1 (1/4th oz) package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees) + 1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup milk, scalded and cooled slightly (should be about 100 degrees too---not too hot, not too cold. To scald milk, heat on medium high heat until bubbles form around the edges of pot. Be careful--milk can easily burn!)
1 egg, beaten with a fork
1 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp warm water for egg wash
Combine the yeast and the warm water/sugar in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Mix with your finger until combined (no yeast clumps) and let sit for about five minutes until foamy and creamy.
Meanwhile, combine the beaten egg, the milk, the shortening, the sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Add the flour and the yeast and mix for about six minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. If using a Kitchen Aid, use your paddle or dough hook attachment and mix on medium high speed until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. It will seem sticky at first, but keep mixing (or kneading by hand) and it will become smooth.
Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover with a dishcloth or plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove dough from fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle that's about 1/4th inch thick. Spread your softened butter all over dough, leaving an inch around the sides of the rectangle, being careful not to break through dough with butter.
Fold one half of the rectangle towards the center and fold the other half over as well on top of the first layer so you have three dough layers (see above photo). Fold in half one more time, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough again to a long rectangle (being careful of the butter---roll gently) and fold dough again into thirds like a book. Place back in fridge for 30 more minutes. Repeat this process two more times.
At this point, you can either proceed with the directions or you can wrap your dough tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
To proceed, roll dough out to 1/8th inch thick. Slice into triangles like above photo. Roll each triangle up, starting with wide end and tuck the "tail" underneath the roll. Place rolls on a lined baking sheet, cover with a dishcloth or more plastic wrap and let rise 1-1.5 hours until double in size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine egg yolk and warm water and brush on each roll. Bake rolls for 12 minutes until golden brown.
about 3 hours