Bacon-Filled Bread

1 pound bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 eggs, lightly stirred
4 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
1 package dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten, mixed with 1 teaspoon milk

Place the chopped bacon and onion in a heavy skillet; barely cover the mixture with water. Place the skillet over medium heat and boil off the water. When the water is gone, in about 1 hour the mixture will have cooked into a rich brown filling. It will crackle and pop to announce that it is done. Remove from the heat. Drain the grease through a sieve and allow it to drip while it cools. When cool, chop again under a knife or in a food processor to be certain the mixture is finely cut. Set aside.

In a small saucepan heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted. Don't bring to scald, however. Remove the milk from the burner and when it has cooled to lukewarm, stir in the eggs. Set aside.

Into a mixing or mixer bowl measure the dry ingredients. Stir to blend by hand or with the flat beater and slowly pour in the liquid mixture. It will make a heavy batter. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to form a rough mass that can be lifted from the bowl or left under the dough hook. Add sprinkles of flour if the dough is sticky. The dough under the hook should clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball around the hook as it revolves. If it sticks to the sides, add sprinkles of flour.

Kneading: If by hand, turn the dough from the mixing bowl onto a floured work surface, and knead aggressively with a strong motion of push-turn-fold. The dough will become smooth and elastic. Or knead in the mixer bowl with the dough hook. Knead for 10 minutes.

First rising: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and put aside to double in volume, about 45 minutes.(If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising times by approximately half.)

Second rising: Punch down the dough with your extended fingers, cover the bowl again, and let the dough rise to double in size, about 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, knead for a few moments to press out the bubbles, and roll until it is about 1/2"thick. Cut out circles with a 21/4" biscuit or cookie cutter. Lay the dough circles aside as you cut them. The dough will have pulled back as the circles are cut. With your palm or wrist, press back into original shape, or perhaps a bit larger. Put about a teaspoon of cooled bacon mixture in the center of each circle of dough. Draw the sides of each circle up and over the bacon. Tightly pinch the seam together, and place each bun, seam under, on the baking sheet.

Third rising: Cover the buns with wax paper or parchment paper and allow to double in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees about 20 minutes before baking. Brush the buns with the egg-milk wash. Place in the oven on the middle or bottom shelf. The glossy brown buns will bake in about 20 minutes. The buns are best served warm from the oven. They can be frozen and reheated for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.