All Things Pinoy,  Asian Flavors,  Baking Recipes,  Bread-making,  The Breakfast Bin,  Timeless Treats,  Yeasted breads

Brightly golden Ensaymada sunshine

If you’re wondering where I’ve been this past week, I’ve been in the hospital. I got sick with the dengue fever and had to be confined for seven unfortunate days in the hospital, four of which were spent fighting off recurring high fevers. It was my first time being hospitalised and I hope I never have to go back for many many many years to come. I find it ironic how I never get seriously sick ever and the one time that I do it lands me in the hospital. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but I’m thankful to be home now.

Today I’m going to share with you what I feel is one of the best things that ever came out of my oven: the ensaymada. I’ve made a handful of bread since I started blogging, and most of them have been good bread. However none of them have made me feel this particular way. The moment I saw how perfect these ensaymadas looked fresh out of the oven, I began gushing over them like I have never gushed over bread before.

I was excited, giddy, but most of all, I was proud. I was proud of myself because this felt like an accomplishment. I was proud of myself for choosing and succeeding in making something truly close to home. For all the foreign breads I’ve made and loved, this one definitely takes a special spot in my heart.

The ensaymada, or the Filipino brioche, is arguably one of the more positive things that came out of being a former Spanish colony. It’s been more than 400 years since the Spaniards introduced this bread to the Filipinos and yet it remains to be a favourite. Each bakeshop (and even the hole-in-a-wall bakeries) has their own version of this classic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them are good. There are still those that are too hard, too dry, too sweet, too buttery; and that’s all too bad because it’s a great disservice to this wonderful staple.

To break it down, the ensaymadas should be these fluffy yellow breads that are almost cloud-like in their softness. When you pull them apart, the scent of butter that escapes the silk-like crumb will make your mouth water. The butter flavour is light when you eat it, but it creates a perfect complement to the usual margarine, sugar and cheese toppings that come with the typical ensaymada.

Filipinos have this habit of giving food items and pastries every time they visit someone else’s home, and one of the most common things to give are ensaymadas because everyone loves them. It’s appropriate for any occasion one can imagine, though personally it feels a bit more heart-warming to receive this during Christmastime. And it’s quite a lot of fun to make too.

You have to trust me on this one.

Golden Ensaymadas

These ensaymadas are fluffy with a scent that will make your mouth water. The butter flavour is light when you eat it, but it creates a perfect complement to the usual margarine, sugar and cheese toppings that come with the typical ensaymada.


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, 100 to 110° F *
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature, plus more melted butter for brushing the rolls
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • canola oil for greasing proofing bowl, baking sheet, and brioche molds


  • 1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. To proof yeast, add one tablespoon sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. The mixture should foam up and double in volume. This means the yeast is active. If the yeast does not foam and double, discard and repeat.
  • 2. Sift flour and salt together twice. Add about 1/2 cup of flour to the yeast mixture and set aside.
  • 3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • 4. Turn the speed to medium-low, add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • 5. Add flour-salt mixture alternately with milk, mixing until well incorporated.
  • 6. Finally add yeast mixture, beating well.
  • 7. Replace the paddle with a kneading hook and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand on a clean surface dusted with flour until smooth and elastic.
  • 8. Let the dough rest in a bowl greased lightly with canola oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until double in size, about one to two hours. Meanwhile, brush 12 brioche molds lightly with oil.
  • 9. Once risen, punch down the dough and divide into twelve equal portions.
  • 10. Roll out each piece to a thin sheet, brush with melted butter, and roll it like you would a jelly roll.
  • 11. Coil this into a spiral-shaped bun. Either place the coiled dough flat on greased baking sheets or in greased fluted brioche molds.
  • 12. Set the dough aside to rise a second time, until double in size, about an hour. When the dough is almost done, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
  • 13. Bake until the crust turns golden brown, checking from the 15-minute mark. Brush with melted butter and dust generously with sugar. **
  • Storage: The rolls will keep for about a day or two at room temperature. Refrigerate to make them last for up to 5 days and simply reheat before eating, if desired. Remember that bread is best eaten fresh.


* Water that is too hot kills the yeast so make sure that the water temperature is around 100 to 110 degrees F.
** You can also top ensaymadas with margarine, a sprinkling of sugar, and some grated cheese, if desired.
Adapted from Jun Belen's blog

I’ve promised to make these for a number of people already, and quite frankly, I cannot wait to get back in the kitchen to do just that! I’m not allowed to be doing any strenuous activity for two weeks and hopefully being stuck at home doesn’t drive me crazy.


  • Marie

    Hi! I’m so glad to find another young baker from the Philippines. Your ensaymada looks lovely and I just might try to make it too. I’ve made bread before but there’s something about adding butter and eggs that intimidate me. But your pictures changed my mind 🙂

    • Clarisse Shaina

      Well there could be a number of reasons, but just to throw around some possibilities:

      1. Did you add more flour than indicated in the recipe? Likewise, did you add less water than the recipe calls for? It’s important to have a balance between these two ingredients.
      2. Did you knead the dough until it was smooth and elastic? Meaning the dough, when stretched, forms a thin membrane but does not break apart. (Test it by stretching just a small portion into a square.) Also your dough should still be a bit moist. I think it takes around 10 minutes of kneading to get to this stage, but testing the dough as I mentioned is usually my sign that my dough is ready.
      3. Did you punch down the dough after the first rise?
      4. Did you let it rise more than the time required?

      If you could point out which step you think you did differently, I might be able to help. 🙂

  • Mia

    Hello Ate Cla! I want to try this one as well but i knead more effort kse wala ako mixer. I need to make by hand ulit. Lalaki na ang aking mga Braso.. But I need to try muna yung kopi roti mo.. Thank you sa lahat na masasarap na recipe!!

    God bless!!

    • Clarisse

      Hi again Mia! Kayang-kaya mo to! Actually mas madali para sa akin itong ensaymada na ito since it has less components compared sa kopi roti. Also this dough is much easier to handle.

      Balitaan mo ko ha! 🙂

    • Clarisse

      Hi Joselle! I would recommend you put the cheese before you roll the dough into the ensaymada shape. You can sprinkle some cheese on the dough after you brush the dough with butter in step 10. That way there will be cheese inside the ensaymada once you bite into it. 🙂

    • Clarisse

      Hi Kate! I used a fluted mold the size of a large muffin mold. A large muffin tin (bigger size from the regular muffin tins) should work fine if you don’t have fluted molds like mine. 🙂

  • rfswitch

    I tried to half the recipe but I’ve been having problems with it. During the kneading process, my dough just does not want to be elastic! I’ve attempted the half-recipe twice and both were failures. Am I doing anything wrong? I just divided all ingredients into two. Thanks!


    This recipe is wicked good. I love the softness and fluffiness of the bread, but I made few changes since my husband is a bit health conscious. Instead of using 3/4 cup butter, I only used 1/2 cup, and the remaining 1/4 cup is coconut oil. Also instead of using evaporated milk, I used coconut milk. It still turns out so yummy.

      • RIA EMMETT

        I made ensaymada again and followed your recipe. I really wanted to lessen the amount of butter, but not omit it, so this time around I made it 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup butter instead of 3/4 cup butter. The first batch I made was already soft, but I wanted it softer, so I let it sat for more than one hour for the second proofing, maybe like 3-4 hours. The result came out really good. I could still taste the butter and wass very soft. This recipe is now a keeper with the changes I made. Thank you.

  • Newbie Baker

    Hi! 🙂 I wanted to try this recipe yesterday, but my yeast did not froth unlike yours in the picture. But I was thinking maybe I need not proof my yeast, since it’s Instant Dry Yeast that I used? I did not push through with baking the ensaymada since my yeast did not froth. Haha! Can you enlighten me with my yeast dilemma? Thanks!

    • Clarisse

      Hi again! I have actually not tried this recipe with instant yeast yet but I think it will be okay to substitute the water (used to activate the yeast) into evaporated milk and add it on the latter steps as stated in the instructions. As for the instant yeast, you can add it to your flour after sifting. Instant yeast no longer requires “awakening” so to speak, so you can just toss it in with your dry ingredients. Make sure you mix it into the flour before adding the wet ingredients! Let me know if this works out for you. 🙂

    • Clarisse

      Hi Gina, I haven’t tried it for this recipe, but in general, you can do this with any yeast dough. Make sure to lightly oil your bowl before placing your dough, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap before storing in the fridge for maximum 48 hours.

  • Nona

    Hi Clarisse, I wonder where you bought your aluminum containers? I’ve been looking for a good size that i can buy even in ebay, however, they were small. In pictures they looked big or medium size ideal of ensaymada but when i got it, i was so frustrated. I got some which i bought in the Philippines, however, I am here in Canada and I have been searching for this containers. Hope you can help me. Thank you.

    • Clarisse

      Hi Nona! Could you maybe have a relative from the Philippines send you the molds? Honestly, I have no idea where else you could get them. Places as common as SM Supermarkets carry them here.

  • Nona

    I tried your ensaymada recipe and for a twist i put ube and nutella filling which tasted good. I love your recipe though my only problem was the yeast did not double in size like yours in the picture with warm water and sugar. Though my dough did double in size, it was only when i already formed them in coil and placed in the molder that 4 of them did not change in size. It was a long day waiting for the dough to rise and another long time of waiting for the ensaymada to rise again before baking. A lot of patience is really needed because of the long waiting time for it to rise. Anyway, after the long wait i was very happy for the result. I just need to perfect the formation of the “coiled” dough in the molder, because mine looked different from one another. Thank you for your reply and recipe.

  • aleli

    Hi Clarisse,
    I am reading you recipe the first time, and the proportions are a bit different than what I am used to. I would really like to try your recipe since it does look more golden and prettier. I hope be successful with it =).

  • Cheryl

    thank you for your recipe, i’m excited to try it 🙂 does the dough need to be coiled or can i just shape/roll it into a ball?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.