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In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and the salt; cook and stir over medium-low heat until warm (105-115°F). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the milk mixture and egg to the yeast mixture. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (about 3 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).
Grease a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough evenly into 24 pieces. Gently shape into balls. In a shallow dish, combine sesame seeds, poppy seeds and dried minced onion (or garlic). In another shallow dish, combine cornmeal and Romano cheese (or Parmesan). Place 1/4 cup melted butter in a third dish. Working quickly, roll dough pieces in butter and then in one of the seasoning mixtures to lightly coat. Coat half of the rolls with one seasoning mixture and the remaining rolls with the other seasoning mixture. Alternate rolls in prepared pan. Cover rolls with greased plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.