In a small bowl, add the yeast to the warm water and sprinkle with 1 pinch of sugar. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes, until the yeast is foamy. In a large bowl combine the remaining sugar, the flour, and salt. Stir to combine. Using your fingers or a fork, mix the butter pieces into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse "pea-sized" crumbs.
Add the yeast mixture, the warm milk and 1/2 cup olive oil to the flour mixture. Continue mixing until all the ingredients come together to form a soft dough. If the mixture is too wet, add 1/4 cup more flour and continue to mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to continue to add a light dusting of flour to your work surface to keep the dough from sticking. (This dough is very soft.)
Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down in the center and pour it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions, about 2 ounces each.