- 2 3/4 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast (from 2 envelopes)
- 6 cups (about) plus 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons corn oil
- 1 pound pitted dates, chopped
- 1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
Whisk 2 3/4 cups warm water and molasses in large bowl to blend. Sprinkle yeast over. Let stand until foamy, about 6 minutes.
Whisk whole wheat flour and salt into yeast mixture. Whisk in 1 cup unbleached flour. Using flexible rubber spatula, stir in 4 cups unbleached flour. Mix in enough unbleached flour by 1/4 cupfuls to form sticky dough. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead until smooth and only slightly sticky, adding more flour if very sticky, about 8 minutes. Coat inside of another large bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Add dough and turn dough to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Punch down dough; shape into ball. Cover with plastic and let dough rise again in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss dates with 1/3 cup unbleached flour in medium bowl to coat. Scatter dates over dough. Knead dough in bowl to distribute dates evenly. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Divide each piece into 6 equal pieces about the size of small lemons. Using floured hands, shape each dough piece into small ball. Transfer dough balls to prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Cover with kitchen towels and let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
Position racks in bottom third and top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush tops of rolls with egg glaze. Bake until rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, reversing sheets once, about 20 minutes. Transfer rolls to racks; cool completely. DO AHEAD Date rolls can be prepared up to 4 days ahead. Wrap in foil and freeze. Thaw rolls in foil.