Have water at 110°-115°F and all other ingredients at room temperature.
Measure the first 7 ingredients into a bowl; whisk to combine. Set aside.
Pour the warm water into a stand mixer bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the egg and 1/2 the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Using paddle attachment, beat 2 minutes on medium speed (or mix using wooden spoon or dough whisk) until smooth.
Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. (You can also stir using a wooden spoon or dough whisk.) Scrape down batter from sides of bowl.
Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease 12 large muffin cups.
Stir down raised batter for about 30 seconds. Note that this is a thick, somewhat sticky batter.
Spoon into muffin cups, filling no more than half full. Tap pans on counter to settle the batter. Let rise until batter reaches tops of cups, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until well-browned on sides. Remove from pans to cooling rack. Brush with butter, if desired. Serve warm.