I woke up this Sunday with the baking itch. I didn’t want to bake anything that I could make with my eyes closed (i.e. cookies) but something really challenging. I finally decided on ensaymada upon prodding of M to clear the ref of the old queso de bola.
It’s been years since I made ensaymada. I tried the Nora Daza version before and found it too fussy (3 risings and a lot of eggs!). The market man version is very good but it takes a while to make because you had to make a sponge the day before the actual cooking (so can’t be made spur of the moment). In addition, that recipe made gazillions of ensaymada buns which translates into many many pounds.
The batch this weekend is from a Maya Kitchen recipe and it is just perfect–lightly sweet dough, soft and flaky crumb, and just the right amounts (24 muffin sized pieces).
It was a hot day and I found myself taking showers several times during this ensaymada adventure. The smell of hot butter and sugar just sticks to the skin
2 1/4 t yeast
1/2 T sugar
1/2 c warm water
4 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c fresh milk
1/2 t salt
1/2 c melted butter (for dough)
1/2 c melted butter (for the muffin cups and for brushing)
3-31/2 c APF (amounts may vary depending on the weather, I went up to 4 c this round)
- Proof yeast in sugar and half of the water.
- Combine remaining water, egg yolks, sugar, milk, 1/2 c of the melted butter and the flour.
- Stir in yeast. Mix dough until it leaves the side of the bowl. (I just used my hands for this, used the left for turning the bowl and my right hand for stirring).
- Transfer to a floured surface and knead until window pane stage.
- Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled (or when it reaches a stage when you poke it, it doesn’t bounce back anymore).
At this point, T wanted to go swimming with a friend so I had to stick my proofed ensaymada dough in the ref until we got back 3 hours later.
- Brush ensaymada containers with butter. I used 2 12 inch cupcake tins. Ensaymada molders are very difficult to wash!
- Rollout dough into two long logs. Cut 12 equal pieces per log (or you can measure out 30 g each piece I think).
- Using a small rolling-pin, roll out each piece into a small thin rectangle, roll jelly roll style. This should form a small rope. CONTRARY TO MANY RECIPES, DO NOT BRUSH WITH BUTTER. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO FORM WHEN THE DOUGH IS ALL SLIPPERY.
- Hold both ends of the rope and swing gently so it will elongate. The longer the rope, the better looking the ensaymada
- Make sure you have a cupcake liner on the table (not in the pan) before you start forming. It’s very hard to center the formed ensaymada in the cupcake holder if the lining is already there.
- Form into ensaymada knots. Roll the rope around two fingers that are partly spread open. The opening should be enough for you to slide the end of the rope into the opening and make it peek at the top of the ensaymada.
- Once you complete forming all the buns, pour 1 T of cool melted butter on each tin. This step replaces the “brushing with butter” step and makes the dough more flaky (in cooking school, half of the tin was filled with butter! but I am not ready to go there yet)
- Let rise until doubled, bake for 10-15 mins at 350 degrees. (Mine only took 10 mins to brown).
- Remove from pan immediately, place on rack with cookie sheet underneath, brush melted butter on top and sprinkle with sugar.
- Once cool you can add other toppings like butter+cheese or as suggested by the Maya recipe condensed milk+cheese (!).
Three buns were inhaled within 5 mins of coming out of the oven 🙂
Of course all the kneading and inhaling melted butter gave me an asthma attack that put me to bed — but that’s another story.