In small bowl, combine water, yeast and 1/4 tsp. sugar; set aside.
Blend remaining ingredients in mixer with dough hook beaters, and slowly add liquid to dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed until dough is smooth, elastic and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl.
Place in lightly greased bowl and allow to raise for 30 minutes or until about double in size. Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes.
Grease fingers with shortening and, squeezing through your forefinger and thumb, pinch off 12 even sized balls of dough. Place in a greased bun pan and let them rise for 20 minutes, until they double again in size.
Bake in pre-heated 400° F oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. After removing from oven, brush with melted butter.