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.
YOUR ENSAYMADA SHOPPING LIST:
IN THE PANTRY:
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.