2 cups warm water (90 degrees F to 100 degrees F)
2 packages yeast
6 1/2 to 7 cups bread flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup shortening
Mix warm water and yeast together. Add half the flour, sugar and salt and beat until well mixed (a heavy-duty mixer or food processor is useful here). Add egg and shortening and gradually add the remaining flour. Knead for about 5 minutes. Put into oiled bowl. Cover with damp cloth and refrigerate. Divide into quarters next day (or up to three or four days later).
Shape the rolls as suggested below. Brush with milk and top with seeds as desired. Allow to rise at room temperature 1 to 2 hours. Grease baking pans as necessary and bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Form small balls and put 3 in each muffin cup.
Roll larger ball in butter, then in sesame seeds.
Shape into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter and 8 inches long; make a loop and pull end through to make a knot.
Roll quarter of dough into a circle and spread with soft butter, cut into wedges and roll to form crescents.