Mini Brioche with Honey

If you're not aware by now, I have a small obsession with bread. Baking it AND eating it. They say that man cannot live on bread alone, but maybe a woman can. THIS woman. And buttered bread? Well, that holds a special place in my heart. But how about a bread that has the butter already in there? Baked inside! The effect of this butter inclusion is a fluffy, moist, slightly sweet and oh-so-tender roll. And if it's served warm with just a touch of honey....well don't expect me to stop eating them.

Brioche is this bread that combines butter and flour in this satisfying way. It's excellent for breakfast, but it's also a fantastic roll for sliders....mini brisket sliders, in fact. I discovered this usage a few weeks ago when I helped a friend throw a Hanukkah party. Throw a little bit of brisket accented with horseradish-infused creme fraiche in between the buttery top and bottom of a brioche roll and you will be singing the dradle song with enthusiasm!

I happen to think that brisket is good year round...but I have a lot of wacky ideas on food. That's why you come here, yes? Oh let's hope so.

Anyway! You can make this up to a week in advance and freeze them. You can also double this recipe because it only yields about 8 minis (more if you make them smaller). I got about 20-22 by doubling it. I know that's fuzzy math, but hey, it's the truth.

Let's get going:

What You Need:

2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons hot milk (125 degrees F)

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces

Butter for greasing the tins

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for a nice shiny wash)

What You Do:

In a heavy duty mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 3/4 cup flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. (NOTE: I actually used my food processor for this whole thing and it turned out great).

Add the hot milk and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually beat in the remaining flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is soft but holds its shape, about 2 minutes.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1.5 - 2 hours.

Scatter the butter pieces over the dough. Knead on medium speed for 1 minute. The dough should be very soft and batterlike (almost like a cake mix). Scrape the dough into an oiled, deep bowl. Cover tightly with oiled aluminum foil and refrigerate over night.

Grease 8 mini brioche tins with butter.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and separate it into 8 small, equally-sized balls.

Cut off 1/4 of each of the dough balls for the "top knot" of each mini brioche. Roll the larger portions of each piece of dough into balls and place in the mini molds.

Cut a cross on the top of the dough in the molds with a sharp knife. Push your finger through the middle of the incision to the bottom to make a wider indentation.

Roll the smaller pieces of dough into balls and then pull one end slightly to elongate it into a point (like a tear-drop shape).

Place the pointed end of the top knot into the indentation of the bottom dough ball. Repeat for the 7 remaining molds.

Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 40-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the brioche gently with the egg mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Immediately turn the brioche out onto a rack to cool, and serve them warm With HONEY! And coffee!