Combine warm water, yeast, and 1/4 tsp sugar and stir--allow to rest for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
Pour yeast mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or into a large bowl if you plan on kneading by hand). Add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, warm milk, butter, egg and salt. Blend mixture until combine.
While mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour, mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 - 6 minutes. You may not use all of the flour called for!
The dough should be soft, very slightly sticky when touched with a clean finger. It should be pulling away from the sides of the mixer.
Grease a large bowl with cooking spray or a tiny bit of oil. Place the dough in the bottom of the bowl and turn it over once to coat all sides in oil (this helps keep it from drying out.)
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll each dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle about 1/4’’ thick.
Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough, lengthwise, into two pieces. Then slice the dough into six strips across so you end up with 12 small rectangles.
Roll each small rectangle up like a snail and place, open edge down, on a lightly greased or lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the second portion of dough.
Cover rolls loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 10 - 13 minutes until cooked and golden brown. Remove from oven and brush tops with butter.
Store rolls in an air-tight container. They also freeze really well.
To make ahead: Make the dough up to 1 day ahead of time. Put the roll dough in the refrigerator for the first and or second rise depending on how far ahead you are making them. The refrigerator will slow down the rising process. Then bake them just before serving! Nothing beats a warm homemade dinner roll.To store: Store dinner rolls at room temperature in an airtight container or ziplock bag. They will stay fresh for 1-2 days, although I think they taste most fresh stored in the freezer and then re-heated for a few seconds in the microwave.To freeze: First bake them as instructed and allow them to cool completely. Then put the rolls in a gallon freezer bag and store for up 1 month. When ready to eat, just pull them out of the freezer and allow them to come to room temperature before eating or pop one in the microwave for a few seconds, and serve warm.