I was really lucky to grow up with parents who put dinner on the table every night — we'd get home from after school activities like soccer or gymnastics and my mom or dad would cook dinner while we did homework. When the meal was finished they'd call us to the table where we'd all sit together and eat. One of us would pick up the bread bowl from the center of the table, pass it to the person on our right and ask, "So, how was your day?"
This tradition continued when I went away to college. I remember being a terrified 18-year-old freshman getting dressed to meet with my first photo story subject over dinner, sitting nervously waiting for her to show up as if it were a first date. The nerves shook and the sharing began as soon as we broke bread together. The initial spilling of information and sharing of important details always happened at the table.
Meal time is a fundamental tradition I hold dear. One that I want to share with my children one day too. The table is where I learned to ask people how their day was and about their lives. My abnormally close relationship to my parents can also be attributed back to meal time together. It's the reason I've been able to explore so many people and places. Meals are the very thing that brought new friends and I together — and they each began by passing around the bread bowl.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, warm the butter, honey and milk until butter is melted and mixture begins to steam. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes, or until the temperature is between 120-130 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 1½ cups of the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the milk mixture and mix until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. With the mixer on low, add the remaining flour ¼ cup at a time until dough clears the side of the bowl but is still slightly sticky to the touch. You may not need all 3½ cups of flour.
- Continue to knead the dough in the mixer until it is smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Gently punch down dough and knead a few times. Cover it with the plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- On a clean surface roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Using a pizza slicer, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Working with each piece individually, roll the dough up starting with the fat end. Place the roll on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper so the skinny point is on the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and rise again for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Brush with egg wash and bake rolls until they are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with butter, if desired. The rolls are best the day they are made but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.