For this classic recipe, I turned to a classic cookbook: The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. The original recipe calls for shortening, which I know many people like to avoid, so feel free to substitute unsalted butter in the rolls. I also added some wholesome spelt flour and a sprinkling of seeds to give these rolls a modern twist. —Yossy Arefi
envelope active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
warm water, at 110° F
non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening or unsalted butter
Whisk the yeast and water together. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook combine the shortening, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the milk and egg. Add the foamy yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Add the flour and stir until a dough forms, then knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and will probably stick to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350° F, melt the butter, butter a 9- by 9-inch baking dish, and stir the seeds and salt together in a small bowl.
On a floured surface roll the dough into a roughly 16-inch long log. Cut the log into 16 even pieces. Gather the corners of each piece and roll tightly to form a ball. Roll each ball in the melted butter and lay in the pan. Sprinkle the seeds over the top, it's okay if some fall to the bottom of the pan. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 more minutes.
Bake the rolls until golden brown and puffed, about 30 minutes. Gently brush the warm rolls with butter. Serve warm.
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.