I think I have recovered fairly enough from those days of sadness over the typhoon victims to be able to write my recipes again. I have to — this is the best way to cheer myself up and to make sure my recipes will never be lost. I have promised a long time ago I will write my Ensaymada Recipe and I guess it’s time I did. Che and Mama and the rest who were waiting, sorry for the delay.
2 3/4 cups plain flour, sifted and separated into 2 1/4 cups and 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (or one foil packet of Tandaco dry yeast)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
35 grams butter
1 egg — size I use is EXTRA JUMBO or an average of 70 grams; if you use a smaller size, you would have to adjust otherwise your dough will be dry and annoying to work with
plain white sugar for sprinkling so I can’t really say how much, but maybe set aside about 1/2 cup — you will understand later
about 90 – 100 grams melted butter for brushing
shredded cheese — I like to shred my own cheese, the packed shredded cheese would also work but they are quite thicker
What you need to do:
In a small saucepan in low heat, warm in low heat the 35 grams of butter, milk, and water until the butter melts. As soon as most of the butter is melted, turn off heat. Using a candy thermometer, check the temperature. It most probably be around 70 degrees C. You would have to wait until it cools down to 40 degrees. If this mixture is too hot, it could kill the yeast and not work.
While waiting for the temperature to go down to 40 degrees, mix together in a bowl the 2 1/4 cups of flour, the 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and yeast with a spoon.
When the temperature of your milk mixture is down to 40 degrees, pour this into your flour mixture while mixing. In this step, I use my mixer’s hook attachment. Gently add the egg and your remaining 1/2 cup flour . Continue mixing until they bind together. The dough should not be dry. On your counter, sprinkle some flour as needed and gently knead your dough for about 5 minutes or until smooth and doesn’t stick to your hand. The dough should be soft. Form into a ball. Spray some oil in the same bowl you used earlier and place your dough in it. Spray a bit of oil on your dough ball. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Your dough will not rise here so don’t worry. This step is just to rest it.
After the 10 minutes are up, cut your dough in two (this is only because it is easier to work with a small dough at a time) and set aside the other one in the bowl for later.
Shape the dough into a log. Cut the log into about 12 pieces using a knife or a rubber spatula.
Do the same with your other half of the dough. This is similar to a step found in my Spanish Bread recipe.
Take one piece, and flatten it using a rolling pin without worrying how perfect the shape is, just make them long enough to roll.
Brush with melted butter (try to leave a bit of the top part without butter), sprinkle with a bit of sugar and sprinkle with just a little bit of grated cheese (the one in photo didn’t have cheese — the rest did :)). Roll up the flattened dough lengthwise (this is opposite to how the Spanish Bread is rolled) until it forms a cigar shape. Yes, some of the butter might ooze out while rolling — you will master this as you do it again and again. (By the way, if you see any green/bluish spots, just ignore it — I earlier made something with food colour and guess some didn’t come off my hand but came off onto the dough)
Coil the cigar shape starting from the center and then tucking in the end part at the bottom (see photo). Place on a wax paper lined baking tin (yes, I use my dependable pizza tin).
After you have finished flattening, brushing, sprinkling, rolling and coiling everything, brush the leftover melted butter on top. Cover loosely with aluminium foil and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours. (Remember my tip? No? OK. Turn on your oven to 180 deg C for 1 minute — no more! — then turn off. This is now a perfect place to rise your dough because it is just warm and draft free.
After 1 1/2 hours, your dough should have doubled in size.
Prepare your foil wall (what??? you don’t remember this from my previous blogs? OK. Just connect strips of aluminium foil and place it around your dough just so the sides don’t burn.
Bake in your oven which should have been preheated to 170 deg C for about 20 minutes, rotating your pan after the first 13 minutes or so. Take out of the oven, cool for a little bit. Spread some butter on top (yes, it is buttery ensaymada!), sprinkle with white sugar (I sprinkle lots) and then serve with grated cheese on top.
For those who want melted cheese on top, put the cheese after sprinkling sugar, and put back in the oven until cheese is melted.
In the unlikely event there are leftovers, freeze and then warm in the microwave or oven as needed.