Stonehill Tavern Kobe burger

Cotter, Christine -- - The American Kobe burger is photographed at Stonehill Tavern in the St. Regis resort in Dana Point on 7-26-06. (Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

Stonehill Tavern Kobe burger

Total time: 3 hours, plus overnight standing time

Serves: 4

Note: From chef-partner Michael Mina of Stonehill Tavern. You don't have to make all parts of this showstopping burger -- the buns, ketchup or mayonnaise can be store-bought. But any one of them, even just the truffle cheese, elevates it to something special. Truffle butter and truffle cheese are available at gourmet shops such as Monsieur Marcel in Los Angeles and Nicole's in Pasadena. The brioche dough makes six buns. The pickled onions are best started the day before.

Truffle brioche buns

1/4 cup milk

1 ( 1/4 -ounce) package dry yeast

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

5 eggs, divided

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

4 ounces truffle butter, at room temperature

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk to 105 to 110 degrees. Pour it into a large bowl, add the yeast and stir to dissolve. When the yeast gets slightly foamy (after about 10 minutes), stir in one-half cup of flour. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside for an hour in a warm place.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place four eggs, the yeast mixture, 2 1/4 cups of the flour, and the salt and sugar in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed until well mixed. Continuing on medium speed, slowly add in the butter and truffle butter.

3. When completely mixed, the dough should be fairly wet but pull away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Add flour as necessary, up to 1 cup. When the mixture starts to pull together, switch to a dough hook and knead for a few minutes.

4. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into six flattened balls about half the size of the buns that you want. Place the balls on a greased and floured cookie sheet, leaving space for them to rise. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Place the buns in a warm place, and allow them to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5. Brush the buns with an egg wash -- one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Pickled onions