Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and use a little of the butter to butter a 9inch glass pie dish. Whisk together the milk and eggs, then add the bread pieces and turn to coat them evenly. Leave the bread to soak for 15 to 20 minutes, turning over once or twice.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining butter over medium heat. Fry the soaked bread in the butter until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the bread to the baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the honey and the hot water and stir until the mixture is evenly blended. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla and drizzle the mixture over and around the bread. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved