Ensaymada is a Filipino style brioche that are deliciously slathered with softened butter, topped with grated cheese and finished with a sprinkling of sugar.
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!
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. Or spoon the flour into the cup until heaping, level it out using a knife.
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.
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.
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 at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
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. Take the dough out of the fridge. Allow to rest for about ten minutes, Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 20-22 portions. Shape each portion into a smooth ball and place them on lightly greased brioche molds, silicone muffin cups, or on a regular-sized muffin pan(s).
If you want the spiral logs of type ensaymada, divide the dough into 28 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 14 spiral logs in total.
Cover the shaped dough loosely with plastic wrap and let them double in size for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Bake the ensaymada at 350 F for about 12-15 minutes. The tops should just be lightly golden.
Spread the buttercream icing on top of each ensaymada, sprinkle the grated cheese, and finish with a sprinkling of sugar. ( For logs, brush them with softened butter or margarine, then sprinkle with sugar.)
Freezing the Brioche (Ensaymada Dough)
You can divide the dough in half and double wrap one half with plastic wrap, then with foil. It can stay frozen for up to a month. To use it, thaw it wrapped in the fridge overnight, shape, let rise for two hours then bake.
- To keep the ensaymada fresh and soft, store at room temperature in a tightly covered container for ut to 3 days. Warm them in the microwave for 8-10 seconds before eating.
- You can also use just plain softened butter or margarine as the topping instead of making buttercream.
- 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!
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