Monday, January 25, 2010


I found this recipe a while ago, more acurately sometime last summer. I took me several weeks until I decided to give it a try because, I have to admit: I didn't have much experience with yeast and doughs. Then I tried it and this has been my favorite yeast dough ever since. And during this time I gained more experience on the matter.

I have to mention two important things:

  1. I used Five Roses - Canadian flour, which I think made all the difference in the appearance of these brioches. The closest that comes to this type is Bread Flour, if unbleached, even better.

  2. I preferred to use unsalted butter instead of lard. It was a great choice I believe, it made the inside of the dough very light and flaky.

And here is the recipe for 10 big or 12 medium sized Ensaimadas (in Italics, copied from the link mentioned above):


  • 500g bread flour (plus additional as needed )

  • 75 g sugar

  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

  • 40 g fresh yeast (= 1 cube) or 1 package active instant yeast (1/4 oz)

  • 200-250 ml lukewarm milk

  • 2 eggs (M)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 150 g soft pork lard - in my case unsalted butter

  • powdered sugar for dusting

Add the flour together with sugar and salt into a large bowl and mix well. Make a hollow in the center, add the crumbled yeast as well as a decent pinch of sugar and pour over just enough of the lukewarm milk until the yeast is covered. Stir the yeast milk once or twice, then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 15 minutes or until the surface of the yeast milk looks bubbly.

Add the other ingredients (the remaining milk, eggs,olive oil ) and knead well, either by hand or with your kitchen machine until the dough comes together nicely. I used less milk in the beginning, but later I used up all the 250 ml and let it knead at medium speed for 6 - 8 minutes. Let the covered bowl rest again in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled.

Punch it down softly, then flip the dough onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle with flour. Cut into about 10 - 12 equally sized portions and form into neat little balls, before letting them rest – sprinkled with flour, covered with a kitchen towel – once more for at least 30 minutes.

Shaping the Ensaimadas: Flatten one doughball, then roll out with a rolling pin (use flour as needed) until you get a pretty thin dough oval/circle and brush it generously with the softened pork lard or butter.

Roll up cautiously, then let rest for a couple of minutes and continue with the other dough balls. (Meanwhile line the baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone mats.)

Coil up each dough piece until it resembles the house of a snail (tuck the outer end under), ideally very loosely, because any spaces will fill up as the dough rises further.

This is how my first one looked, trying hard to imitate the one on the original recipe:

Accidentally the next ones looked something like this:

If you look closer, you'll note the difference on how the dough's edge goes. First is upwards, the second downwards. :)

Place about five Ensaimadas on one baking sheet, making sure to leave enough space between them. Lightly brush with lard/ butter and cover up again.

This was interesting as I read: the final rise is supposed to last overnight, yet I baked mine in three different batches (with rising times of 1 hour, 4 hours, 13 hours) and we preferred their look and taste with shorther rising times (1 and 4 hours). But do as you like.

I also baked after approximately 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390° Fahrenheit) and bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and let them cool down on a wire rack for a couple of minutes, then generously dust with powdered sugar and enjoy while still warm.

Hope you will try this recipe and will be as happy with the outcome as I am.

I will also post the other goodies I baked using this same recipe. So keep in touch, see you soon!