When I was growing up in the Philippines, I was spoiled for choices of bread to enjoy. Lucky me coz not only did my best friend Niza's family owned a bakery, theirs was the best in town. As an added bonus, I lived next door to theirs. So you could imagine the sweet waft of freshly baked bread that greeted me each day. I remember after school I would go with Niza to their bakery and enjoy the newly cooked bread; ensaymadas, pan de limon, dabianas, the piping hot pan de coco, pan americano or mamon special cooked in leche flan tin. Those were the days when these bread are easily accessible to me. Nowadays, if I want a taste of the Philippine bread, I have to recreate them. This is my first take on ensaymada, a sweet roll bread with butter, dunked in sugar and sprinkled with grated cheese best eaten with steaming cafeng barako or double shot long black
2 packages dry yeast (equal to 4 1/2 tsp)
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter cubed
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup scalded milk
4 1/2 - 5 cups all purpose flour
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, 1/3 cup water and 1 tsp sugar. Mix gently and let it proof for 10 minutes. Your yeast mixture should look like this after proofing.
Step 2: Boil milk or microwave for 1 and a half minutes. Add cubed butter, sugar and salt into hot milk. Mix until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Let it stand to cool down.
Step 3: Add eggs to milk mixture until well incorporated and pour into yeast. Add flour gradually and mix slowly. Keep adding the flour until all mixed. Knead for 5 minutes. You can use any mixer with dough hooks. Note: If you don't have a mixer, you can still work this with your hand. mixture will be slightly thicker than cake batter, so don't panic like I did the first time I made them ensaymadas!
Step 4: Transfer dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling or saran wrap and let it rise for an hour or until dough is double in size.
Step 5: Slice a piece of dough and cut into little pieces, about a size of a golf ball. Roll dough to form a tube and form a snail as shown
Step 6: Roll dough to form a tube and form a snail as shown. Cover with oiled cling wrap and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
Step 7: Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is golden brown. In a small bowl, pour half a cup of white sugar. When bread is done, cool down for 5 minutes then brush the top of ensaymada with butter. Dunk buttered part in sugar and grate cheese on top. For a more professional look, use a small grater (though they are pretty good whichever grater you use, I know coz and I get to sample them to make a well informed judgment).