28 Feb2006


When I am not having a brilliant classic pinoy breakfast of tuyo, tinapa, tapa, tocino or lamayo with rice and fried eggs, I happily turn to a freshly baked ensaimada served with extra butter and superb homemade jam. Imagine rising early one cool morning, heading out to the garden, greeting your attention deficient labrador “good morning” and sitting down to the breakfast setting in the photo above… it doesn’t get much better than that! Add a nice ripe cebu mango, a hot cup of tea and I am in a much better frame of mind to tackle the trials of the day… The following ensaimada recipe is based almost entirely on the one provided by my sister. However, I have changed some of the measurements due to the quality of flour in Manila and the humidity and temperature while baking here. I have baked it 6-7 times and still haven’t “perfected” it.

You may have to practice a few times until you achieve the kind of ensaimada you prefer so this recipe is only a guideline, to be adjusted to one’s frame of reference and the quality of ingredients in your neck of the woods. zlp9Do not take shortcuts, look at the process as part of the grand journey to ensaimada nirvana. And if you like the fluffy commercial types of ensaimadas…STOP reading this post now, you will be sorely disappointed. This recipe should yield an ensaimada with some heft, yet light and flavorful. It will have a “crusty” browned exterior, not the soft blond mush that is “zippedeemelt” or other mall sourced concoctions… A cross-section of the bread should show layers of dough, bubble spots for trapped air and butter… it shouldn’t slice like a light cake.

Lavadora or Sponge

3.5 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
6 cups unsifted bread flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water and wait a minute or two to make sure the yeast is alive (it should bubble a bit). Make sure you use fresh yeast or you will have made a fatal error. Add flour and beat for 5 min until you have a heavy batter. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours. Use the shorter time in warmer climates, longer time in cool dry climates. It will rise and fall, that’s okay. Even better, if you are in a hot climate, you can refrigerate this for 3-4 hours, but do not freeze, yeast is a living thing. A sponge is necessary so as to give the yeast a chance to produce lactic acids and expand before the addition of other ingredients. At Lola’s bakery, the lavadora was made by the previous shift and was anywhere from 6-8 hours old. Any bread recipe that eliminates this step will not produce excellent bread. Another traditional way to increase gluten and lactic acids is to use
a piece of raw dough (10-20 % by weight) from the previous day’s batch added during the kneading process.
It’s okay to go to the movies or iron your laundry, one doesn’t have to spend time with the sponge to make it happy. Marketman prefers the refrigerator version for about 3.5 hours or so.


After the lavadora has risen and fallen, add the following:
1 1/2 c. fresh egg yolks (since eggs vary in size it is best to measure, about 18-20 egg yolks)
1 1/4 c. sugar (you can go up to 1.5 cups if you want it a tad sweeter)

And mix gently until incorporated. zlp1Gradually add 6 cups more of unsifted bread flour and 1 tablespoon of salt and mix some more. Do not reduce salt or the bread will taste “flat.” Salt also tempers the rise of the yeast which is why it is added later rather than earlier. Only experience and feeling the dough will tell you when you have added enough flour. Do not be tempted to add a lot more flour because you will end up with a hard and dry ensaimada. Marketman’s first attempt had a REALLY soft dough that seemed to grow in front of our eyes – I had too much yeast and too little flour! The dough should be soft and malleable not hard and dry-ish.

Beat for 5 minutes with a dough hook (best if you have a heavy duty Kitchen Aid or similar mixer, otherwise, you are in for some serious kneading…) or knead with your hands on a clean counter or in a large basin. Now add 1 cup of soft unsalted butter, or lard or margarine, or a zlp2combination thereof, if that is your preference. Knead butter into the dough. Dough will be very sticky and soft, let it rest for 10 -15 minutes, as this will make it easier to knead. The dough will gradually become very elastic and satin smooth after 5 more minutes of kneading. Knead on a greased surface if your mixer starts to complain or overheat. Drizzle with 1/2 c. corn oil and knead another couple of minutes until you have a smooth ball. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in it, it should fill the bowl less than half full. Cover with a clean damp cloth and allow to rise at 70 F for 2 hours or until double in bulk. In a hot kitchen, it will double in 1 hour. You may want to refrigerate for 2 hours, it will make the dough behave better when you shape the rolls. Refrain from placing the dough in a warm oven, with the pilot light on, as some who are impatient are tempted to do. A slow rise results in a better roll. Marketman prefers a 2-2.5 hour rise in the refrigerator as the dough is easier to handle afterwards… It sounds counter-intuitive that the dough would rise in the fridge but it does. Best way to make pizza dough too.


Punch down the dough and divide into 36 pieces, approximately 4 oz each or about 3/4 cup in size. Have 1 1/2 cup very soft butter or lard ready for spreading. zlp4Line up pieces on a greased surface. Take one piece and roll it out with a rolling pin until 1/8 ” thin. Spread with 1/2 tbsp. butter. Pull edges gently with your fingers and stretch to a very thin large triangle, don’t worry about holes, practice will eliminate the problem. Roll up starting with the wide edge or end; it should be about 12″ long. Coil inside a muffin pan or coil on a foil lined cookie sheet, tucking end under. You can also twist 2 together for a larger, braided look. Place ensaimadas 3″ apart on a cookie sheet. Or fill a greased muffin or ensaimada pan half full. Marketman had problems with the twist. I am certain it is a “girl thing” (and I don’t mean that badly, I just can’t get it) and I had trouble twisting and tucking but that was simply an issue of aesthetics, it didn’t affect the taste. Allow ensaimadas to rise again zlp5at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of the room. Watch carefully after 1 hr. Ensaimadas are ready to bake when they are double in bulk. They will rise further in the oven. Do not allow them to over rise and deflate or you will have ensaimadas with a fermented flavor. Beat 1 egg lightly and brush tops gently before baking.

Bake in a preheated 375 to 400 F oven on the center rack until golden brown in color, about 12-15 min for muffin size and 15-20 min for braided ones. zlp6I prefer it darker in order to caramelize some of the sugars in the crust. Remove and cool. After it has cooled gently brush with 1/2 c. more butter and sprinkle generously with sugar. Wrap each one in parchment or wax paper. If you want to freeze them do not butter and sugar before freezing, do so after defrosting. If you want grated cheese on top you can sprinkle it generously with grated Queso de Bola (or aged edam if you are elsewhere). Makes 36 muffin sized singles or 18 large braided ensaimadas.

Ingredients Notes:

YEAST – Use the freshest yeast you can find. Best to go out and buy a fresh can or pack as the cost is miniscule relative to the other ingredients in this recipe. Do not use “RapidRise” yeast as that is primarily for bread machines, not slow rising recipes like this one. More common granular yeast or yeast cakes would do well.

FLOUR – I thought I was brilliant in that I found hard wheat flour at a bakery supply store. However, I find all flours in the Philippines to be less ideal than say American bread flour. I am not sure if Philippine flour is adulterated with cassava or other ingredients but I find that I had to use more local flour to approximate the recipe made with imported bread flour. The flour and its volume is critical to this recipe. My sister sent two bags of Bread Flour from NY and this recipe worked brilliantly.

BUTTER – My sister uses unsalted zlp8French or European style butter (Plugra, I think) that is utterly brilliant. Use the best unsalted butter you can find. I use imported with the main advantage being a lower water content, I think. Using Star margarine or lard will have noticeably different taste results but use what makes you happy, I guess. Total butter or lard needed in this recipe is approximately 2.5-3.0 lbs or close to 1.5 kilo. For the topping, you can whip the butter slightly for a lighter touch.

EGGS – I use the finest organic eggs I can find in Manila. At PHP8 a piece they are expensive but the yolks are a brilliant orange yellow. The whites have viscosity and look like they should. Use the best eggs you can afford. I use roughly 19 egg yolks in my recipe.

SUGAR – While I use regular granulated sugar for the bread itself, I find that using caster sugar (finer grind) for the topping is nicer. Many times I don’t put cheese, but definitely add lots of good butter on top.


RAISINS – Soak 1 pound of raisins in 1/2 cup rum or warm water in a bottle for a couple of hours. Drain any liquid not absorbed. After buttering each rolled out piece sprinkle with 1 tbsp raisins and then roll up and coil

HAM -Use julienned fine pieces of country ham instead of raisens. zlp7Marketman tried this variation and it was really delicious. Use good ham.

PHEW! That took a while. Good luck folks and happy baking! And a disclaimer, if you fail miserably please do not blame it on us…you just have to keep at it till you get it right.



  1. Lei says:

    To MM and his very generous Sister,

    Thank you for sharing a recipe that means so much to your family. I’ll try my darn best to do justice to your generosity, and I hope I end up with something that looks like ensaimada at the very least on my very first try =).

    Feb 28, 2006 | 10:33 pm


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  3. eat matters says:

    hi MM,
    thanks for the recipe. will try it this weekend with some adjustments perhaps because of the humidity factor. i will be baking fron a very dry environment. none the less it’s gonna be an enjoyable weekend challenge.

    Feb 28, 2006 | 11:12 pm

  4. Jean says:

    Awesome. Thanks MM! :) I’m going to give this recipe a try.

    Feb 28, 2006 | 11:38 pm

  5. sha says:

    what a homework
    I know I just have to play with the flour too because we use a different kind here.

    but I look forward baking using yr lola’s recipe.

    I will let you know and certainly wont blame you
    i just blame the oven ;-)

    Feb 28, 2006 | 11:44 pm

  6. mita says:

    can’t wait to try this..the lavadora sounds almost like the starter dough for sourdough bread. i’ve been looking around for a good ensaymada recipe online for years but nothing enticed me enough to actually get me started. the ensaymada recipe i’ve always heard from my mom (which she never made herself) was one with lots of eggs and plenty of european butter kneaded into the dough (same as your recipe), on a marble slab, which someone in the family used to make but the recipe was never written down and no one else attempted to recreate.

    your recipe is IT – no other will do..I’m trying it really soon.

    thank you very much for sharing your family’s recipe.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 12:54 am

  7. sister says:

    Ensaimada Clinic:
    If you have added too much flour to the dough before kneading it,and it feels too dense, simply sprinkle with a tablespoon or more of water and knead that in. The addition of fat, be it butter, lard or margarine, will make it more malleable as well.

    If your grocery carries fresh cakes of yeast, it is the best choice, one oz. cake will be adequate for this recipe.

    In the USA Land O’Lakes butter is readily available and consistent in water content.Plugra, European style butter made in Vermont is excellent, as well as Beurre Marie, available from Paris Gourmet. Gold Medal or Pillsbury Bread flour works very well.

    A “girl thing” indeed! I take umbrage… Bread bakers are predominantly men, ease in shaping merely requires practice. Hold the fat end of the rope with your thumb and forefinger , coil the rest and tuck the end under.Make sure your ensaimad has risen adequately, double in bulk or even a little more, before baking, otherwise you will have a heavy dense product.

    And patience, please. You cannot hurry this recipe. go read a book, take a nap, etc. in between the risings. I’m out here in case you have any questions.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 1:28 am

  8. Jean says:

    MM, wish you had posted this weeks ago. Could’ve made this for my sons presentation in his french class.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 1:50 am

  9. millet says:

    successful or not, don’t forget to drink the rum in which the raisins were soaked! or add it to your coffee when you sit down to savor your creation. thanks, MM,,looks like i’m in for a whole day’s work. patience is a virtue, and the reward is…mmmmm, can almost smell it. can already hear my fork breaking through that tender, sugared, cheese-dusted crust…

    Mar 1, 2006 | 7:41 am

  10. Marilou says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My father always speaks longingly about the ensaimada of his youth and the way he describes it sounds exactly like your ensaimada. I am the designated family baker and this has eluded me for a long time. I can’t wait to surprise him. Thanks again for being so generous with your recipe.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 9:35 am

  11. joey says:

    The wait was definitely worth it! Thank you MM and sister for this wonderful recipe! I am itching to try it but a little nervous too…but hey, the ones that make you nervous are usually the best ones to try (and this is not just true for recipes!) :)

    MM, where do you buy your fresh yeast?

    Thanks for a fantastic LP 7 entry!

    Mar 1, 2006 | 9:49 am

  12. Lei says:


    Before anything, feels weird addressing you as if I am family, but thinking about it, you and MM have really opened your ‘doors’ to welcome us and educate us in this very special recipe.

    I’d just like to clarify on the yeast, I am not knowledgeable on the different forms of yeast. Are you referring to the ‘instant’ powderered yeast? Or is this totally something else? Can you recommend some brands? Probably MM can help in giving brands that are available in the markets here. I am really not that familiar so any tip will be highly appreciated.

    Again thanks to all your help. Good day!

    Mar 1, 2006 | 10:13 am

  13. marga says:

    Thank you MM and to your sister for your generosity in sharing a family “heirloom”. I have been in constant search for the “perfect” Ensaymada that could almost be like the search for the Holy Grail. I have enrolled for the nth time in baking classes that offered the Ensaymada that I liked- never liked the softy ones that stick to the walls of your mouth or the ones that are so oily because of the butter and cheese topping. I even learned Ensaymada with Mango, Ube etc fillings. My fascination with Ensaymada started with my father who loves this “bread”. I guess he too was looking for the WWII type the closest being that of Hizon’s.
    Anyway, I will surely try your recipe and hopefully put an end to my search for the ” Holy Grail”.
    By the way, your sister is such a prolific writer and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her post and allowing us to peep into your childhood memories. Thank you.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 10:15 am

  14. linda says:

    Thanks a million to you and your sister for posting this long-awaited recipe.Am not really good at baking,but my hubby is and guess what?I’m giving him a hand.Normally,when I attempt to bake,the family takes a holiday in a hurry including the cat as there’ll be a lot of tantrums and expletives in the kitchen. It’ll certainly be a grand journey to ensaimada nirvana but,I’m sure it’ll be worth the journey (through trial and error).Thank you once again!

    Mar 1, 2006 | 10:48 am

  15. Marketman says:

    Yeast update. To help those who are really going to attempt this. DO NOT use instant rapid rise yeast. That was designed primarily for bread machines and not a slow rise ensaimada recipe. Use either regular granular yeast (labelled Red Star Active Dry Yeast in cans here in Manila groceries, but open a FRESH can), Fleischmann’s imported yeast in packets labelled “Active Dry Yeast” and not their “RapidRise” at Rustan’s or better groceries. My sister says the best yeast to use is a 1 oz. cake of fresh yeast (different from granular yeast) available in the U.S., Australia and Europe for bakers there. In Manila, I have had good results with either the Red Star or Flieschmann’s.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 10:51 am

  16. Mila says:

    What a fantastic post! a perfect Almusal post too. Thanks MM and Sister of MM for the recipe, pre-recipe essay, and the challenge to make a real ensaimada.

    Just a question: do we cover the lavadora or the dough when it sits in the refrigerator? Or can we let it rise without a damp cloth cover?

    Mar 1, 2006 | 5:02 pm

  17. sha says:

    Patience indeed when I tested another recipe I started before 1pm and I did not get the actual product by 5pm.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 6:00 pm

  18. bayi & ssk says:

    Boy, just how tempting can bread be! My mouth is already salivating…

    Mar 1, 2006 | 7:11 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Mila, best to cover it I think. A clean damp cloth kitchen towel will do. Sha, this recipe takes me about 6-7 hours in total before I can sit back and stare at the results (either in horror or with contentment…heehee). I have typing elbow from the length of that post…need to rest…

    Mar 1, 2006 | 8:19 pm

  20. sister says:

    Additional tips:
    You can cover the bowl with plastic wrap or foil to prevent a hard skin from forming on the dough surface, refrigerate this way as well.
    For those who want to use lard try home rendered lard that has been gently cooked over low heat or buy lard at the grocery. German and Polish butchers usually carry it as well. In the USA Armour in the green and white box is widely available.
    Remember lard is almost 100% fat as compared to butter which is only about 83% fat so you need slightly less lard. 1 1/2 lbs or 3/4 kilo should be adequate. You still need 1/2 c. butter to brush on top.
    To spread the lard on the rolled out dough half melt it and use a pastry brush.
    For a really old fashioned looking ensaimada take two of the coils and twist them around each other, fat ends together. Then coil the twisted rope, fat end first into a circle and tuck skinny end under. Place it on a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet. It should look like you grandmother’s chignon and be about 5 inches wide uncooked.
    Let rise until double, about 2 hours at 68-70 F and bake at 400 F. This gives you the best proportion of crust to tender insides and will be what the 70 year old or over will remember as a proper ensdaimada.

    Mar 1, 2006 | 9:47 pm

  21. Mary A. says:

    MM and Sister,
    Thanks you so much, I am inspired and educated by this wonderfull “heirloom” ensaimada recipe. It is really worth the wait.
    If I want to make half the amount, could I use half of the ingredients proportionately?

    Mar 2, 2006 | 2:35 am

  22. sister says:

    Yes, you can make half the amount and use half the amount of ingrdients, just reduce kneading time by a couple of minutes.

    Mar 2, 2006 | 5:50 am

  23. fely barcelon says:

    WOW,thank you so much. I will definitely try it tonight and will inform you tomorrow of the result. I have stopped buying bread since last year as I do the baking mysel and this is a big treat to me. You are really an angel to a working mom like me. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY.

    Mar 2, 2006 | 12:00 pm

  24. rina says:

    hi MM,

    I can assure you that there’s going to be a great deal of collective baking efforts this weekend! Sister, thanks for reaching out to us – the “ensaimada challenged” :)

    Mar 2, 2006 | 2:35 pm

  25. julius says:

    hi MM,

    thanks for that wonderful articles on the ensaymada.
    instead of butter, I heat up an ensaymada and place it in a deep-dish bowl. I then take out a dollop of vanilla ice cream and drop it on the side. It’s different but makes a very good merienda! cheers!!

    hope to feature food from Negros soon!!

    Mar 2, 2006 | 5:00 pm

  26. RST says:

    These are absolutely terrific posts. And I really appreciate the fact that they are written for practical application (Gene Gonzalez’s recipe from Sulipan mentions for instance the use of 40 yolks in old recipes: I am not sure that is really reasonable to ask of the modern cook).

    I have two questions, the first one directed not just to Marketman but to the general blog readership: can someone say more about differences in regional styles? Gene Gonzalez in his Sulipan cookbook mentions a few distinctions but does not go into detail. Is there a distinct Visayan (or even more specifically, Cebuano/Boholano etc) style?

    The second question is directed to “Sister”. First of all, thank you for that magnificent piece. I want to pick your brain a little bit more re bakery practices of the pre-war (or immediate post-war) period. I assume that a “mother” batch of yeast is kept (and constantly replenished) to use continually from one day to the next. Is there a specific “mother” kept apart for ensaimadas or was the same batch used for all baked goods (pan de sal and so on). Could you also describe the oven a bit more. I assume the fire came from below (as opposed to coming from the back: Neapolitan pizza oven style), I imagine a flat roomy (perhaps vaulted?) surface and that baking pans (cast iron?) had to be shifted from time to time for even baking…


    Mar 3, 2006 | 2:30 am

  27. Marketman says:

    RST, I am not an expert but I have noticed that there are many additions or variations in toppings and types of sizes…there are the big flat ones from Central Luzon that sometimes have red egg on top. There are the ones with lots of cheese, no cheese, no butter and sugar on top. Then there are the ones with ham, raisins, etc. As to regional attribution, I would have problems identifying which is which. I will have to alert my sister to answer the second part of your question…stay tuned.

    Mar 3, 2006 | 6:01 am

  28. sister says:

    Dear RST:
    Thank you for your interest in my Lola’s bakery.
    I understand what you are referring to when you say “mother batch” as I kept one going in my own fridge for a couple of years until it spilled over and created an absolute mess.
    No, there was no mother kept alive from day to day in that bakery, a practice fairly common in Europe. Rather, at the end of each shift a trough full of lavadora was started for the next shift to use, so it was never more than 6 hours old at the most and it was used for every different bread made. It was mixed in a stainless steel lined rectangular wooden trough about 18 inches deep and 6ft. long by 3 ft. wide. Maybe weather conditions were not amenable to keeping a mother cool enough.
    The bakery was built shortly after the World War II after my paternal grandparents returned to Cebu. It was slightly below ground level for the most part, but not underground, so it was pretty cool most of the time.
    There were 2 brick ovens built by Italian stone masons who retired from the US Army and stayed behind in Cebu. They were vaulted and approximately 8 x 10 ft. and a small metal door d was in the middle for putting in and taking out the bread. It was built about 4ft. off the ground on a base of cement and bricks.It was fired from the front rigt side,not below, through another door and the red mahogany used (Before EPA) was laid on the floor of the ovens. It was basically hot 24/7 but additional logs were added an hour before the pan de sal went in on a long wooden pallet. Pan de sal was baked directly on the brick floor of the oven, sans baking pan, and it gave the bread a distinctive hard, crip crust that cannot be replicated in a gas or electric oven. No shifting of pans were done, somehow miraculously the oven temp throughout seemed fairly even.
    As the coals cooled off into embers the sweet breads, ensaimada and monay and pan de coco were baked on the black steel pans they had been rising on, and finally, the loaf breads were put in last. As far as I know there was no thermostat, only experience guided the amount of wood added to get the appropriate temp.
    The bakery used 50lb. sacks of flour, about 50 on a weekday and up to a 100 for holidays and weekends. All of it was kneaded by hand by burly bakers who were formerly employed as stevedores at the pier. There was a medieval looking contraption akin to a pasta maker on steroids that was used to further refine the loaf bread dough, just like passing dough through a pasta machine. There were 2 long narra tables that the dough was shaped on and the walls were lined with wooden shelves for keeping the pans while the bread was rising. The front of the bakery was very simple, consisting of 2 long wooden and glass aparadors. It was our job as kids to count the change and wrap them in paper for the bank on Monday morning.
    The bakery was not profitable, my grandmother supplied the whole neighborhood with free bread at the end of the day and unfortunately a dopey uncle decided to destroy the bakery and build a boardinghouse in the 70’s after my grandfather died. It was very shortsighted, as the artisinal craze for brick oven breads came in the next decade and it would have been really terrific if that bakery was still going! My grandmother always wistfully regretted the loss of the bakery, she lived until 1991.
    It was, however, only one of my Lola’s businesses, she had other related ventures as well.
    I lived in Cebu until I was five and every summer thereafter until I left for abroad. Marketman was born much later and so only has heard stories about this bakery since he grew up mostly in Manila.
    I don’t know if there are any regional styles, but I suspect that Cebu, being the original Spanish colony, was very ensaimada concious. The original proportions for this recipe started with 100 hundred eggyolks, and I have reduced the recipe for the home cook who does not need to produce several hundred ensaimadas.
    However, most of the ensaimadas sold did not have any eggyoks, the only distinct flavour was that of lard.
    Thank you for your interest in Lola’s Bakery.

    Mar 3, 2006 | 1:11 pm

  29. sister says:

    I might add that it was fairly common in the last half of the 20th century to use “Purico” a white solid fat,for baking. It was probably largely coconut oil based and it has disappeared from the general market after all the cholesterol concern elimminated it from commercial crackers and other products.
    However, coco based shortenings gave a lovely flavour and mnade very crisp crusts.
    Again, you will have to experiment with the various fats available to make an ensaimada to your own liking. Happy Baking this weekend!

    Mar 3, 2006 | 1:51 pm

  30. RST says:

    This is simply breathtaking information! Fresh out of high school and before moving to the US, I was lucky enough to study with the late Dr. Doreen Fernandez, who has remained a major source of inspiration. I am really proud that there are still folks like you and Marketman who continue her work of keeping the flame of food culture alive.

    “Sister”, you absolutely MUST put all this together in a formal piece of writing. Perhaps offer it to Colman Andrews at Saveur. You can expand on the already rich material above by reminiscing on other aspects of your Lola’s bakery operations (the making of pan de sal for instance).

    Surely brick ovens must still be quite common and continue to be in use, perhaps not in big cities like Cebu, Davao and so on, but in the countryside. I also imagine that most kitchens in old bahay na bato remain unmodernized and that baking is still done over coal/wood fire. This practice was of course nearly extinct in the US until the revival of/rediscovery of artisanal baking techniques starting from the late 70s. Excepting these recent “boutique” bakers/pizzerias, I can think of only one old-school shop that continues to use coal-fire in Chicago. But in a country like Mexico, brick/adobe ovens continue to be used, often by country bakers (who live in villages just outside big cities) who then bring in their goodies in large baskets to be sold in the markets or in traditional neighborhoods/parts of town (cf for instance the exceptional “birotes” sold outside the bus terminal in Guadalajara). This is how large cities in Mexico continue to be supplied with bread of the highest-quality: be it “teleras” for sandwiches or “bolillos” to enjoy with chocolate, or “cemitas” in Puebla, or those heavenly “pan de yema” from certain villages outside Oaxaca…

    Re: the question of yeast

    I imagine that old-fashioned yeast cakes must still be available in traditional markets. I would love to hear from those who have experience with this product. In my own Thai/Vietnamese groceries here in Chicago, I have seen yeast cakes for leavening and yeast to use as starter for the fermentation of home-made rice wine (or in the case of the Vietnamese, to make the lovely fermented rice balls called com ruou)…Surely there must be a Filipino counterpart…


    Mar 4, 2006 | 5:11 am

  31. bugsybee says:

    OMG, it will take me a lifetime to do this … but I can dream, can’t I? Thanks for the recipe anyway.

    Mar 4, 2006 | 9:37 am

  32. sister says:

    Dear RST:
    The pan de sal is missed more than the ensaimada! The pan de sal was a daily staple, available hot twice a day. We were allowed to stay up until the first pan de sal came out at 9 pm to be eaten with soft boiled eggs as a bedtime snack. Then it was lights out after that.
    I do not know of any old brick ovens in use in the provinces, although the Casa Manila house in Intramoros has a clay wood fired oven as part of its kitchen display.
    I was friendly with the family that owned Saveur originally, Meigher Publications, but they have since sold it. It certainly was the best food magazine, but too upscale for the supermarket crowd. I wish they would do a feature on Philippine food, since we are the largest migrant group in the US, after the Chinese.
    Hope you try out the ensaimada recipe on a cold Chicago weekend. I have an aunt in Chicago that gets ensaimada by fedex overnight on her birthday. She will be 75 this year but still only wants ensaimada for her birthday!

    Mar 4, 2006 | 10:25 am

  33. maria says:

    at last! someone who also shares the same liking for that long-ago kind of ensaimada. i also don’t like the super-soft-buttered-and-sugared-to-death underbaked balls of dough that’s currently so popular.

    i’ll be trying out your recipe using queensland butter. yup, i was an anchor and lurpak fan before but lately, when i made cinnamon rolls and melted the anchor bar for brushing and creamed lurpak for the filling…both were too watery and smelled less creamy. so i bought different bars of butter and melted them to see which one was the creamiest…to my utter surprise…it’s queensland and it smelled creamier too. is that for real? i’m not sure if my senses went bonkers…but are there cheaper but better ingredients available locally?

    Mar 5, 2006 | 5:24 pm

  34. Tonya says:

    I’ve never had these but they look delicious and I’ll definitely try to make them! One question though, is there no salt in the recipe? Would it be ok to add a pinch or two? I’ve always thought that bread without salt tends to taste like fluffy paper. *smile* Thanks for a delicious looking recipe!

    Mar 11, 2006 | 12:36 pm

  35. simone turner says:

    for those who were soo eager to try this, and did try, what do you think about the recipe…. a keeper or what?

    if it is that good, despite the 6-7 hours prep to baking time, then i make sure i skip my sunday date and do ensaimadas (MM style) instead.

    thank you.

    Mar 11, 2006 | 10:28 pm

  36. Xuewei says:

    This is in reply to simone turner’s comment. I tried this recipe yesterday (halved) and was very pleased with the results. The ensaimadas came out just as described. They are richly flavorful with a texture I love to sink my teeth into. And the smell when baking is heavenly I might add! However, I have only eaten a few ensaimadas in my time and would not be a good judge as to how it compares to the best. I plan to make some for my parents (who grew up in Manila) and that will be the true test! A big thank you to MM and sister for sharing this recipe. I am a new visitor, but have enjoyed what I have read on this site thus far.

    Mar 14, 2006 | 4:57 am

  37. Marketman says:

    Tonya, there is 1 TABLESPOON of salt in the recipe, it is critical to its success! It is in the write-up above, but I don’t write recipes that clearly so you may have missed it near the top… please put salt! Thanks. Simone, besides Suewei, two folks have privately emailed me that the results were to their liking. But remember, this isn’t your fluffy sweet mall version. Xuewei, glad it worked for you!

    Mar 16, 2006 | 6:56 am

  38. Marilou says:

    Everyone who has tasted this ensaimada has declared it the delicious. I have made this recipe three weekends in a row by request from family members and friends. A request not taken lightly because this recipe is a bit time consuming and truly a labour of love. Definitely a keeper!

    Mar 19, 2006 | 7:44 am

  39. Marketman says:

    Marilou, so glad it worked for you. I hope others work up the nerve to try it. I had to work with the recipe at least 6 times until I was satisfied… it is definitely worth the effort!

    Mar 19, 2006 | 1:49 pm

  40. trishlovesbread says:

    This recipe turns out PERFECT ensaimadas–thanks MM! Actually your recipe is almost identical with my mom’s except instead of corn oil, she uses evaporated milk. When newly baked, these ensaimadas and my mom’s taste the same. The difference lies in that after a few days, these ones stay more moist. On my third try, I used only half of the corn oil, and substituted the other half with milk. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.

    Message for MM’s sister: where can I get affordable ensaimada molds in NY? I’ve only seen them (brioche molds) at Williams-Sonoma–YIKES, expensive!

    Mar 22, 2006 | 6:08 am

  41. Marketman says:

    trish, glad the recipe worked for you, still dreading the first comment that I poisoned someone… have relatives send you ensaimada molds from Manila, they are about 25 U.S. cents each in the large groceries and work perfectly. No need to get expensive W-S molds.

    Mar 22, 2006 | 9:53 am

  42. simone turner says:

    thanks MM,i’ll try your ensaimada recipe this week and can’t wait to enjoy at least 2 freshly baked homemade ensaimadas soon. will let you know about this “looking-forward-to” date with your ensaimada. thanks again. one more question pls, is there a way you can post the clone recipe for supermelt ensaimada too?

    Mar 22, 2006 | 7:48 pm

  43. Marketman says:

    simone, I don’t have a recipe for the sweeter, fluffier versions but i suspect they have a lot more sugar, rise longer, are baked at lower temperatures for shorter periods of time…

    Mar 22, 2006 | 9:10 pm

  44. Simone Turner says:

    MM, still havent had the chance of doing your ensaimada. But really sort of analyzing your recipe for some time now. Just one thing please, i noticed you use bread flour. Most ensaimada recipes, being a sweet dough-base like cinnamon rolls, usually call for all-purpose flour. Can i substitute?

    Mar 25, 2006 | 9:03 am

  45. Marketman says:

    Simone, it’s best to do it with bread flour. Alternatively baker’s hard wheat flour called Primera in the Philippines works okay, and all-purpose flour your last choice. Try it as written first, then you can play with it to your liking. I understand the hesitation and trepidation, but if you just do it you will end up with a good ensaimada and with practice, hopefully a great ensaimada. Others have tried it as is and seem pleased…

    Mar 25, 2006 | 12:12 pm

  46. DCD says:

    3rd time’s a charm.

    1st time the yeast was bad and the bread didnt rise, 2nd time – realized that all-purpose flour doesn’t turn out the same quality for breadlike consistency, today, they came out just right!

    thanks for sharing MM.

    Apr 2, 2006 | 10:25 am

  47. Marketman says:

    DCD, perserverence pays off…glad they finally came out okay!

    Apr 2, 2006 | 11:11 am

  48. ms says:

    thank you for this recipe. i grew up in cebu too, and i remember our breakfast fare of ensaimada, churros, pan de sal and pan de leche. family members had different favourites, so we all had these on the table. my lola’s cousin had a bakery next door, so we use to get our bread hot and fresh every morning.

    i am looking for a recipe for pan de leche which was my favourite in my youth. are you able to help.

    sadly the bakery next door also no longer exist. and on the many trips i’ve made back to my hometown in Cebu, i haven’t come across the same flavour that I use to enjoy so much.

    i’ve tried some spanish recipes, but I think the Filipino version is already modified. It was soft, not too sweet, milky, but white. so i figure that it probably didn’t use butter.

    one thing i remember from the next door bakery was the huge cans of lard that they used for baking.

    Apr 16, 2006 | 8:48 am

  49. Marketman says:

    ms, I don’t have a recipe for pan de leche but if I come across one I will certainly post it…

    Apr 17, 2006 | 1:44 pm

  50. Annie Radley says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful ensaymada recipe. I have been looking for several years but with no success. I took lessons from Sylvia Reynoso few years back before I moved here in the US but it was not like the ensaymada that we buy from our local panaderia.
    Do you recomend cake flour with this recipe? Although, Pillsburry and Gold Medal are both a good choice .

    Apr 17, 2006 | 9:14 pm

  51. Marketman says:

    Annie, DO NOT use cake flour. U.S. bread flour is best, just the stuff you get in the grocery is good…

    Apr 17, 2006 | 9:41 pm

  52. Marketman says:

    aridelros, no I havent tried the tender trap ones… but I am partial to ensaimadas with heft and texture rather than the softer sweeter ones…

    Apr 18, 2006 | 8:18 pm

  53. jeff says:

    Hi Marketman,

    First off, congratulations to you for an outstanding website!! I discovered this by accident (like champagne, I heard) and I have never looked back since. You had me at “ensaymada”!! By the way, I’m new here (just in writing, not in viewing) and let me say that your writings on ensaymada were brilliant. Particularly your sister’s rendering of the family recipe which I found heart-warming as I spend almost everyday talking to my dear Mom about recipes long gone. Also, talk about few degrees of separation, imagine my delight when I read about how you enjoyed Payard’s desserts and I’d like to mention that I am currently apprenticing in his pastry shop in NYC (in preparation for my coming culinary education). Talk about Disney for dessert-lovers!! Pave nicoise, pate de fruits, opera cake…who needs therapy when you got these??! Anyway, thanks again for a wonderful website and in spirit, I believe we’ve met already and that I find you pleasant and generous of heart.


    Apr 28, 2006 | 7:27 am

  54. Marketman says:

    jeff, thanks for those comments. My sister, who wrote about the ensaimada, literally lives around the corner from Payard. So when in NYC, we have croissants straight out of the oven! If you are Filipino, you may fiure out who she is one of these days as she is frequently in the shop…

    Apr 28, 2006 | 12:40 pm

  55. Annie Radley says:

    Hello Marketman,
    I tried the ensaymada recipe after I print it out and it was marvelous. It was so soft and fluffy!!!! I was so happy to share with Lolo whom he did not eat ensaymada for long time.
    He said it’s very authentic and again THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING THIS RECIPE.

    Apr 28, 2006 | 9:29 pm

  56. Marketman says:

    Annie, so glad the recipe worked for you. Several other readers have emailed to say it worked well too…I hope others get to try the recipe as well…

    Apr 28, 2006 | 9:40 pm

  57. Jeff says:

    I am also lucky to live close to Payard and pass by it on my way to work. Yes, proudly Filipino here. Boy, your sister is in the right nabe alright!! Excellent the desserts are at Payard, your ensaymada was in an entirely different league. I too have been zealously searching for the real recipe and I’ve seen a LOT of pseudo-ensaymadas out there. Truth is, people guard their recipes like swiss bank accounts and will never part with it till the heavens fall. That’s what set you apart, MM, and for that, you’ve already won my vote. It was what I had in mind, with the slight yeast aroma that I look for. I used cake yeast btw, and it works great. One question though, have you tried using milk instead of H20 in the lavadora? How do you think it will turn out? Till next time,

    Apr 29, 2006 | 6:51 am

  58. Marketman says:

    Jeff,while I have not used milk, others too have suggested it. I would imagine it would result in a richer dough but I am not sure… it’s worth a try the next time you bake the recipe…

    Apr 29, 2006 | 1:06 pm

  59. sister says:

    Dear Jeff:
    I do sometimes add some milk instead of some of the water. It makes a very moist ensaimada but has a texture that is more cake like.
    Payard’s croissants have improved over time and I do buy them along with the orange cracqueline for breakfast but they are still not as good as Bonte’s used to be. When you see a small terrier tied up to your front door at 7 am you know I’m inside.
    I’ll look out for you by your door to the basement where you are baking! Nice to know you are there.

    May 5, 2006 | 6:54 pm

  60. Herman says:

    Dear MM,

    Do you have classroom that teach people to make Ensaimada
    and other delicious pastries?
    Please send me your classroom address and contact phone number by e-mail, I am planning to visit Manila in the near future.
    Thanks very much.


    Taipei, Taiwan

    Jun 20, 2006 | 11:06 pm

  61. Marketman says:

    Herman, thanks for asking…but no, this is just a food blog. I don’t teach cooking. Thanks.

    Jun 22, 2006 | 3:52 pm

  62. m2s says:

    Very nice recipe.

    Bread comes out better if you let the dough rise in a cool place such as the fridge (it just takes a little bit of waiting.) Yeast-activitated dough will rise whether it is in a cool or warm place – the heat accelerates the rising. You will notice a big difference in the quality of the bread if the dough has risen in a cool place. It does take patience making good bread.

    Jun 26, 2006 | 1:30 am

  63. sister says:

    I agree, a long, slow rise makes a better bread, or ensaimada in particular. I recommend between 50-60 F for several hours for each rising. Sometimes I even leave the sponge OR the completely mixed and kneaded dough in the fridge for 4-6 hours, punching it down and turning it over once after the first hour. Even better reduce the amount of yeast by 25% and be patient. After shaping it is best to leave it at room temperature for the final rising,m about 70 F is best. Total elapsed time should be about 12-14 hrs.

    Jul 22, 2006 | 10:49 pm

  64. Margaux Salcedo says:

    hi Marketman. I’m new to food blogs but quickly getting addicted. Super love your site. But it’s 4 pm, merienda time and now i want to taste those ensaimadas you made. I can make kick ass tsokolate but have yet to learn to make ensaimada to go with it (I enjoy the tsokolate instead with suman antala). But I wanna try those ensaimadas!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you sell? I’ll buy. Kahit P100 per piece.

    Dec 11, 2006 | 4:12 pm

  65. Marketman says:

    Margaux, sorry, I don’t sell anything…

    Dec 11, 2006 | 6:15 pm

  66. minilie says:

    i hope you can help me.im here in Germany.and i dont know what flour i must use.thanks.

    Feb 27, 2007 | 2:57 am

  67. minilie says:

    Hi po ulit,

    madami po kasing type ng harina dito sa amin.at hindi ko po alam kung ano pong Harina ang gagamitin ko.all purpose flour at ano po ba ang pastry flour.ito po yung type ng harina na pedeng bilhin dito.salamt po ng marami kung ma help nyo po ako…

    Ash Protein Wheat flour type
    US German French
    all-purpose flour 405 45
    pastry flour 550 55
    high gluten flour 812 80
    first clear flour 1050 110
    white whole wheat 1600 150
    salamt po ng marami sa inyo.

    Feb 27, 2007 | 3:01 am

  68. Marketman says:

    Minilie, you are lucky to have so many choices! I would try either the high gluten flour (which should be closer to a primera flour in Philippine bakeries) or if that doesn’t work, use the all-purpose flour. You may need to try this recipe a few times, adjusting the flour volume,butter and oil to get it to a consistency you like… good luck! And let us know if it works!

    Feb 27, 2007 | 6:41 am

  69. minilie says:

    Hi Marketman,

    A THANK YOU FROM MY HEART……Nagawa ko na po,hindi ako makapaniwala na nagawa ko!salamat po talaga ng marami..


    Mar 7, 2007 | 9:41 pm

  70. mamma baker says:

    I tried your recipe but divided into half and comes out verryy masarap and delicious. I tried it twice and still resulted to delicious ensaimada you dont need queso de bola just butter and sugar and the smell of your house is unbelievable. you guys need to try it exactly like the recipe said.maraming salamat for sharing your recipe.

    Apr 6, 2007 | 7:40 am

  71. Evangeline Dacanay says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ll try it tomorrow maybe. I will go to the supermarket this afternoon to buy ingredients.

    By the way I have in my fridge instant yeast(Saff Instant yeast). I placed it in an airtight bottle and its there for sometime now. If I am not mistaken about 3 years already. Can I still use it?

    AGain manay thanks.

    Jun 24, 2007 | 2:30 pm

  72. Marketman says:

    Evangeline, throw out that yeast and get fresh yeast. Trust me, three years in the fridge is bad for just about any ingredient…

    Jun 24, 2007 | 3:52 pm

  73. bluegirl says:

    Thank you for this recipe! After 3 weekends of trying, I finally got it right. They were delicious but did not look as pretty as the ones in the pictures — I still need to practice the forming and coiling! he..he..he… a nice excuse to bake another batch. What did your Lola’s bakery do with all the eggwhites?

    Jul 23, 2007 | 8:53 am

  74. sister says:

    Most of the ensaimada sold in my Lola’s bakery did not contain a single eggyolk, only “special orders” had yolks and or raisens. I suggest you make meringue nests with the eggwhites, bake at 275F until crisp and fill them with pastry cream or fruit for dessert. Or give the eggwhites to a dieter to make omelets.

    Aug 20, 2007 | 7:29 pm

  75. Jerry says:

    I’m sure you have an reputable supplier for your eggs, but I read that in China, they feed chickens (or ducks) a red dye to achieve a brilliant orange yolk. It turns out that this dye is cancerous to humans.

    Oct 13, 2007 | 6:17 pm

  76. inked_chef says:

    quick question… isnt the ensaimada almost similar to a brioche? sans the butter, sugar queso de bola topping? on organic eggs i got some from santis which are quite good. Then there is this lady in divisoria that sells them cheaper than the non organic ones. My purchaser would buy at least 10 trays if he sees them and they make any dessert richer. But like everything else in the philippines the supply is not constant.

    Just a quick shout out! IM LOOKING FOR CHEFS!!!!! I need to staff a new concept with chefs that are passionate about good food. We are currently running two restaurants and opening the 3rd one in a months time… preferably male, 25-35yo, who has experience in european food. Location is makati. Thanks MM

    Oct 17, 2007 | 2:04 pm

  77. Marketman says:

    inkedchef, yes, an older style ensaimada should be like a “brioche married to a croissant” as my sister would say…

    Oct 17, 2007 | 2:08 pm

  78. inked_chef says:

    thanks MM… by the way i have 12 seedlings ( more of sprouts hahah) of kaffir lime in my garden just now… brought home some kaffir from bangkok and took out the seeds and planted them. If they are strong enough to be replanted … want one ?

    Oct 18, 2007 | 7:07 pm

  79. PiPer says:

    I baked this last week, and I’m sooo glad it turned out pretty well! (According to my pleasantly surprised 70-year old dad, “ikaw ba ang gumawa nito??!!”) But sad to say MM, he doesn’t have any memories of pre/post-war ensaimadas because they couldn’t afford it back then… =(

    Oct 24, 2007 | 12:21 pm

  80. cheng says:

    i made this recipe but it didnt turn ou d way i like it…it is just like an ordinary bread tho…im so disappointed..i dont think i can get d old recipe for ensaimada like hizon and d cunanans…wel i gues i hv to stick to my ensaimada recipe which taste better dan d muhlach brand..i have no luck in finding the hizon kind of ensaimada recipe=C

    Oct 31, 2007 | 7:10 am

  81. Marketman says:

    cheng, just to remind you, the caveats were clearly stated, this is NOT a puffy modern commercial ensaimada. It is not the cakey airy cunanan equivalent. It is more the 1950’s style bready ensaimada, not a sweet cake like confection. Sorry it isn’t what you like. But I generally don’t like the ones you describe either…

    Oct 31, 2007 | 9:07 am

  82. cheng says:

    thanks for the recipe tho. i havent tried d 1950’s ensaimada maybe dats y dis recipe didnt work for me…i can see that there are lot of people who are so crazy for ensaimada…btw,,i am wondering y do some recipe of ensaimada have mashed potato? is it for longer shelf life? ur website is so interesting…i hope der r more recipes to come..and some recipe sharing as well..thanku marketman..=)

    Nov 1, 2007 | 7:22 am

  83. maria says:

    After reading your sister’s wonderful prose on your family ensaymada, I decided to give it a try. I’ve made two batches and so far they’ve been aesthetically disappointing. The taste is there (truly delish), but I have to practice that coiling thing!!! Somehow, the buns unravel while they are rising and then I try to pinch them so that they become buns again. Then they unravel again in the oven!!! I will be patient and try this another 12 times!!

    Dec 9, 2007 | 7:01 am

  84. Rob says:

    I think it should be LEVADURA, ¿no es cierto?

    Jan 14, 2008 | 7:05 am

  85. nilserate says:

    Rob LEVADURA is the french/spanish term for yeast. In the philippines Marketman is correct in using the term…. but i think the second floor time (rise) is too much (1 hour). only about 30 minutes is needed to let the dough rest or mellow for easy make up, i.e. spreading thin and coiling. ensaymada is also called “snail” in english baking… bread flour has about 12-13 % protein, high gluten flour may result in a very elastic dough and baked product, just add pastry flour at about 70:30 high gluten to pastry flour ratio…

    Mar 3, 2008 | 12:55 pm

  86. Winky says:

    I’ve tasted ensaimada made from a BreadMaker… a little too hard compared to the ones my Mom used to make in her bakery… will test your recipe! And since I don’t sleep at night, this will make a great breakfast for my 4 year old who loves bread! Thanks!

    Mar 14, 2008 | 3:04 pm

  87. sister says:

    Coil your ensaimadas and tuck the ends way under so they do not unravel. You can also use a greased muffin or brioche pan to contain them. As for the 2 ropes twisted together if they uncoil when you circle them try doing the circling in the opposite direction and they will stay twisted, tuck end under every time.
    try following this recipe religiously, using copious amounts of butter, do not alter the proportions and you will get better results. Do not expect perfect ensaimadas the first time around unless you are a very experienced bread baker. Crust should be flakey like a decent croissant and inside should be tender and ropey like a good brioche.

    Jun 9, 2008 | 7:56 am

  88. Clarissa says:

    hi MM :)
    i tried your recipe over the weekend and it turned out great :) i made a few changes, like making it sweeter, and tried to make it more healthful by using whole eggs rather than just egg yolks. my mom did say it would have been creamier with just the yolks, but i was happy with the results.

    if not eating it freshly out of the oven, i suggest toasting the ensaimada first (without the butter, sugar and cheese topping)and creating that crunchy crust. you can add all the stuff atop it or do way that i do, i just eat it plain. (i think making it cured me from wanting any more butter on it :P )

    Jun 10, 2008 | 9:26 am

  89. Pebs says:

    I finally got around to trying the ensaimada recipe yesterday. Thanks so much for sharing this! The ensaimadas turned out delicious-my husband and mother in law loved them! Just one thing though. The dough came out very greasy after I added the butter, so I ended up only putting about 1/3 of the oil stated in the recipe. Even then, the dough came out very soft so that it was a little difficult to roll. Then when I coiled the pieces in the molds, they became like blobs – you could not distinguish the coil anymore. What do you think was wrong? Maybe I should have added more flour? I used the max stated in the recipe – 6 cups.

    Also, is the oil necessary?

    Jun 10, 2008 | 5:53 pm

  90. sister says:

    To Pebs:
    Try adding another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour to the dough so it has more body, and don’t let it over rise. The dough will feel greasy when you knead it, chill it for better handling when you roll it out and coil it. Always use bread flour.
    It will take a few tries to get it right.

    Jul 23, 2008 | 11:50 am

  91. Del says:

    I have been lurking for over a year now and have been visiting your blog almost daily. But now I really have to leave a comment to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to you and your sister for sharing your ensaimada recipe! I had been hesitant to try it because of the number of egg yolks needed – I didn´t know what I´d do with the 20 egg whites. So for a year now I´ve been using a recipe I found somewhere which used only 3 eggs (it was good enough to ease the homesickness). But tomorrow being my birthday and my little girl requesting we bake ensaimada today, I thought why not give your recipe a shot. I AM SOOOO GLAD I did – it is REALLY REALLY good!

    Oh and I know what to do with the eggwhites now – half will be made into Walnut Meringue cookies and half will go into the quiche filling for Saturday lunch ;)

    Nov 13, 2008 | 5:25 am

  92. mamma baker says:

    dear mm, thank you for that recipe. you guys need to try it. the dough could be the spanish bread and kolache too. i baked a lot and freeze them . it is pure AWESOMENESS SARAP!!!maraming salamat again. I’ll be watching you soon on the travel channel NO RESERVATION WITH ANTHONY BOURDAIN.Keep the good recipe from coming.

    Nov 17, 2008 | 6:52 pm

  93. sister says:

    I tried this recipe today as written and I used a total of 13 c. flour or a scant 4 lbs. Most bread recipes give you a range because flour can have moisture, different protein or gluten percentages, etc. so some adjustment is often necessary. Even if the dough is soft kneading well increases the elasticity and makes it easier to pull thinly enough to create the layers characteristic of a good ensaimada.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 1:59 am

  94. Ernie says:


    Hi there, do you teach how to make ensamaida personally, I was in Manila last Sept. 08 to learn how to make ensaimada but when I got back in Sydney it is totally dif. or even to charge us fee it is okay to us. thanks you.


    Feb 3, 2009 | 5:42 am

  95. Lilibeth says:

    Hi Marketman and Sister,

    I have been lurking in your blog and have been planning on making the ensaimada but found the time to do it only last Saturday. I have to say that this is the most delicious tasting ensaimada my family and I have ever tried. We used to order from Cunanan when we were still living in the Philippines (we now live in LA, California) and we all agreed that the Cunanan version is not even worth comparing to yours. It tasted heavenly! I have tried so many other ensaimada recipes in the past but none like this – they came out too dense, hard, and not that tasty. This is truly an amazing ensaimada recipe and I do admire your generosity in sharing it with us because I know a lot of people who will not share a recipe as good as this even to relatives. I have experienced being turned down by these people and I am truly grateful to you. BTW, my husband bought me a Kitchenaid Professional 600 Mixer last Christmas and it did all the work for me – mixing and kneading – no sweat at all with the Kitchenaid. Now, when it came to rolling it out, spreading the butter, and coiling it, it was hard work. How I wish the Kitchenaid could also do it for me :) I used just the Ralphs brand of bread flour (that was the cheapest) and Fleischmann’s yeast in a packet and Challenge butter (Plugra is too expensive and the taste comes close and it is also from the same makers of Danish creamery butter which is very similar to Plugra) and I followed your recipe exactly as is and it came out perfect. When I saw the finished product, I could not even believe I made it! It looked so professionally made (rightfully so since I spent a lot of time coiling it and followed sister’s advice of tucking it under) even my kids said it looked like it came from a bakery – nicely coiled on top and evenly browned and soft…and the aroma was wonderful. Of course I gave you the credit – I told them I got the recipe from you guys. With the other ensaimada recipes I’ve tried, even though I would coil it, it never came out that way after baking – the top would even out but this one looked like a real professionally made ensaimada. Aside from butter and sugar, I topped it with grated queso de bola and I used about 1/4 of the big ones – $25 for a big ball here in LA. Never mind if queso de bola is expensive here in the US but for us, ensaimada is not complete without the queso de bola. I wonder how much it is there in Manila…used to be P500 for the big ball when we were there. Anyway, thank you so much marketman and sister from the bottom of my heart and my family’s for this wonderful recipe. God bless you both for your big hearts.


    Feb 11, 2009 | 12:02 pm

  96. Marketman says:

    Lilibeth, thank you so much for taking the time to write those kind words. I am so happy the recipe worked for you, in LA, and that your family enjoyed the fruits of your labor. It gives me (and Sister, I am sure) great pleasure to have helped someone create these “artisanal” type ensaimadas… treasure the recipe and share it with others… the more folks who keep baking it, the longer it will remain in our midst. Happy eating!

    Feb 11, 2009 | 12:17 pm

  97. Lilibeth says:

    I surely will email the link to this recipe to all of my friends and I’m sure they’re going to love me for that. I’m so happy I found your blog – it’s like hitting the jackpot. I can’t wait to try your other recipes as I can see you are a real food connoisseur. I thought 36 ensaimadas was a lot but it went really fast with us. My family is already asking when I will bake again. God bless!

    Feb 20, 2009 | 10:44 am

  98. sanojmd says:

    hello, mm can i use vegetable oil or olive oil instead of corn oil?coz i can’t find the corn oil here in the suburbs..im planning to do this already but the corn oil-hunt is taking so much of my time..thanks!

    Feb 26, 2009 | 5:21 pm

  99. Marketman says:

    sanojmd, yes, use something like wesson vegetable oil.

    Feb 26, 2009 | 7:58 pm

  100. Sanojmd says:

    Hi MM. I just finished making this recipe but the dough did not rise, is it because of the yeast? But it was listed on the product that I bought that it is a dry yeast. Or is it because it’s not so hot here. But i also followed the maximum time you told in the recipe. It resulted to actually more like a crust of an empanada than an ensaimada bread. But it taste good. Oh well I just know I did something wrong here. But I’m still gonna give it another try till I perfect your family’s recipe. Any more pointers for me to make this right? Thanks MM. Cheers!

    Feb 27, 2009 | 6:45 pm

  101. Mae says:

    hello marketman and sis,
    thanks very much for a fantastic traditonal ensaimada recipe.its one of my favorite snack when i was still in the philippines and still is each time i go back home.Im now based in the U.K. and i dont think we get as much filipino food product as US does.I’ve tried this recipe yesterday and this is the first time i’ve made ensaimada. I only did half of the recipe (just in case i’ll not be successful) so i divided everything into two.Though i have to wait a good 6-7hrs before i could take my first bite, it came out perfect!i had the most delicious ensaimada in the world! In fairness, in between me kneading the dough and waiting for it to rise and punching it,i was able to go to the garden centre to get my summer bulbs, had coffee with a friend in the afternoon and cooked dinner for my other half…I followed every single step of the recipe although I wasn’t sure if self-raising flour will be ok so i used the white strong bread flour. I also used a healthy option margarine (Flora) instead of butter and lard and i used active dry yeast instead of fresh ones.i manually kneaded the dough as my mixer doesn’t have the important dough hook. i suppose i could have used the dough maker setting on the food processor but i wasn’t bothered at all kneading it. I didn’t need to refrigerate the dough either but it was totally delicious!I wished i didn’t half the recipe so we could have enjoyed more of it…but i’m sure i’ll be spreading the good news to my friends soon…and i’ll be making them again the soonest possible time…

    Thank you very much again. More power to you and God Bless!!!

    Apr 2, 2009 | 11:04 am

  102. Larni says:

    Hello Mr. MM and to your sis,
    Thank you for posting this recipe. it turned out really good. I cut my ingredients in half and I am expecting failure for my first try…but it’s OMG!! what I did is that i used my stand mixer and at the same time I knead it by hand and i just used what ever butter i have in my fridge, did not use canola oil, i used vege oil…ohhh well MM what can I say?? A big hug to you and your sis and thank you..my husband is Italian and a picky bread eater he never like sweet buns but this ensaymada? i feel like i win jackpot..he loves its.he start eating right away fresh from the oven. I have picture and i will share them to you if you wanted to. let me know. thank you again and God Bless you Always. Take Care.

    Jun 30, 2009 | 12:00 pm


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