In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of sugar in the warm water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.
In a small saucepan, add the milk, shortening and sugar. Warm the milk to nearly a boil at 190°F or until tiny bubbles appear around the inside of the pan. Turn off the heat and set the pan in a cool place or an ice bath until the milk mixture cools to about 85°- 90°F.
Add the yeast mixture to the cooled milk mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 3 cups of flour. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and start mixing on low speed. Slowly pour in the milk and yeast mixture and continue to mix until no lumps of flour appear, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. At this point, the mixture will resemble a batter. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the mixture has doubled, about 2.5 hours.
Punch the dough back down. Return the bowl to the mixer with the dough hook. In another bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour, then add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and stir to combine. Mix for 4-5 minutes to knead the dough. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and dust lightly with flour. Using a pastry scraper, cut the dough into 1 1/2 oz. pieces. Dust your hands with flour and gently roll each piece into a small ball, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Using a slotted spoon, dip the dough into the melted butter. Arrange 6 dough balls in each baking dish. Set the baking dish in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size for 1 more hour. (Note: if you have extra dough, follow the instructions above except dipping the rolled dough in butter. Set the un-dipped rolled dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. When you are ready to bake, dip the dough in the melted butter and arrange in the baking dish. Follow the same steps for proofing the dough and baking.)
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Arrange the oven rack to the middle of the oven.
Bake the bread until the tops are dark golden brown, 35-45 minutes. Let the bread cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped lardo and seaweed butter.
Using a food grinder with a wide grinding die, grind the lardo. Alternately, if you do not have a food grinder, use the grating attachment on a food processor to process the lardo. Transfer the ground or grated lardo to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the garlic, rosemary, salt, red chili flakes, and vinegar. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the laver, butter, and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth and the laver has broken down to small bits. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.
Makes about 30 rolls
2 cups milk 1/3 cup sugar, plus an extra pinch
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup warm water, 100°-105°F
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 lb. lardo1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. salt1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 oz. (20g) laver sheets, about 10 sheets, thinly sliced
1 lb. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
Staub Mini Rectangular Dish (8oz.)