1 tbsp. sugar
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
¼ cup warm water (105-110˚ F)
1 cup warm milk
1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds for topping, if desired
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Stir in the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of the flour. Mix with the dough hook until well combined. Add the remaining cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (you may not need the full cup). Continue kneading on low speed, 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Using a kitchen scale, divide the dough into 9 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Roll the balls into cylinders 4½ inches in length, and flatten slightly. Place each bun on the prepared baking sheet with the sides just barely touching. Cover lightly with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and cool completely.