Sweet Bread with Cheese Topping

Ensaymada is a soft, sweet bread smothered with a mixture of sugar and butter icing and generously topped with shredded cheese.

It is most definitely of Spanish origin -- as it is similar to the Ensaimada of Mallorca, Spain, or the Pan de Mallorca of Puerto Rico.

For this particular recipe, the ingredients are pretty much like those used in cakes, like milk, butter, eggs - except for the yeast leavener.

My biggest challenge in breadmaking is in the proofing or in making the dough rise properly.

It would either be too dense or the texture is rough and unappetizing.

I learned the proofing process here from America's Test Kitchen, and this is the one that works for me.

First Rise : I let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight and work on it the following day(for finer bread texture).

Second Rise : After forming to desired shape, I would place the formed dough inside the oven (that is turned off) with a pan of hot water(boiling point) at the bottom rack to mimic the temperature and humidity of a dough proofing box.

You could either use this method, or do the faster, conventional way of leaving the dough out on the counter until double in size in each stage.


  • All Purpose Flour
  • Active Dry Yeast
  • Grated Cheese


  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Vegetable Oil


  • 4 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cup Water, Lukewarm
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

  • All purpose flour for dusting
  • Shortening for greasing tin pans
  • Softened Butter and Sugar for Topping
  • 2 cups Grated Cheese, for Topping


1 Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water, then add 1 cup flour and a tablespoon of sugar. Set aside for 1-2 hours, until double in size.

2 Transfer the sponge mix in a mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar, milk and butter and the rest of the flour.

3 Add the vegetable oil a little at a time until the dough is not sticky enough to handle. Start kneading at this point.

4 Knead until smooth and elastic, for about 12 - 15 minutes.

5 Set in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic, refrigerate from 4 hours to overnight.

6 Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

7 Grease the pans and sprinkle with flour, set aside.

8 Divide the dough in 12 pieces(if using for large mold) or 24 pieces for muffin pans.

9 Flatten each piece to form a rectangle, about 12" x 5", then roll the bottom part inwards to form a long cylinder.

10 Holding both ends, start coiling tucking the right end underneath, and coiling tightly with the left hand -- with both ends tucked underneath.

11 Set on the greased and floured muffin pan.

12 Set them inside the oven (oven is not yet turned on) -- and place a container with boiling water underneath. This will help the dough rise and double in size.

13 After 45 mins to 1 hour, remove from oven, then pre-heat oven at 350 °F;

14 Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until slightly browned (not golden brown).

15 Cool the Ensaymada completely, brush with softened butter, then sprinkle with sugar.

16 Top with grated cheese.


  • Sugar and Lukewarm water activates the yeast so make sure you use both. Yeast will take too long to rise if cold or room temperature water is used. Also, hotter than lukewarm could kill the yeast.

  • If your sponge in Step 1 didn't rise or become double in size, discard and make another batch, your yeast could have been dead.

  • Kneading : for easy kneading, divide the dough in small pieces and stretch, fold and agitate(like when mixing colors for playdough or clay). Working in small dough batches can make you easily get to that smooth and elastic consistency, but try to work fast.

  • Once you formed the dough in rectangle (step #9) - you could add more butter, cheese or your favorite dry meat filling -- before rolling into a cylinder.

  • If the dough is resistant and you are having trouble forming it, let it rest for a while before working back on it.

  • If your baking pan is made of tin or thin aluminum, your bread bottoms and sides could get burnt before the top becomes brown. Try to double up or triple the baking tin, then use a thick pan to protect the bottom.

  • When you're ready to make that special Ensaymada, use about 8 eggyolks instead of 4 whole eggs.

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