Made these rolls for Thanksgiving lunch today, based on Lisa's ideas for flavors (the walnuts and herbs), and based on a recipe from Gourmet that I made a few weeks ago.
1/4 c. warm water (105-110 degrees, should feel slightly warm on your wrist)
1 T. sugar
2 and 1/4 t. (1 packet) yeast
1 and 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 and 1/2 c. white flour
2 t. salt
3/4 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
2-3 T. chopped fresh rosemary (optional: include some thyme in here)
1 egg white
1 T. water
flaky sea salt
1. Dissolve sugar in warm water; sprinkle yeast on top and whisk. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, a bubbly foam should develop.
2. Warm up the milk to about the same temperature as the yeast mixture.
3. Whisk the milk and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
4. Combine flours, salt, walnuts and rosemary.
5. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir, and then turn out onto a clean floured surface, and knead. Kneading will take about 10 minutes, it's done when you pinch it and it has the consistency of your earlobe. And, when you poke it, it should readily spring back. As you're kneading, try not to add to much additional flour. It's better to oil your hands and the surface instead of flouring them.
6. When it's done, put it in an oiled bowl and flip over so the top of the dough is oiled. Let rise overnight in the fridge, or at room temperature for at least 2 hours. The longer it rises, the more flavor develops.
7. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Divide dough in half. Working with the first half, divide into 12 equal amounts.
9. To shape the topknots, take each piece of dough, and make a ~12" long snake. Make a knot by looping the snake around your four non-thumb fingers, and drop the long end through the hole. Try to limit the contact between the loop and the long end so they don't stick together. Then, put the long end through the hole again. Now there should be an end sticking out of both sides. Put each roll on the parchment, 12 per sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
10. Whisk the egg white with the water, and brush on each roll. Sprinkle a little sea salt on each one.
11. Bake for 12 minutes, switch positions, and bake an additional 12 minutes. They're done when they're nicely browned on top.