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Start Ensaimada Dough and Allow to Rise
Ensaimadas are the traditional sweet bread from the island of Mallorca. The exact origin of this popular bread is debated but is most assuredly from the Middle East. It is shaped in the form of a coil and sprinkled with a heavy coat of powdered sugar. Ensaimadas are enjoyed as a breakfast dunked in hot coffee, or as an afternoon snack, or dessert. They are not difficult to make, but require a bit of patience, since the dough must rise several times.
This traditional ensaimada recipe was adapted from a recipe posted on El Aderezo, a cooking blog associated with El Norte de Castilla newspaper in Spain.
- Prep time: 2 hours
- Cook time: 15 minutes
- Rising time: 6 hours to overnight
- Total time: 8 hours, 15 minutes
- Yield: 18 servings
- 25 ounces/750 grams white bread flour
- 3 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 10 fluid ounces/300 milliliters milk
- 4 large eggs
- 6 ounces/180 grams granulated sugar
- 7 ounces/200 grams vegetable shortening
- Powdered sugar for decoration
Mix the yeast with lukewarm milk in a glass measuring cup until dissolved. Place half of the flour into a large mixing bowl. Gradually pour in the milk-yeast mixture while stirring. Mix until the ingredients form a dough.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Allow it to rise until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. The photo above shows the process of mixing and rising.
While the dough is rising, remove the eggs from the refrigerator to warm to room temperature.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Add the Rest of Ingredients and Rise Again
Once the dough has risen, add the eggs to the dough, one at a time. Use a large spoon or your hands to incorporate the eggs into the dough. Then, add the sugar and stir until the dough absorbs the sugar. Mix in the remaining flour, kneading the sticky dough with your hands for 4 to 5 minutes—until the dough forms a ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise 30 to 45 minutes.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Roll out Dough and Spread Shortening
Lightly flour a board. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough very thin. It will stretch out to cover a board approximately 24 inches square. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, rub the vegetable shortening on the top of the dough.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Roll up and Cut
Roll up the dough as if you are making a jellyroll. Then, cut into rounds about 1 inch thick. (It should make approximately 18 rounds.)Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Roll Into Ropes and Coil Into Snails
Lightly flour the cutting board again. Roll each piece of dough into a long coil or rope, using your hands. Then, roll up each of the coils like a snail shell, making the traditional shape of the ensaimadas.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Allow Ensaimadas to Rise Overnight
Lay down parchment paper and place on cookie sheets or use a baking stone, leaving lots of space between the ensaimadas because they will expand. Allow it to rise until they have doubled in size, preferably overnight. The overnight rising time allows further fermentation to occur, adding flavor and size. In fact, the ensaimadas may triple in size. (Check the photo in the next step to see how much they grow.)Continue to 7 of 8 below.
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Heat the oven to 350 F/180 C degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes on the center rack, being careful the ensaimadas do not burn on the bottom. Remove ensaimadas from the oven when golden on top.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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Dust With Powdered Sugar and Serve
Allow ensaimadas to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!