1 cup whole milk, warmed
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
Optional topping: 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter mixed with 1 tablespoon honey
Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar together in a mixer bowl. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. With a dough hook or paddle attachment, mix/beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If the dough seems too wet, beat in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough.
Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 3 full minutes to knead the dough or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3 full minutes.
Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl and coat all sides in the oil.
Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours or until the dough is double in size.
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9-inch square or round baking pans. You can also bake the rolls in a cast iron skillet or on a lined baking sheet.
When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 14-16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange in the prepared baking pan.
Cover shaped rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and turn the pan halfway through baking. Remove from the oven, brush with the optional honey butter topping, and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving.