Manual Method: In a large bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, stirring till the dough forms a cohesive mass and begins to clear the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes (which gives the dough a chance to absorb the liquid, and the gluten in the flour a chance to relax) Knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes, or until it's smooth and supple. The dough should be quite stiff, but not at all "gnarly"; adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till it's noticeably puffy, about 1 hour.
Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, examine the dough's consistency; it should be quite stiff, but not at all "gnarly"; adjust it's consistency with additional flour or water as necessary. Allow the machine to complete it's cycle.
Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces. Shape the pieces into round balls, and place them on a lightly greased parchment-lined baking sheet. Working with one ball of dough at a time, center your kaiser stamp over the dough. Press down firmly, cuting to the bottom but not all the way through the dough. This is important; if you don't cut deeply enough, the shape will disappear as the roll bakes; if you cut too deeply (all the way through) the roll will form "petals" as it rises and look like a daisy, not a kaiser roll. Practice makes perfect! Repeat with the remaining
Place the rolls cut side down. (yes, cut-side down - this helps them retain their shape) onto a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the rolls, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes to one hour, or until they're almost doubled in volume. Turn the rolls cut side up. Dip the tops in milk and coat with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired.
NOTES : I made up a couple of batches of rolls to take to my in-laws for Christmas and they got rave reviews. Everyone is asking for the recipe.