15 Dec2008

Guava Stick?!?

by Marketman


A few years ago, in the midst of my first ensaimada obsession, I must have baked more than 150 ensaimadas to try and master a recipe. As I gave away the experiments to friends and family, one of our best friends let on that the secret to the coiling and airiness of her tita’s ensaimadas was a guava stick. I must have looked at her quizzically, as visions of beating the dough with a stick flashed through my mind, or worse, poking holes in the dough, so she went on to explain further. She described the stick as a long narrow branch of a guava tree, perhaps 1/2 inch in diameter and with the bark peeled off so it was relatively smooth. Having never seen one before and frankly, not sure how to use it properly, I relegated the tip to one of my food filing cabinets at the back of my brain…


Before the next Christmas season, that friend sent over a guava stick, specially acquired to aid in my rolling and coiling. The problem was, I still wasn’t sure how it was actually used. And that Christmas I went light on the ensaimadas. So a few weeks ago, when Marc mentioned that my ensaimadas (using his recipe) looked a bit dense, he said I had to use a stick. Aha! Where was that guava stick? After a few minutes searching, the stick was located. I oiled it up a bit and started a batch of ensaimada dough…


After sprinkling the dough with cheese, I rolled it up around the guava stick, and I must say, it rolled up really nicely. However, I had some difficulty getting the dough to slip off the stick and coil in the pans. I think the cheese got in the way sometimes.


I think I have to see an expert use the stick, as I found that while it rolled up very easily, I was cursing by the third or fourth try and squishing it down when I imagined it just slipping off effortlessly…


We tried buttering the stick a bit more but it still seemed to be malfunctioning, or rather, I should say I was malfunctioning with it.


And the end result? Frankly, I could see NO DIFFERENCE in the crumb of the ensaimadas. I placed baked ensaimadas (stick or no-stick) side by side and one was not airier or rose higher than the other. Maybe the stick is supposed to make it easier to coil but that didn’t work well for me this first time around. So until I receive a good tutorial from an expert, I will just roll the dough by hand…



  1. Lex says:

    Could it be that your stick is too knobby? This is how my lola used to make her ensaimada. Rolling it with a stick was supposed to add to the flaky consistency. Our recipes did not have any cheese but a lot of butter. From my recollection, the rolled dough used to just slide off from the smooth stick. I guess it takes some practice to get this technique right.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 8:54 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Lex, without the cheese and lots of butter, it is the butter between layers of dough that will make it flakey… not necessarily the stick. I think this would have slipped off with more use and lots of butter… :)

    Dec 15, 2008 | 8:57 am

  4. CecileJ says:

    haha! A good laugh on a Monday! (malfunctioning along with the stick!)

    Hmm, what if you roll first a part of dough that does not have cheese as maybe it’s the cheese that sticks to the stick. then sprinkle the cheese on the remaining dough and roll?

    I haven’t tried baking enaimadas so I really wuldn’t know if this would wprk. ;-)

    Dec 15, 2008 | 9:06 am

  5. CecileJ says:

    Sorry for my typo (“wprk” – i meant work.) Also, what did you mean by “squishing the down down shen”? Chinese term for frustration? Joke!

    Dec 15, 2008 | 9:09 am

  6. diday says:

    The resilient guava… from ‘tirador’ now upgraded to a rolling pin.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 9:54 am

  7. Connie C says:

    Been trying to figure how to work the stick myself.

    Unless it is the angle of the shot or an optical illusion, your stick looks curved? and has a larger diameter on one end. Are you sure you are sliding it on the right end? You may be a smart man but it is said, was it Ben Franklin who could not figure out the mouse won’t fit going back the same hole it went out in the first place. Jes wondering.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 9:55 am

  8. Marketman says:

    ConnieC, yes, you are meant to slip it off the thinner end. And curved is good I gather for the purposes of coiling. Diday, that’s right, the best tiradors always used to be made of guava, strong but yielding. CecileJ, sorry, typos fixed. I tried the roll with no cheese and that was a little better but not great.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 10:27 am

  9. chrisb says:

    Hi MM. It seems to me that since you’re basically doing the same thing to the dough with or without the stick, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. You’re right to note that it’s just an aid in coiling, and if it doesn’t make the coiling easier, then there’s really no point in doing it I guess. But i do see how it can make coiling the dough much faster if you’re making hundreds of ensaimada. Just make sure there is no cheese on the starting edge where the stick comes into contact with the dough. And i think it will help a lot if you sand the stick smooth and perhaps give it a slightly tapered shape towards the tip so the dough slides out with ease. My 2cents worth…

    Dec 15, 2008 | 10:35 am

  10. Marketman says:

    chrisb, good idea, I never thought to sand my own stick… hmmm, must give this at least another chance or two…

    Dec 15, 2008 | 10:46 am

  11. Connie C says:

    Just for kicks,MM, try a real straight stick next time and see how it works.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 10:54 am

  12. sister says:

    Don’t stand the stick on its end, try pulling it out sideways,flat on the counter, fat end first, then coil rolled up dough onto baking pan. The stick was used to place an air pocket in the middle, more space for the layers to expand into. Leave a 1″ strip where you begin rolling without any cheese so the dough will not stick to the greased stick. You might try using the cut off handle of a long wood spoon. Frankly I don’t think it makes much difference, just a different technique, what really matters is how much clarified butter you slather onto the stretched out dough before you roll it up. The old bakers made hundreds of ensaimadas very efficiently without a stick…
    By the way, you can tell if the person who coiled the ensaimada was left or right handed by the direction it turns around. Counter clockwise for lefties.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 11:16 am

  13. sister says:

    Stretch your dough thinner, you should be able to read the newspaper through it. If you have kneaded it adequately and used high gluten flour bread flour it will not tear. A wedge shape will give you a fatter end to beging the coil with, make sure you tuck the thin end on the outside edge under.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 11:25 am

  14. kate says:

    looking at the photos, i am still trying to figure out how you managed to get the sticky batter off the stick :) Thank you for sharing. This is definitely a very interesting step in your ensaimada experiment :)

    Dec 15, 2008 | 12:40 pm

  15. Chad says:

    I thought it made some sense that rolling with a stick would produce a noticeable flakiness- the image in my head was the thought of how they made croissants by making multiple layers by folding the dough. A straighter stick is a good idea, you may want to soak the stick in water overnight then reshape the next day.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 12:58 pm

  16. t2rad says:

    maybe instead of squishing the dough down, try banging the stick (or tapping it) to get the ensaimada dough onto your pan – I imagine this will make a nice-looking pile any carabao would be proud of!

    Dec 15, 2008 | 3:14 pm

  17. Angela says:

    Does the stick have to be from a guava tree? How about a wooden dowel from the hardware store?

    Dec 15, 2008 | 4:08 pm

  18. greasemonkey says:

    disclaimer: i really don’t bake

    however, from yakitate japan (it’s a baking anime), i seem to remember that the dough’s (ideally low) temp also contributes to the flakiness? meaning, rolling with a stick should minimize the extra heat that your hands impart on the dough when you handle it?

    =) hope this helps you out some, MM!

    Dec 15, 2008 | 4:11 pm

  19. MarketFan says:

    no tips from me..sorry. just wondering how they make barquillos. do they use a similar stick? and then what? totally ignorant about this..

    Dec 15, 2008 | 5:04 pm

  20. Mimi says:

    mukhang pamalo ng batang makulit naman pala ang guava stick…from the picture the rolled out dough looks too thick baka kaya hindi flaky. I followed Marc’s recipe, but used “ghee”/clarified butter in the dough mix and for greasing, and normal butter for rolling and it turned out better than the Ensaimada Part II recipe. I actually use a silpat to roll out the dough and lift the silpat and use it to help me roll the ensaimada before coiling it. I could actually read the word silpat clearly on the mat, that was how thin the dough was. I did use a greased rolling pin – noodle pin actually – instead of using my hand because it gave a more smooth and even consistency to the dough. Good Luck on your next ensaimada escapade, MM!

    Dec 15, 2008 | 5:20 pm

  21. diday says:

    Almost everyone in the Philippines has a guava tree in the garden. Guava has many medicinal uses. Tea made from guava leaves is known to cure stomach aches and diarrhoea and the fruit contains natural vitamin C. Well.. the branch in this case could just be someone else’s trade secret.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 5:44 pm

  22. marissewalangkaparis says:

    T2rad’s comment on carabao _____ has me giggling till now. Good to hear these things. Now I know what I need to do for that hinayupak na ensaimada when I attempt that in January.
    Marketfan,they have a cylindrical roller when they make the barquillos. They place the batter (like hotcake consistency) onto a hot round plate–then as it cooks,they roll it with the cylindrical roller. Then they let it roll off the cylinder. It looked so easy .(Yikes!! Does that make sense?) I used to but a lot of barquillos and once I needed so many-I decided to visit the barquillos factory. Smell was so good you’d get hungry as you enter the factory.
    Anyway MM—hope you get that thing all figured out. Yup looks like a good whipping stick…Hahahaha.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 8:21 pm

  23. michelle h. says:

    MM needs a non-stick stick.

    Dec 15, 2008 | 10:01 pm

  24. Maria Clara says:

    The wooden ensaimada stick that I am aware of has tapered end. The holding/pick up end is flat approximately one inch in diameter and the other end is approximately 1/4 inch in diameter and cut slanted (bias) at approximately 2 inches at 45 degrees angle (the slanted/small end begins the coiling process and aligned with the dough in). The stick is greased to start with as you go along naturally it greases itself with the dough contact. The cheese stays in the dough I believe is the purpose of the cut angle. The dowel is totally different from the ensaimada stick as the dowel cut in same throughout no tapering or negative slanting/sloping cut of the wood. Sister is right once you rolled in the dough seams down and ensure the seams are close or sticking well to the dough still doing the work on the counter then pull out the stick still on the counter and start coiling right on the counter again and transfer the coiled ensaimada into the greased mold – not in the mold and twisting the dough around. No offense please my apology, your guava stick looks like the cane stick that General Yamashita used to lay out his treasure map right on the ground or the one that I used herding cats at the foot of Mount Arayat. Fresh guava leaves and wood is good for barbecuing or smoking.

    Dec 16, 2008 | 1:43 am

  25. Maria Clara says:

    Your fifth photo if I am using our stick the bigger end is my holding end – where my hands will be (the end where you pull out the stick) and the slanted end is aligned with the dough no showing or peeking of the slanted end of the stick or no stick showing at all on the other end (the slanted end). I can picture the problem when you pull out the stick is like the dough being traumatized from small end you take out the big end of the stick. Your fifth photo is my talking point.

    Dec 16, 2008 | 1:54 am

  26. san says:

    Maria Clara…do you have a picture of your so- called ensaimada stick? I really can not imagine such a contraption the way you described it above. If anyone can find a local manufacturer for such a stick…pls ask for mass production…I would be interested in buying a few.

    Dec 16, 2008 | 3:12 am

  27. Maria Clara says:

    San, I do not have a picture of the ensaimada stick. The best way I can describe it here – it is like a shorter version of a billiard/pool stick. My grandmother had them in 30, 24 and 18 inches long and the bigger end starts with one inch in diameter and the slanted/tapered cut at 45 degree angle at approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. So when you rolled the dough in and right after you pulled out the stick and lay flat the dough – seams down and sticking together with the dough – on the counter you are working on it is a tapered dough – it will pick up the shape of the stick and the smaller end is where you start to coil in the dough. She had them made in woodcarving place in Betis, Pampanga and I know any woodcarving place in Betis, Pampanga knows how to make this ensaimada stick.

    Dec 16, 2008 | 3:37 am

  28. betty q. says:

    If I recall, MM, we used to chill the dough when we made the croissants. While, one sheet is being rolled out by mnachine, the others stay in the cooler on the racks…keeping the dough cold at all times. …each croissant is hand rolled into crescent shape and I didn’t have any difficulty rolling it. I can see your picture up above that it looks really really soft! Maybe if each ball is kept refrigerated , it would be far easier to roll out, buttered, then smothered with cheese…so when the stick comes in contact with the dough, it will not give any resistance when the stick is taken out…no adhering to anything. I think you don’t e ven need to butter the stick. I think it will work…just work with cold piece of dough….that is if you want to stick it out!!! But i cannot imagine really doing this one at a time if you have to make hundreds like your Ate said!

    I don`t use a stick but tom. I do have to make ensaymadas for my dearest little brother. I will try your stick method and my hand rolled method!

    Dec 16, 2008 | 3:40 am

  29. betty q. says:

    San, …in other words what Maria Clara is telling us…is picture a pencil when you need to sharpen it and put it in a pencil sharpener…the part that goes inside the pencil sharpener is what she is talking about….tapered end! …now extend that 1 inch sharpened piece to about 18 inches long….that is a really mighty long sharpened tip of a pencil!!!!Can you picture it…

    Dec 16, 2008 | 3:48 am

  30. betty q. says:

    Pahabol. MM…say after you have rolled your chilled dough with the stick and taken out the stick, youmight want to do the rolling of the chilled dough and sticking, etc. on all of them first or whatever the yield of the recipe is…by the time you get that last piece of chilled dough, the very first one you have rolled is ready for coiling. It would have softened a bit by then making it way easier to shape it!

    And no, MM it isn’t a man thing! My very own sister has coiling issues too!

    Dec 16, 2008 | 4:05 am

  31. Maria Clara says:

    Bettyq: You are correct about the sharpened pencil end but the ensaimada stick is different. It is tapered throughout until it gets to the end where it is cut in a biased/slanted at 45 degree angle. In others words the diameter is not uniform like a pencil or dowel. So picture this, the bigger end which is the handle/pick up part is one inch in diameter so in the middle the cut is negatively sloping like I use an increments of an eighth of an inch. So the bigger end is one inch or 8/8th of an inch then it is gradually reduced/sloped (negative sloping) to 7/8th then to 6/8th to 5/8th inch to 4/8th until the reached 2/8th of an inch or 1/4 of an inch then cut an angle two inches long.

    Dec 16, 2008 | 4:09 am

  32. marc medina says:

    tamag tam si maria clara. yun mismo. MM baka nga pakita ko sa yo pano paggamit when i get home. kelangan kasi nakatabingi yung stick mo. eniwey, baka nga walang difference talaga, force of habit lang kasi sa kin, and sometimes i add more butter INSIDE the ensaimada BEFORE i spread the queso, kaya nagkaka-layers. ewan. baka sa pag-ikot ko lang….

    Dec 16, 2008 | 9:21 pm

  33. raquelnilson says:

    I was just looking for an ensaymada recipe and found all these posts which got me laughing like crazy. my neighbor here in san diego has a guava tree and now i am very tempted to ‘accidentally’ break a branch just to be able to try this coiling method. hmmmm …

    Dec 17, 2008 | 9:19 am

  34. andykamatis says:

    Mr. MarketMan, I was fortunate enough to have actually witnessed Barquillos-making in Bacolod. They spread out the batter in a flat cooking metal like the ones used to make lumpia wrapper in the palengkes and then roll it in a stainless tube.

    Jan 6, 2009 | 11:22 pm


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