Spanish Recipes

Ensaimadas (Majorcan Sweet Bread)

A Majorcan favorite, ensaimadas are warm, yeast-based cakes fashioned into round, coiled shapes. Although delicious, these cakes are time-consuming to prepare, because the dough must be allowed to rise several times.

Nevertheless, when time is available, these make delightful breakfast rolls. This recipe yields one very large, beautiful coil that can be sliced into individual portions. Serve with hot chocolate or steaming coffee.

  • Serves 8
  • 50 minutes preparation plus rising time
  • 50 minutes cooking
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz) milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups (16 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • All-purpose flour, for coating
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) butter, softened
  • Butter, for brushing
  • Sugar, for dusting

Preparation

Dissolve the yeast in the warmed milk and set aside.

Combine the sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually add the flour and warm milk mixture. Blend thoroughly. Add the eggs and olive oil, mix well, and knead until soft and well-blended.

Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in volume.

Knead the dough again, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as possible over a floured surface. Brush the entire surface of the dough with softened butter.

Start rolling the dough, bit by bit, from one side to the other (as if you were rolling up a poster). When the dough has been rolled up, allow it to rest for 1 hour.

After the dough has risen, coil it loosely, so that it resembles a snail shell. Transfer the coil to a greased baking sheet.

Cover with an extremely large inverted bowl or bucket, large enough to ensure that the dough will not stick to the bowl's surface when it rises. Allow the dough to rise for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Bake the dough coil for around 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown. Brush the surface with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.

To serve, cut into slices.