For the Tangzhong:
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup bread flour or all purpose flour
For the Dough:
1 cup warm milk (roughly 110℉)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup light brown sugar, divided
4 cups bread flour or all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon honey
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup flour until thick and pudding-like, about 5 minutes, to create the tangzhong. Remove the tangzhong from heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, mix together the warm milk, active dry yeast, and a tablespoon of light brown sugar. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cooled tangzhong, the yeast mixture, the remaining brown sugar, 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, and 5 tablespoons butter.
- With the stand mixer running on medium-low speed, add in the flour, a bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until a smooth, elastic, just slightly sticky dough forms. It should take a total of roughly 20 minutes. See notes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, roughly 1-2 hours.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench knife or chef’s knife, cut the dough into 15-16 evenly sized pieces. One at a time, roll each dough piece into balls. See note.
- Butter a 13″x9″ baking pan or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the rolls into the prepared pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the rolls to rise again until puffy, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash.
- Bake the rolls until deep golden-brown, about 20-25 minutes. Near the end of the baking time, combine the melted butter and honey in a small bowl.
- Once the rolls come out of the oven, brush them with the honey-butter glaze and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt. Serve warm.
- Resist the urge to add more flour until the dough has mixed long enough for the flour to be fully incorporated and smoothed! After 20 minutes, the dough should be separated from the sides of the bowl, feel tacky but not overly sticky, and should easily form into a large dough ball when smoothed over with your hands. If this is not the case, slowly mix in a bit more flour, one to two tablespoons at a time. Be sure to knead well before continuing to add more.
- To roll the dough into balls, you can either place the dough piece on a flat surface and use a cupped hand to very gently roll in a circular motion, or you can pinch the edges of the dough together toward the bottom before rolling in your hands, as demonstrated in the recipe video.