston.


  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • 1 tablespoon (2 packages) granular yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 5 to 6 cups sifted flour Melted butter for brushing rolls


  1. Bring the milk to the simmer. Add the butter, sugar, and salt and let stand until lukewarm.
  2. Soften the yeast in the lukewarm water and add this to the milk mixture. Add enough flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and let rest 10 minutes. Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease the inside of a mixing bowl and add the dough, shaped into a ball. Grease the surface of the dough and cover. Let stand in a warm place until double in bulk.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until the surface of the dough is smooth.
  6. Roll the dough out to a ½-inch thickness. Lightly flour the cutting edge of a 3-inch biscuit cutter and cut out rounds. Dip the back of a table knife in flour and use this to make a crease slightly off center across each roll, taking care not to cut through the roll. Brush each roll with melted butter, and fold the larger portion over the smaller half.
  7. Arrange the rolls 1 inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, cover with a towel, and let stand until double in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. About 10 minutes before the rolls are ready to be baked, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Brush the rolls with a little additional melted butter and place in the oven. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.