Make the Basic Dinner-Roll Dough, using the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme as the mix-ins. Let rise as directed.
Brush two 12-cup muffin pans with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Pat each half into a 10-inch square, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut each square into 8 equal strips with a bench scraper or chef's knife. Brush the strips with melted butter.
Gently stack 4 strips on top of each other and pat into an even thickness. Repeat with the remaining strips to make 4 stacks. Cut each stack into 6 pieces. Place the pieces cut-side up in the prepared muffin pan and gently separate the layers. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let stand until puffy, about 45 minutes.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees F. Brush the rolls with some of the melted butter. Bake, switching and rotating the muffin pans halfway through, until the rolls are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Brush with the remaining melted butter. Let cool 5 minutes in the pans, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Warm the milk and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan or in the microwave until very warm (110 degrees F). Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook; mix in the sugar, yeast and 1 cup flour until combined but still lumpy. Let stand until the mixture is very bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Add the butter, salt and 2 cups flour; mix on medium speed until smooth and elastic, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs until combined, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl as needed. Add 1 1/4 cups flour and the mix-ins, if using; mix until the dough is smooth and starts to gather into a loose ball, about 4 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky; if it's too wet, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour.
Lightly oil a large bowl; scrape the dough into the bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
You can freeze the finished rolls for up to a month. Before serving, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, then reheat in a 375 degrees F oven for 10 minutes. Yeast Tips Check the label: Make sure you use the type of yeast in the recipe. Active dry yeast is not interchangeable with rapid-rise or instant yeast. Use a thermometer: Don't guess the heat of the liquid you're adding; take its temperature. It must be at least 110 degrees F to activate the yeast. Watch your dough: Rising times can vary depending on the heat of your kitchen. Use the times as a guideline and follow visual cues for all the steps.
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine
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