3 tablespoons warm water (105° to 110°)
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 tablespoons honey, divided
3 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt
1¼ cups whole milk, warm
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Flaky sea salt
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together the water and yeast, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot until the yeast blooms, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the honey.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Stir the milk into the yeast mixture, then add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. With the mixer on low speed, combine the mixtures for 30 seconds. Cut 6 tablespoons of the butter into small cubes and add the butter, a little bit at a time, until the butter is completely incorporated and a smooth, soft dough forms, about 10 minutes.
3. Use a tablespoon of the butter to grease a large bowl. Add the dough ball to the buttered bowl, gently turning the ball once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.
4. Use a tablespoon of the butter to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to punch the dough down slightly. Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to divide the dough into 24 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, covering the rolled balls with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap while you work so they don't dry out. Arrange the balls snugly in the buttered pan. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°. Use the back of a knife to make a deep crease down the center of the rolls and cover again for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and melt, swirling the pan occasionally. Add the thyme and set aside for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme, rewarm the butter and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of honey.
6. Use a pastry brush to brush the rolls with the honey-thyme butter and sprinkle the rolls with the flaky salt. Bake until the rolls are puffed and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the rolls in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.