Yes, these can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, before the second rise in the baking pan. Just give yourself a couple of hours before serving to bring the dough rolls to room temperature and to continue to rise, depending on how much they rose under refrigeration. A soft, airy roll is depending in large part on a thorough second rise, so the rolls look quite puffy before baking. These rolls are based on the genius of Smitten Kitchen. If you want and need frosting on your rolls as my husband Dan does, make a simple but great buttercream with ½ cup softened butter, 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and ¼ cup tahini. Spread it on the rolls once they’ve cooled a bit.
For the dough, in a small bowl stir the yeast, warm milk, and a tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside until the yeast is creamy and little bubbles appear on top, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of the stand mixer or other large bowl if mixing by hand, whisk the melted butter, eggs, and remaining sugar. Add the yeast mixture.
Using the dough hook, or by hand, gradually add the flour on low speed, incorporating it into the liquid. Add the salt with the last add of flour. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes. The dough will be soft, smooth, and slightly sticky.
Thoroughly coat another large, clean bowl with oil. Turn the ball of dough in the bowl to coat it, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap (not touching the dough). Lay a clean towel over the bowl and set it in a warm place to rise. I put it in the oven on the proof setting, or in an oven briefly heated to 110 degrees. Let the dough rise until tripled in size, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the tahini and butter until the butter has melted. Stir until combined, then refrigerate until the mixture is solid but stirrable/spreadable.
Butter a baking dish about 9- to 10-inches wide by 13- to 15-inches deep, or about that size. I like to use a beautiful dish that can go right to the table.
To make the rolls, turn the dough out onto a large, well-floured countertop. Roll the dough to about 18 inches wide and 15 inches deep.
Spread all of the filling evenly on the dough, leaving an inch perimeter dry, without filling. Write “HI” in the filling and take a picture for Instagram…
Tightly roll the dough lengthwise (the long side is rolled). Pinch the seam closed as tightly as possible, fatayar-style. Which means: keep pinching and pinching until you feel the seam won’t open. It still will, a little, but we gave it our all.
Turn the log seam-side down. Using a very sharp serrated knife, score the log into 2-inch slices. Keep a big piece of paper towel or cloth handy to wipe the knife as you cut. Slice the log, wiping the knife blade after each cut.
Carefully place the rolls, spiral facing up, in the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and set aside to rise until very puffy, about 30 minutes. Or, refrigerate the covered rolls overnight. Be sure to take them out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before baking to bring them to room temperature before baking.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the center.
Brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds.
Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked through. Take care not to overbake the rolls; the internal temperature of the rolls around the perimeter of the pan should read about 180 degrees.