Special equipment: a 12-cup fluted tube pan or 8-by-10-inch pan
For the pecan glaze: Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan or 8-by-10-inch pan. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add the pecans and set aside.
For the bread: Combine 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, undissolved yeast and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, or in a large bowl. Heat the milk, butter and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F); stir into the flour mixture. Stir in the eggs and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Continue to knead in the mixer at a speed of 1 or 2 until the dough is smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. Alternately, knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 32 pieces; roll into balls. Pour a third of the pecan glaze into the prepared pan and place a third of the dough balls over it. Repeat twice with the remaining glaze and dough. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free space until the dough rises to the top of the pan, about 45 minutes. Or, you can let it rise in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours, in which case you should let the dough rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.
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