Combine yeast, milk, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl; stir well. Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and salt; stir well. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing well. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 minutes.
Add eggs, vanilla, and remaining flour; stir well. (Dough will be slightly sticky.) Tie dough loosely in a large piece of cheesecloth; drop into a deep pan of cool water (70° to 80°). Let stand 1 hour or until dough rises to top of water. Remove from water. Remove cheesecloth, and shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls.
Combine sugar and pecans; roll each ball in sugar mixture. Twist dough into figure 8 shapes, and place on greased baking sheets. Let stand 5 minutes. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Oxmoor House Homestyle Recipes
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