Friday, 20 July 2012


... if you've ever been to Mallorca you will most definitely have seen many a tourist and the occasional teary-eyed abuela carrying a large, most often hexagonal shaped, flat box... no, this doesn't contain the thinnest hat in the world, it holds what can only be described as the most glorious Mallorcan treasure - the ensaimada... a traditional sweet baked, spiral-shaped bread that has a wonderfully light yet doughy texture a bit like a chubby croissant... they are delightful and although hailing from this small island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea they are now eaten across the entire Latin world...

a little time consuming but really not as difficult as it sounds to make... it's a really sticky dough though so watch out when kneading... be patient... it will come to you... tradition also states that you should use pork lard to make this recipe, which whilst I can imagine how incredible this would taste I just couldn't bring myself to do it... so have substituted butter instead, something i am told is most commonly used nowadays... i'm using the low-knead method here but you can just get stuck i and knead for 10 minutes instead...

8fl oz milk - warmed
4 teaspoons active dried yeast
20oz strong white bread flour
4oz sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs - beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
6oz butter - softened enough to brush with

- add the yeast to the warm milk and set aside for 5 minutes

- using a very large bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil and then pour on the milk and combine fully with a rubber spatula or your hands... once it's all together in a sticky shaggy mass cover with a tea-towel and set aside for 10 minutes

- after 10 minutes pour a small amount of olive oil onto your kneading surface and then scrape the sticky dough onto the oiled surface - very quickly pour a little oil into the bowl and swish it around the line the bowl with your kneading hand

- knead the dough 8 times, so that's: 8 times stretch / fold / turn and then plop the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes, repeat again 3 times.  By the second time you will already begin to feel how soft and airy the dough is and I promise you'll never go back to regular boring kneading again!

- after the 4th low-knead pop it somewhere cosy for an hour or until it has doubled in size

- flour your work-surface liberally and then roll out the dough as thinly as possible

- brush the entire surface of the dough with the softened butter and then roll it up like you'd roll a newspaper

- take a very large flat tray and roll the tube into a spiral shape so it resembles a snail shell then cover with a large bucket or similar - something that is much bigger than the rolled ensaimada - and let it rise for at least 4 hours

- remove the bucket and bake for 30 - 40 minutes on 160C or until golden and risen

- let it cool, then brush with butter and sprinkle with a generous cloud of icing sugar

as you can see mine didn't quite come out as a perfect spiral but what the heck... not bad for a first attempt and it's soft billowy lovelyness more than made up for an imperfect circle...

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. This sounds delicious Dom. We used to stay in a holiday cottage in France where to local bakery made giant croissant-shaped breakfast confections, but they were different to croissants as they were more doughy - half way between brioche and croissant. I wonder if it was this kind of mix. Perfect for dunking in hot choc as they were not quite as flaky. Aaaanyway, enough of my random memories. Ps. I voted for you in Cosmo

  2. Oh this is a definite must make this weekend - my mouth watered just reading the recipe and I need to try this low knead method. No diet this weekend!

  3. I didn't think this would be possible, but this sounds even nicer than croissants!

  4. God that looks yummy, I must give it a go.x

  5. Right, I'm off to Mallorca in a couple of weeks, must look out for this!

  6. Look at me.. the sheltered American.. I have never even heard of an ensaimadas before.. but oh my word I must have one now! It looks absolutely divine... and with a praise like you just gave them, I must try making these as soon as it cools down here! (hate baking when it's 110!!!)

  7. Oh God, That looks SO good :D
    Have a wonderful Friday..


  8. You have tempted me with the notion of actually baking something. But, by golly, if I make this I will use LARD.

  9. Oh I love ensaimadas and their powdery sugar coating - nice one.

  10. Never have I heard of, never mind eaten ensaimadas and oh I have been out!!! I so want some of that soft billowy loveliness. I've used Dan's trick of substituting white chocolate for lard and it;s worked well so far - all two times I've tried it :-S

  11. Yowza! Does that bread ever look good! I'd say you have come back well from The Great Spanish Tortilla Mishap! My goodness, Dom!

  12. OK, this will be my weekend's project. Is the texture at all like brioche? That rolling and spiraling sounds fun to do, and I love how you unwind it to eat it. Yum.

  13. Wow that is one beautiful loaf - I can almost smell it now.

  14. This looks awesome, Dom - I've never seen one of these before, but now I know I have to add this to the list of breads to attempt. The texture inside looks incredible...

  15. I love ensaimadas but I have never tried to make one myself. I am bookmarking this for when I feel confident enough that I can manage it. Ah, just delicious.

  16. omg - ambrosial. I am pinning it and can't wait to try it.

  17. I LOVE these wonderful pastry bready things and yours looks so authentic too! VERY nice indeed and so light and flaky too!

  18. I am SO making this - and I love the white choc substitute for lard trick too, Choclette, though do you think it works the other way, as in, hmmm, I don't have any white chocolate, I'll tuck into this lard instead? Hmmm, maybe not.
    Back to the recipe - do you think it could rise overnight in the fridge? X

    1. actually the recipe I got it from says you should make it in the evening and leave it with the bucket over it over night, so I imagine that you wouldn't need to use the fridge!

    2. Brilliant, that makes it much more breakfast-friendly. I love the instruction to roll it as you would a newspaper - do you think the younger generation will know what that means, in years to come? And what will we (by then unemployed) ex-newspaper journalists cover ourselves with when we are sleeping rough? Old iPads?

  19. This looks great - perfect for a lazy breakfast on a hot day. Oddly enough I think I look like a chubby croissant these days.

  20. This looks utterly wonderful. I've never heard of it before but I definitely have to give it a go. I can almost taste it. GG

  21. This looks and sounds wonderful. I am going to have to try it!

  22. That sounds amazing. I do love sweetened milk loaves and this is so pretty as a snail!


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