Combine yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar, and water; stir. Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.
Combine remaining sugar, milk, 1/2 cup butter, egg, and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Add yeast mixture, stirring well. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 3 balls in each of 24 greased muffin pans. Cover and repeat rising procedure 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter.