I am really excited to make this post as Ensaymada is something is close to my heart as it really reminds me of my childhood.
Sourced from: http://burntlumpia.typepad.com/burnt_lumpia/2009/03/filipino-ensaimada.html
Makes: 12 sweet brioche rolls
1 tablespoon, plus 4 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
4 teaspoons salt
3 whole eggs
9 egg yolks
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature
Filling (all are optional):
Grated Edam cheese (I'd used this filling in 4 buns)
Cinnamon and brown sugar
Macapuno (coconut strings)
(Do not skimp on these as they are the highlight of the buns)
Milk: for brushing on top before baking
Softened butter: for brushing on top after baking
Grated Edam cheese: for sprinkling
In the work bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the yeast, warmed milk, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
In a separate large bowl, sift together the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt. Stir to combine.
At this point, the dough is pretty tough, but your mixer can handle it. (mine did.. just)
After the dough just comes together, remove it from the stand mixer and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick.
Place half of the butter in the middle of the dough, then fold 1/3 of the dough onto the butter towards the centre. Place the other half of the butter onto the middle of the dough, then fold over the other 1/3 of the dough onto the butter making a parcel.
Fold the dough into a little package or ball shape, and place back into the work bowl of the stand mixer. (This way of incorporating the butter ensures that it actually gets into the dough. If you just added the butter a tablespoon at a time to a running mixer, most of the butter ends up on the walls of the work bowl and on the outside of the dough, rather than on the inside. I learned this tip from Alton Brown's brioche recipe.)
Exchange the paddle for the dough hook on your stand mixer, and knead the dough and butter for 10-15 minutes on medium speed until butter is well incorporated and the dough becomes glossy and elastic--you may have to scrape down the bowl and hook a few times. (you will notice that it will begin to pull away from the sides)
Remove the dough from the work bowl and roll into uniform ball. Add the dough, seam side down, to another large bowl that has been lightly greased. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in volume, 1-3 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is. (Mine rested for 1.5 hours and it was HUGE!
After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, roll it into a ball again, then place back into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the covered bowl into the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, pinch off 24 balls from the dough, each about 2-inches in diameter. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough balls to rise again for another hour.
Roll out a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is about 12x4 inches. Sprinkle your filling of choice (cheese, cinnamon and sugar, macapuno) in the center of the rolled out dough.
Roll the dough over the filling lengthwise into a rope shape about 14-inches long. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls until you have 24 ropes.
Take two of the ropes and twist them around each other to braid them. Repeat with the other ropes until you have 12 sets of braids. Then form each of the braids into a spiral shape, making sure to tuck in each of the ends.
(I only filled 4 with cheese and used the rope method.. I gave up and ended up making the rest in spiral shapes with no filling). Place each spiral into a greased fluted brioche mold, or into a greased 4-5 inch tart ring. I'd used just a plain baking sheet. I like the rustic look
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 Celsius). Brush the top of each of the Ensaymada rolls with some milk, then place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Bake until the rolls are golden brown on top (you can leave them in there for longer if you want them a deeper brown).
Remove the buns from the oven and let cool slightly. Brush the warm buns generously with melted butter butter, then sprinkle on as much sugar and cheese as you'd like.