A delicious snack or side dish that families love.
Pour 1/4 cup of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle on the yeast. Gently stir the mixture, then set it aside for 5 minutes to let the yeast dissolve.
Combine the remaining water and the warm milk in a large bowl. Cut 2 tablespoons of the butter into small pieces and stir them into the liquid along with the sugar, egg, and dissolved yeast. Use a wooden spoon to stir 3 cups of the flour into the liquid. Beat vigorously by hand for 100 strokes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm spot for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the salt and 1/2 cup of the cheese over the dough and stir it in. Add another 1/2 cup of cheese and stir again. Mix in the remaining 2 cups of flour about 1/3 cup at a time. When the dough is firm, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Use more flour, if needed, to keep the dough from sticking.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn it once to coat the entire surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough doubles in bulk, about 60 to 75 minutes. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets or dust them with fine cornmeal. Punch down the dough, then turn it onto a floured surface and cut it into quarters. Press each piece into a disk and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Melt the last 2 tablespoons of butter. One at a time, roll each disk into a 10-inch-wide circle. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of cheese.
Cut the dough into 8 wedges, as you would a pie. Starting at the wide end, snugly roll up each wedge. Place the rolls on the prepared sheets seams down, curling the ends to shape crescents. Leave as much space as possible between rolls.
Cover the rolls loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 30 minutes, until quite swollen. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Brush the rolls lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle them with sesame seeds, if you like. Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes, switching the positions of the sheets halfway through so the rolls brown evenly. When done, the bottoms of the rolls should sound hollow when tapped with a finger. Serve warm. Makes 32 rolls.