Fine textured, soft and lightly sweet, ensaymada is a Filipino style brioche that makes perfect snacks. This recipe is really easy and most time is spent waiting for the dough to rise. The results are really worth the time!
Hello! I have been so eager to write this post since early this week because I can’t wait to share this recipe. But you know, blogging tasks around here comes on an installment basis. I write blog posts usually around 4-5 am, because that is when I am least in demand from my two girls. I like the short moments of peace and quiet that I am able to sit down and write.
Anyways, Last week was such a moment of joy for me as I got my hands on these homemade, warm, soft and butter glazed ensaymada. To have them homemade has always been my dream!
I have been putting the idea of making ensaymada in the back of my list since I had my fair share of fails. Instead, I have a recipe for an easy version one. While those are not really the real thing, they taste good and the recipe is foolproof too.
But then, I have had the itch to bake the real deal ensaymada forever. An authentic brioche dough, I have been hunting for this recipe for so long.
When these ensaymada came out of the oven, and when I took my first bite, my glee was immeasurable. Like a little baker’s victory. I’d shout to the roof if that was my style, but the face of glee for me is really just a big smile from ear to ear, and a heart that is secretly dancing inside my chest.
Now my assumption is that you are here because homemade ensaymada is your dream too. My only hope is that you don’t look at the recipe down here, find that it is so lengthy and then you walk away!
While the recipe is long and seems complex, it is really simple. It is just broken down into stages to better illustrate the process. And the process is nothing more than having the heavy duty mixer work for you!
With that being said, I have to note right now that the two major things you need to have for this recipe are a heavy-duty mixer, and lots of time.
My mixer is an Oster*, given to me as a gift by my aunt from three Christmases ago (thanks aunty Joanne!) It is pretty reliable and heavy duty. I have made countless batches of different kinds of dough with it. Kitchen Aide, of course, is also a heavy duty one, but if you are looking for something that works well for a lesser price, Oster * is my best bet.
Important notes for making Ensaymada:
- Be careful not to over bake them. This is because they are so fine textured that if baked appropriately, you’ll be on cloud nine but overbaked, they will be tough and dry.
- Take the butter out of the fridge ahead. You need room temperature butter to add to the dough. It should be soft but not oily or greasy.
- To measure the flour, fluff the flour in the container with a fork. Dip and scoop your measuring cup to get a heaping amount, then level it down by sweeping it with the edge of a knife. This way, the cup is not over-packed that you end up using more flour than needed.
- This recipe yields dough that is good to make 14-15 pieces of long shape ensaymada ( 7 pieces per half of the dough). After the long chilling of dough, you can divide it in half and freeze the other half so you have ready ensaymada dough to bake when you need it (such a win for me.)
Ensaymada: The Process
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast, 1/3 cup warm milk ( 110 F), 1 egg and 1 cup of flour. Use a rubber spatula to combine them.
Once combined, add another cup of flour and sprinkle it on top of the yeast mixture to cover ( Do not stir) . Let this stand untouched for 40 minutes. After that time, the flour should develop some cracks on the surface.
The photo below shows the flour cracks after 40 minutes of letting the mixture still. You now have successfully completed the first process which is making the sponge.
Now add 4 lightly beaten eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup all purpose flour to the same bowl. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and beat the mixture on low speed just until combined, about a minute or so. Add another half cup of flour and beat the mixture on medium speed for about 15 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl if needed.
An indication that the dough is ready is when you see it gathering itself into the center of the bowl, and attaching itself into the dough hook. As the mixing progresses, you will see the dough slapping the sides of the bowl. It is like the dough is throwing itself , almost violently, into the sides of the bowl but still clinging to the dough hook. You can hear the slapping sounds the dough makes against the bowl.
(If after ten minutes, there is no sign of gathering together and no indication of slapping action, add about 3 tablespoons of flour into the bowl and continue beating until you hear the slapping sounds. Keep beating for a full 15-20 minutes.)
After the slapping action, you are now ready to add the butter. Bit by bit, drop the softened butter into the bowl, letting them mix well after each addition. Now at this stage, the dough which has gathered beautifully earlier, will start to fall apart again.
Just continue beating and you will see the dough gather again, and make the slapping sounds once more. This should take about five minutes. At this stage, you will have a shiny, sticky and smooth dough.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let stand in room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
( Sorry that the dough in the mixer photos looks so yellow! Our kitchen lights are yellow, and I don’t yet have the luxury of time to shoot step by step photos in the daylight. The dough should look dirty white as seen in the photos below.)
After that, You are going to quickly handle the dough before the long chilling : Gently lift the risen dough from the bowl, section by section and letting it fall back to the bowl. Do not directly punch the dough down.
And again, cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
After the long chilling, the dough is now ready to use. At this point, you can divide the dough in half and double wrap one half with plastic , wrap with foil, then freeze. It can stay frozen for up to a month. To use it, thaw it wrapped in the fridge overnight, shape, let rise for an hour then bake.
Now let’s get the other half of dough ready for baking.
Divide the remaining half into 14 equal portions. Roll each portion into a log that is about 4- 5 inches long. Take two logs and twist them together to form spiral logs. Seal the ends close by pinching the logs together. Place in a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Do this with all remaining logs . You should have 7 spiral logs in total.
Cover the assembly loosely with plastic wrap and let them double in size for about 1 and 1/2 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Make the egg wash glaze by beating 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Brush the surface carefully with the egg wash using a pastry brush.
Bake the ensaymada at 350 F for about 15 minutes. The tops should just be lightly golden.
If unsure, I strongly recommend using a thermometer. Stick it into the center of one of the ensaymada. 200 F and it’s done. Turn off the oven. Let the ensaymada cool slightly. Brush softened butter or margarine in the surface and sprinkle tops with sugar.
- To keep them fresh and soft, Store at room temperature in a tightly covered container and do not refrigerate. Warm them in the microwave for 8-10 seconds before eating.
- Have you seen #ensaymada on Instagram lately? Lots of variety! People have topped them with many delicious things! Ham and cheese, chocolate, yema and so much more! They all look so good!
Finally, here is the recipe! I hope you enjoy this!
A Filipino style brioche that is made special with toppings of butter, sugar and sometimes, grated cheese.
FIRST PART: THE SPONGE
- 1/3 cup warm milk (temperature should be 110 F)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
SECOND PART: THE DOUGH
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 oz) room temperature
FOR THE EGG WASH
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp cold water
FOR THE TOPPING
- softened butter unsalted, for brushing the top
- granulated sugar for sprinkling
MAKE THE SPONGE
In the bowl of heavy duty mixer, Add the yeast, milk, egg and 1 cup all purpose flour. Mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the top as if to cover mixture. Let this stand for about 40-45 minutes. There will be cracks on the flour surface at this point.
MAKE THE DOUGH
Add the sugar, salt, eggs and 1 cup of flour to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Using a dough hook, run the heavy duty mixer on low speed for about a minute , until the mixture is just about incorporated. Add the remaining half cup of flour and run the mixer in medium speed. Continue to beat, scraping the bowl as needed, for about 15-20 minutes. You will know when the dough is ready if it is coming together in the center of the bowl, and also attaching itself into the dough hook. You should see the dough slapping the sides of the bowl, like it is almost violently throwing itself to the sides white it still clinging and rotating with the dough hook. You should also hear the slapping sounds. ( If you don't see the slapping action after ten minutes into the mixing , sprinkle about 2 -3 tbsp of flour to the bowl. Continue to beat until you reach the slapping stage , giving the dough a total of about 15-20 minutes in the mixer ).
Now add the butter bit by bit. Make sure that the butter is in in room temperature, but not warm or oily. It should be pretty soft and malleable. It helps to enclose the butter inside a wax paper, press it down using your thumb or beat it with a rolling pin to give it a malleable consistency. When you add the butter, the dough will fall apart again for a moment. Continue to beat until you hear the slapping sounds again. This should take about 5 minutes or so. The dough is now , once again, clinging together in the center and in the dough hook with the slapping sound. Dough is sticky but shiny at this point.
Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let stand in room temperature until the size is doubled, about 2 hours.
After the dough has doubled in size. Simply lift it in sections until you have gone around the entire circle of dough, lifting and then letting it fall back to the bowl ( like deflating it but very gently. Do not punch the dough down.) Cover the bowl again with a plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. The dough will double in size again.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
After chilling, divide the dough in half. Double wrap the other half with plastic wrap and then with foil. Freeze for up to a month *( Skip this if you plan on using the entire amount of dough and yield 14 pieces of ensaymada. Work with half a dough at a time.) Divide the dough into 14 equal portions. Roll each portion into a log that is about 4-5 inches long. Take two of the logs, twist them together to form spirals and seal the two ends by pinching the logs closed. Place the spirals in a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining logs. You should have 7 spiral logs in total. Cover the assembled dough with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 and 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Make the glaze by lightly beating one egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Using a pastry brush, brush the top surface of the ensaymada dough with the egg glaze. This will give the ensaymada a nice golden look. Bake the ensaymada for 15 minutes or until very lightly golden. Be sure not to overbake or you will end up with a dry, tough ensaymada. I strongly recommend inserting a thermometer into the center of ensaymada. Once it reads 200 F, it is done. Let ensaymada cool slightly then brush the tops with softened butter or margarine. Sprinkle with sugar.
You can also be as creative as you want by adding grated cheese and other toppings like ube spread, yema or dulce de leche. Store in tightly covered containers at room temperature. Microwave them prior to eating for about 8 -10 seconds
Recipe adapted From Nancy Silverton, from book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.
Originally published on December 1, 2016.
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