Ensaymada is a very popular pastry in the Philippines and which is usually part of ‘merienda cena’ (afternoon snack, en Español). It’s just one of those days when you crave for a taste from back home.
Ensaymada is a type of brioche bread that’s slathered with butter, sugar and generous amount of grated cheese. Some have found creative ways in adding different flavours to it to give it a modern twist. For now, I’m sticking to the traditional ensaymada. It’s the sweet and salty flavour that evokes memories of home for Filipinos all over the world.
The recipe I’ve adapted is from Chef Michael Smith’s cinnamon rolls, it shares the same bread base as ensaymada. There are other recipes for ensaymada that uses only egg yolks to make a richer dough, that will be for my next attempt.
Make sure to prepare:
Stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments
Slightly oiled / buttered bowl
Slightly oiled /buttered muffin or brioche pan, if using a baking sheet line it with parchment paper
Ingredients for the dough:
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cup flour
- 1 pkg instant yeast
- 4 eggs
For the ensaymada make-up:
This is just a guideline, you can slather as much butter as you want, more cheese if you please, you get the idea…
- 3/4 – 1 cup softened butter, this (you can also make creamed butter if you wish)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup regular granulated sugar
- 1 or more cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (optional, just to add another flavour dimension)
1. Warm the milk with butter, brown sugar, the vanilla and salt. Best to set the stove on low – low medium, this way it does not scorch the milk. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat. Set aside.
2. Place the half of the flour and the yeast in the bowl of the mixer. Using the paddle attachment beat at low speed and add the warmed milk in a steady stream. Beat until smooth.
3. Add eggs one a time, making sure that eggs are incorporated with every addition. As always you should be scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Beat until smooth.
4. Switch to a hook attachment and add the rest of flour. Once all the flour has been absorbed, you can switch your mixer to a higher speed. (You do NOT want to switch your mixer to high speed while adding the loose flour, that will be a big mess!)
5. Continue beating until the dough forms and is no longer sticky. You’ll notice too that the sides of your bowl becomes clean.
6. The dough will be transferred into lightly oiled bowl to rest. Cover it with a plastic wrap place in a warm place and wait until it doubles in size. It takes about an hour – two hours.
7. Once the dough has risen, knock it down.
8. Divide the dough into small equal parts 2.5″ – 3.5″ diameter ball. Depending on how big you want the ensaymada to be.
9. With a rolling pin, flatten out the dough until thin.
10. Brush the surface with melted butter. Add grated cheese and sugar the roll-up like you would with a cinnamon roll.
11. Now you’ve rolled it into a log, curl it into a coil, keep in mind to seal the ends. Place on slightly buttered muffin pan or brioche pans or baking sheet
12. Let rest for about an hour or until it doubles in size.
13. Bake at 325F or until golden brown.
14. Once done, let ensaymada cool and finish with butter, sugar and cheese.
Brioche recipe adapted from Chef Michael Smith’s cinnamon rolls and ensaymada steps adapted from Nora Daza.