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Ensaymada..sweet bread from the Philippines

My son has a number of staff that are from the Philippines. They appreciate it if I bake breads that they are accustomed to from their country. Since I love baking with yeast I was really intrigued by this recipe. I got a thumbs up from them. Maybe mine look a little more rustic than they should look but they are really delicious. In the Philippines this bread is a popular gift to bring when visiting someone's home especially at Christmas time.
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warm
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  1. In mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl whisk together warmed milk, melted butter, and beaten eggs.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix and knead until dough holds together and lets go from the side of the bowl. It will still be a little sticky. 
  4. Place in a slightly greased bowl and allow to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. 
  5. Remove from bowl to a slightly greased surface. Cut into 4 pieces and cut each piece into another 4 pieces. You should have 16 pieces.
  6. In a small bowl combine melted butter and sugar (filling/topping amounts shown below) and place over a bowl of hot water to keep the mixture thin enough for brushing. 
  7. With a rolling pin flatten each piece. Brush with butter/sugar mixture in the middle part only as the photo shows, sprinkle a bit of cheese on the brushed part and bring both sides of dough over the middle. Pinch to seal the edge and ends. Roll into a cylinder until it's long enough to loop over, then insert one end into the middle from the bottom and tuck the other end underneath. You can simplify this step if you like and just roll into a coil.
  8. Place on parchment lined pan, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise 40 minutes.
  9. Bake 15 minutes in a 350ยบ oven.
  10. Remove from oven and while still hot brush rolls with remaining butter/sugar mixture and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  11. If you have run out of the butter/sugar mixture mix up a little extra as needed. Just remember one-to-one ratio.
Filling and topping:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups mild cheddar cheese, can be generous and use more if you like


  1. Wow thanks for sharing! I knew that this kind of bread is well known in Philippines!

  2. They look delicious! What sort of cheese is traditionally used?

    1. friend from the Philippines said they use mild cheddar cheese. That's what I used. Although I think sharp cheddar cheese would be good too.

  3. Hey Betty, thanks for the post, will attempt to bake these and bring some to our new neighbours, seeing they are from the same country! May just be calling you for additional help if needed.

    1. Norma..maybe we should get together and make them.

  4. I am loving all these wonderful yeast baking recipes of late!!! This sounds delicious and it's so interesting to experience other's traditional foods. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This sounds wonderful.....almost a brioche type dough. The change in the weather "demands" that the baking begin and this is at the top of the list!!!! Thanks so much!!!

  6. Our employee grew up in the Philippines and he remembers eating these. There was a big smile on his face when I asked him if he knew what they were. Sweet, salty and cheesy is how he remembers them.

  7. These would be great for the Holidays. I love salty and sweet together.

  8. Hi Betty ,could you tell us at what speed you used and about how long to do it,,,, oh it rainy out in wpg.. with a little white (stuff) ha!!!

    1. Shirley..I use my Braun machine with the dough hook. I mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients on low speed for 2 minutes, then approx another 2 minutes on high speed. The dough should be smooth and have let go of the sides of the bowl. I hope that answers your question.

    2. Oh Yes Betty !! it does help alot... sure is nice of you too get back so quick ,,,,hope it's not snowing your way just saying !!! think it"s a coming.... oh don\t like at all

  9. Thank you! I can never have too many bread recipes and this will be new to make something from another culture. It sounds delicious. What a gift you gave to them and a piece of "home".

  10. OK! So NOW I am going to HAVE TO TRY THESE!!!
    I love this blog...and am thankful for it. I have cooked all my life, but as a chore most of the time...
    Your site makes cooking fun because I am learning the basics of HOW to ACTUALLY cook well and everything has tasted so GOOD! My mother was a wonderful cook..but all we ever did in the kitchen with her was chop! So I never enjoyed it...nor did I learn how to cook very well... Thank you.. This is a ministry that blesses my heart,stomach and soul. Thank you ladies!

  11. I am a U.S. expat who has now been living in the Philippines for 5 months. I have seen these several times in the stores.....but wasn't exactly sure how they were made. Now I know!

  12. Made them, liked them! Thanks. However, my husband found the dough a little sweet for his taste. I look forward to trying more of your bun recipes. :)

  13. I know I'm late to comment - I would love for you to learn or share more of the Philippines recipes, my son spent a couple years in Canada and I guess he was able to enjoy a lot of the Philippines food, he lived on the Edmonton side. Always love your blog, and my son LOVED his time in Canada.


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