3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons dry yeast (use 2 tablespoons yeast, even 1-3/4 tbsp will do fine)
1/4 cup Crisco shortening, melted
1 cup full-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour (more as needed)
Prepare a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a kneader attachment.
Place about 3-1/2 cups flour in the bowl.
Melt the shortening in the microwave; add to the bowl with the flour.
In a measuring cup, measure out 1 cup milk, then add in 4 tablespoons sugar and the salt; heat until quite warm in the microwave, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.
Pour the milk into the bowl with the melted shortening and flour; cover the bowl with a towel to keep ingredients warm.
Proof the yeast in a 3/4 cup warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar for about 8-10 minutes or until foamy.
After proofing, add to the bowl and start kneading for about 3-4 minutes, then add in more flour as needed to create a soft semi-sticky dough, knead about 8 more minutes until smooth.
Place the dough on a very lightly floured counter or board; let rest for 5-10 minutes, covered with a clean tea towel.
Grease a large bowl, then place the dough into bowl to rise in a warm place for about 50-60 minutes (because of the amount of yeast, the dough should take a shorter rising time in a warm place).
Punch down dough.
Cut into pieces (I usually cut into 6 pieces), and shape large balls.
Let dough balls rest for about 4 minutes (or just enough time to make shaping easier).
Shape the dough into desired length for buns.
Sprinkle a large cookie/baking sheet with cornmeal, or lightly grease with cooking spray.
Place the long pieces of dough on a baking sheet (shape once again if you need to).
Cover and let rise for about 25 minutes, or until doubled.
Set oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
If desired after the second rising and just before baking, beat one egg white with 1 teaspoon cold water, then brush on buns and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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