Line a 9x13” baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.
Proof the yeast:
Add sugar, water and yeast to the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
Make the dough:
Melt butter completely. Mix in milk and warm the mixture in the microwave or on the stovetop until it’s combined and not lumpy (but just slightly warm). Set aside to cool comepletely!
Once yeast is foamy (proofed) and butter/milk is cool, pour butter/milk mixture into the bowl of your standing mixer. Mix on low-speed until combined.
Add egg and mix until combined.
Add 3 cups of flour and ½ TBS salt and knead with dough hook. Add more flour a little bit at a time until a slightly-sticky ball forms.
Grease a large bowl and transfer dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Once dough has doubled, flour your hands and squeeze it to remove the gas.
With floured hands, form 12, equally-sized dough balls. (use a food scale to weight full batch of dough, then divide that number by 12 and make sure every dough ball is close to that answer to make even-sized rolls)
Roll them until they’re smooth balls.
Place them into your prepared baking sheet evenly spaced into 4 rows of 3.
Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30-60 minutes).
When you notice your rolls have risen about halfway, Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Place fully-risen rolls into preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the rolls are golden-brown on the top and sound hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon.
Remove rolls from oven and immediately brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.
To make ahead & freeze:
You can make these rolls ahead and freeze them for up to 3 weeks. Simply cover them tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or a lid after you have placed the divided dinner rolls onto a prepared baking sheet. Remove from freezer and let the rolls come to room temperature and rise fully before baking. Or you can bake from frozen by baking at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, then increasing the baking temperature to 375 and baking for 10 minutes more.
Milk. Any percentage of milk works well! My favorite is whole milk because it yields a beautifully rich roll. However, most of the time I use 2% milk!
All-purpose flour. You can substitute up to 1/2 of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour. However, as someone who usually makes this substitution as often as possible, I do not recommend it in this recipe. These rolls are so special and are truly the best when made with a good all-purpose flour.
Granulated sugar. I love that these homemade rolls are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The sugar is also important in getting the yeast to rise. I don't recommend making substitutions for the sugar in this dinner roll recipe.
Butter. There is NO substitute for butter in this dinner roll recipe! However you can use unsalted butter if desired.