Makes 12 (from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry)
For the brioche
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
¼ lb butter
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
½ cup warm milk
3 ¼ - 3 ½ flour

For the egg glaze
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Combine the yeast and water in a small bowl, stirring until dissolved. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Cream the butter in a large bowl. Add the sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolk and mix thoroughly. Add the milk and yeast mixture. Beat for 10 minutes, gradually adding flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to prevent stickiness.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk – about 1 hour.

Grease 12 small brioche molds.

Punch down the dough. Turn out again and gently knead for 2 minutes. Divide dough into twelve portions. Shape into balls and place into molds, twisting a small portion of dough to form traditional ball shape on the top of the brioche. Place molds on a baking tray and cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in bulk – about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To make the egg glaze, mix the egg yolk with the milk. Brush each brioche with the glaze. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool or serve immediately with preserves.

The Sicilian Twist:
Serve warm brioche with icy lemon granita. Break pieces of brioche and place in a tall glass and scoop granita over.
Another variation: Lop the top off the brioche and scoop out a little of the inside. Use the brioche as a bowl for a scoop of gelato, preferably hazelnut. Eat the bowl which becomes sodden with delicious hazelnut ice-cream. Enjoy.

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