Manual Method: In a large bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, stirring till the dough forms a cohesive mass and begins to clear the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes (which gives the dough a chance to absorb the liquid, and the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.) Knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes, or until it’s smooth and supple. The dough should be quite stiff, but not at all “gnarly;” adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till it’s noticeably puffy, about 1 hour.
Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, examine the dough’s consistency; it should be quite stiff, but not at all “gnarly;” adjust it consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces. Shape the pieces into round balls, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the rolls, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they’ve almost doubled in volume. Dip tops in milk and coat with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired.
Bake the rolls in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.