1 package (2 1/2 tsp./.25 oz/7g) active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F/40 degrees C to 46 degrees C)
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz/113g) butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated (or superfine baker's sugar) sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon water
Soften yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. In a large mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, and salt; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy. Add 1 cup of the flour and the milk to the beaten mixture. Separate one of the eggs. Add the egg yolk and the remaining 3 eggs to beaten mixture. (Refrigerate the egg white in a covered container.) Add softened yeast and beat well. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining flour until smooth. Gather dough into a ball.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 2 hours), then refrigerate dough for 6 hours. (Or, omit the 2-hour rising time and refrigerate the dough for 12 to 24 hours.) Stir dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 portions; set 1 portion aside. Divide each of the remaining 3 portions into 8 pieces, making a total of 24.
With floured hands, form each piece into a ball, tucking under edges. Place in greased muffin cups or brioche molds. Divide reserved dough portion into 24 pieces; shape into balls. With a floured finger, make an indentation in each large ball. Press a small ball into each indentation. Combine reserved egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush onto rolls. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size (45 to 55 minutes).
Bake in a preheated 375 degree F/190 degree C oven for 7 minutes and brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for about 8 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.
Makes 24 brioche rolls.
Date: April 27, 2003