Ensaimada Filipino Style Brioche
Ensaimada Filipino Style Brioche

Ensaimada Filipino Style Brioche

The Daring Bakers is and international cooking forum which chooses a cooking challenge each month for members to attempt.  This month’s challenge was “Tubular and Coiled Treats” set by Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen.  The examples given were the Spanish Ensaimada and the Romanian Kürtőskalács aka chimney cake.

Close up Sugared Ensaimada

Close up Sugared Ensaimada

As you may know the Philippines has a rich Spanish history, so the Ensaimada (or Ensaymada) is a very popular baked good here also.

Cheese Ensaimada PIN ME

Cheese Ensaimada PIN ME

Given that Alesah is from the Philippines I decided to make a Filipino Ensaimada for the Daring Bakers Challenge. In case you are wondering what an Ensaimada actually is I will explain.  It is a very buttery bread like a Brioche which is rolled and then twisted to form a little bun.  Once the little buttery bun is cooked it’s then finished with a choice of sweet or savoury toppings.

Cinnamon Sugar Ensaimada

Cinnamon Sugar Ensaimada

Before baking I quickly conferred with Alesah about these little Filipino treats.  I asked her what  toppings she would expect to find on her ensaimada in Manila.

She said her favourite was a mix of grated melty cheese, and sugar.  I was perplexed!

Assorted Ensaimada

Assorted Ensaimada

“So you top your ensaimada with cheese and sugar”??  I asked.

Basket Cinnamon Sugar Ensaimada

Basket Cinnamon Sugar Ensaimada

“Yes,” she agreed.

I wasn’t convinced. I could see how a glaze of sweet sugar would be nice, or some lovely melted cheese… but both!!

Cheese Ensaimada on Plate

Cheese Ensaimada on Plate

…anyway I took Alesah’s advice on  board and continued with my buns.

Ensaimada Filipino Style Brioche
Recipe Type: Dough
Cuisine: Filippino
Author: Julie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24
  • Dough
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 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
  • oil for greasing a large bowl, baking sheet, and brioche molds
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon sugar to the yeast and allow it to activate. The yeast should double in volume.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the yeast.
  4. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Beat well.
  6. Add flour and milk alternately. Mix on low until incorporated fully.
  7. Add the yeast mixture to the electric mixer and mix until combined.
  8. If you have a breadmaker add the dough to the breadmaker and select a dough setting. Allow the machine to complete the breadmaking process.
Bread Dough by Hand
  1. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand on a clean surface dusted with flour until smooth and elastic. Let the dough rest in a bowl greased lightly with canola oil.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until double in size, about one to two hours.
Making the Rolls
  1. Punch the dough down and divide into twelve small balls.
  2. Roll out each dough ball into a thin sheet.
  3. Brush the flattened dough with melted butter.
  4. Roll the dough into a thin sausage.
  5. Coil the sausage like dough into a spiral-shaped bun.
  6. Place the bun on a lined baking sheets or greased fluted brioche molds.
  7. Set the buns aside to rise until they have doubled in size.
  8. When the dough is almost done, preheat the oven to 180 degrees or 350 degrees F.
  9. Bake until the buns are golden.
  10. Brush buns with melted butter and dust with caster sugar or finely grated cheese.

When it came time to take the buns from the oven I had a plan. I would make three cheese, three buttered sugar and three my own version which was a buttered cinnamon and sugar combination.  The final three would be the way Alesah likes them, with cheese and buttered sugar.

Cheese Ensaimada pin

Cheese Ensaimada pin

Alesah also mentioned they can be topped with a “red egg” but since we don’t have red eggs here that option was out.

3 Sugared Ensaimada

3 Sugared Ensaimada

Mr GG had the first  ensaimada almost as soon as the cheese was melted.  He had chosen to try Alesah’s combination and he loved it.  The outside of the bun was a little crisp but the inside was so soft, sweet and light.

3 Cheese Ensaimada

3 Cheese Ensaimada

All the flavour combinations were delicious, but it was the cheese, and the cheese sugar combination that everyone kept asking for.

Platter of Mixed Ensaimada

Platter of Mixed Ensaimada

As with all the challenges this was great fun.  The Daring Bakers is something I enjoy because it throws out a recipe to all that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise tried.

Sugared Ensaimada

Sugared Ensaimada

Thank you Swathi for hosting this months challenge and thank you Alesah for your help in making them more authentic.

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  1. Best. Great job! There’s a bakery back home called Goldilocks that are famous for this…tricky thing is getting it through customs cuz of the cheese lol

    • Alesah Villalon :

      Adrian, Goldilocks lol! Even the bakery style is good. There are several versions now “de-coiled”, half bun-half grated cheese, some with purple yam filling too. Julie’s off to a good start with the traditional ensaimada. And I’m proud of Julie 🙂

  2. LOL! Adrian… you must have smelled these baking! You were so quick to spot them and comment. Obviously missing your fix of Filippino Ensaimada! I would love to try them in the Philippines 🙂

  3. I love the filipino version of ensaimdas, they are really cute.

  4. Ensaymadas are so hard to make! lol I already tried 3 times & failed. Looks good! Damn customs for making it hard to bring back Goldilocks ensaymada hahaha

  5. Now I have to try the Cheese and sugar one! I’m dying to try it actually!
    These are beautiful!! 🙂

  6. These were particularly beautiful and tasty-looking, Julie. It really made me want one. Good job!

  7. My goodness, these look amazing. 🙂 I’ve not tried cheese ones before, but I simply have to now. 🙂

  8. Alesah Villalon :

    I think you did a great job! Bravo!

  9. These sound yummy Julie, how nice to have an expert on call with Alesah too! Id like to try the cheese and sugar topping please 🙂

  10. Really cool roll. I love the varieties you can create with bread and this is a super recipe.

  11. I’d have loved to have seen what a red egg looks like. And a roll with sugar and cheese is something I will have to try xx

  12. I cannot imagine cheese and sugar as an ingredient combination. Something you’ve convinced me to try 🙂

  13. These ensaimadas look amazing! I love the shape. The sugar cheese topping sounds so different but interesting!

  14. I’m having trouble getting my head around the idea of sugared cheese, but I might just have to try it anyway! All versions look lovely though.

  15. Brioche and cheese makes a great combination!

  16. What a brilliant challenge! I would never have thought to use cheese and sugar, but gosh they sound incredible! And really, who doesn’t love brioche!!!

  17. Not only do these sound delicious, but they look so attractive too. It’s the cinnamon ones that appeal to me most! I can just imagine how tasty they would be with a creamy capuccino!

  18. This is definitely one for daring bakers! What an amazing challenge and resulting product. Your brioche look fantastic.

  19. These look so fluffy and delicious! I don’t think I’ve tried these before 🙂 It doesn’t seem too difficult to make so I’m going to send this recipe to my boyfriend and ‘request’ him to make for me hehe

  20. I knew the ensaimadas de Mallorca in Spain. Your philippino ensaimada looks great Julie ! I mus to try it!

  21. Looks like Mary Poppins was right! A spoonful of sugar makes everything more delicious! Cheese and sugar is a new concept but all your variations do look fantabulous, Julie.

  22. I love all things cheese so I am definitely going to try your Ensaimada version. Thank!! They look so good!

  23. I remember being perplexed by the idea of cheese ensaimada but now I love the stuff. And not so strange when you think of cheesecake?

  24. They look so perfect and delicious! I wonder if bacon and/or ham bits would go well on top of these also? 🙂

  25. Glad to hear that cheese and sugar go together- it’s amazing how many new things I keep on learning! (Julie, sorry I haven’t been following your blog recently- I have been very busy finishing up culinary school here in Paris).


  1. […] readers will all remember Julie’s Ensaimada (Brioche). I will declare with all honesty that in my years of eating Filipino ensaimada everywhere (except […]

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