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Combine water and milk in a microwave-safe bowl and heat to 105-115F (40-46C). Be sure to stir before checking the temperature as sometimes the microwave heats unevenly.
Pour warmed water/milk into large bowl (or you may use a stand mixer) and add yeast and a generous pinch (about 1 teaspoon) of granulated sugar. Stir briefly and allow mixture to sit until foamy (about 5-10 minutes). If yeast does not become foamy, it may be dead or your liquid may have been too hot or not hot enough. You will need to discard and start over.
Once yeast is foamy, add 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, melted butter, egg, egg yolk, and salt. Stir until well-combined. Gradually add flour and stir (use a spatula or wooden spoon or the dough hook attachment on your mixer) until you have a soft, slightly sticky/tacky, but still manageable dough. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for several minutes until you have a smooth, elastic ball. If dough is too sticky to manage you may add more flour, but do so sparingly. You want the dough to be somewhat sticky! (If using a stand mixer, you can knead with the dough hook and your mixer on a medium-low speed for several minutes.)
Transfer dough to a large, clean, lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (this could take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
After rising, gently deflate the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 even pieces (see note I form the dough into a ball, divide the dough in half and repeat until I have 8 even pieces). Form each piece into a smooth ball.
Line a standard-sized cookie or baking sheet with parchment paper, dust the parchment lightly with corn meal (this will keep the rolls from sticking), then transfer rolls to prepared sheet, spacing them evenly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until increased in size 50%. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F (190C).
Once rolls have risen (it’s OK if they’re lightly touching each other, you’ll just cut them apart after baking) and oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap and lightly brush rolls with reserved egg white³ and sprinkle with sesame seeds. If you notice any bubbles forming on the surface of the buns, take a toothpick and gently pierce the bubbles so they deflate.
Transfer to oven and bake on 375F (190C) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow rolls to cool completely and then use a sharp serrated knife to cut in half lengthwise. Enjoy!