Some changes have been in the works here at the Burnt Lumpia Worldwide Headquarters over the past few weeks and months. Most recently, the wife and I have been shuffling things from room to room to make room for other things–if that makes sense.
We’ve pretty much been emptying and clearing out our home office (which was originally an extra bedroom). I’ve shifted my work desk out of the office and into the breakfast nook next to our kitchen (now making that space more conducive to food blogging). And since there was nowhere else to stow the rest of my office junk, our guestroom is now a guestroom/storage room (now making that space more conducive to shorter visits from my parents. I’m kidding. Kind of.).
And what about the now empty room formerly known as our “office”?
We’re turning it into a nursery!
Yes, I’m happy to announce that the wife and I are expecting our first child! “Baby Lumpia” is due in early August, and yes, we do know the sex of the baby–though I think I’ll keep that bit of information under wraps, for now at least. Obviously, I’ve been holding on to this good news for a while now and waiting for the right time to share it with everyone here. But with all the crazy goings-on needed to prepare for a baby (A BABY!), I’ve been a bit distracted to say the least.
To celebrate the wife’s growing belly (and appetite), I decided to bake… a bun in the oven of course! The particular buns I attempted to bake are actually sweet Filipino brioche rolls called Ensaimada.
I know, baking isn’t exactly my forte here. I’ve never baked any sort of bread before, let alone Ensaimada. But I’ve never had a kid before either. I figure that if I can make a decent Filipino Ensaimada, I’ve got a decent chance at learning how to change a diaper–both activities involve a great deal of softened butter (insert rimshot here).
With a new baby and all, at least there will be someone besides myself that finds great amusement in poop jokes. At least that’s my hope…
A topping of butter, sugar, and cheese. How very Filipino.
Ensaimada come to the Philippines by way of Spain, Majorca to be exact. The main difference nowadays between Majorcan Ensaimadas and Filipino Ensaimadas is that the Spanish variety are made with pork lard, while the Filipino type are made with butter–a funny twist considering the Filipino penchant for pork. And to top it all off, Filipino Ensaimadas usually have a healthy slathering of extra butter, as well as a sprinkling of sugar and grated cheese (Edam, AKA quezo de bola) on its crown.
Initially, I had two Filipino Ensaimada recipes to choose from when I started: a recipe from Saveur Magazine, and a recipe in the Memories Of Philippine Kitchens cookbook. While the Saveur Magazine Ensaimada recipe looked delicious, I decided against it because it required 22 egg yolks (Twenty-effing-two!). So I went with the recipe from Memories Of Philippine Kitchens because its Ensaimada required a more manageable nine egg yolks, plus three whole eggs.
References galore for Ensaimada and Brioche.
Aside from the two legitimate Filipino recipes I had for ensaimada, I also had quite a few cookbooks with brioche recipes to lean on as well (Remember, ensaimada is a type of brioche). I gleaned a lot of useful brioche tips from Alton Brown, Shirley O. Corriher, and Harold McGee–a veritable triumvirate of food science!
Anyhizzle, with all the sciencey and geeky info I had, I made a few adjustments to the procedure from the Memories Of Philippine Kitchens recipe, though most of the ingredients and amounts are the same. The biggest change I made was in the first rise of the dough–I let mine go for 2.5 hours instead of just the hour suggested in the cookbook. I feel this longer initial rise helps develop more flavor in the dough. And don’t worry about getting a sour tasting dough from too long of a rise–it would take a few days (at least) to overferment the dough using only commercial dry active yeast.
Although the only Ensaimada I’ve ever had are the overly buttery and sweet mass-produced ones from Goldilocks, I must say that the Ensaimada I cranked out were divine. They were heavy, dense, and chewy, but not gummy like commercial Ensaimadas tend to be. The saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the bun itself, with the sugar sprinkled on top, were a nice counterpoint. And in addition to the traditional Ensaimadas with Edam cheese rolled into the dough, I also made a couple with cinnamon and sugar, and a couple with macapuno.
All in all, I was especially pleased with the texture of the finished buns. My Ensaimada were rich, though more bready than cakey. The crumb structure was also tender and flaky, with a beautiful pale yellow hue. Even though we know the gender of our baby, I think I’m leaning away from painting the nursery pink or blue. A pale yellow nursery seems more fitting, Ensaimada Yellow perhaps.
Adapted from Memories of Philippine Kitchens
Makes 12 sweet brioche rolls
2 envelopes active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk, warmed (105 degrees F–110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon, plus 4 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-pupose flour
2 cups bread flour
4 teaspoons salt
3 whole eggs
9 egg yolks
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature
Filling (all are optional):
Grated Edam cheese
Cinnamon and brown sugar
Macapuno (coconut strings)
Milk: for brushing on top before baking
Softened butter: for brushing on top after baking
Sugar: for sprinkling
Grated Edam cheese: for sprinkling
In the work bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the yeast, warmed milk, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir with a spoon to combine and let sit for 3-5 minutes until mixture is foamy.
In a separate large bowl, sift together the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and beat with the paddle attachment of your mixer for 2-3 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together. Add the eggs to the dough and continue mixing on medium speed for 3-5 minutes more, until dough just comes together (you may have to scrape down the sides of your bowl and your paddle a couple of times before everything is combined).
At this point, the dough is pretty tough, but your mixer can handle it.
After the dough just comes together, remove it from the stand mixer and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick.
Place half of the butter in the middle of the dough, then fold over one side of the dough onto the butter.
Place the other half of the butter onto the middle of the dough, then fold over the other side of the dough onto the butter.
Fold the dough into a little package or ball shape, and place back into the work bowl of the stand mixer. (This way of incorporating the butter ensures that it actually gets into the dough. If you just added the butter a tablespoon at a time to a running mixer, most of the butter ends up on the walls of the work bowl and on the outside of the dough, rather than on the inside. I learned this tip from Alton Brown’s brioche recipe.)
Exchange the paddle for the dough hook on your stand mixer, and knead the dough and butter for 10-15 minutes on medium speed until butter is well incorporated and the dough becomes glossy and elastic–you may have to scrape down the bowl and hook a few times.
Remove the dough from the work bowl and roll into uniform ball. Add the dough, seam side down, to another large bowl that has been lightly greased (I sprayed my bowl with nonstick spray). Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in volume, 1-3 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, roll it into a ball again, then place back into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the covered bowl into the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, pinch off 24 balls from the dough, each about 2-inches in diameter. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough balls to rise again for another hour.
Balls. Of Dough.
Roll out a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is about 12×4 inches. Sprinkle your filling of choice (cheese, cinnamon and sugar, macapuno) in the center of the rolled out dough.
I go easy on the cheese.
Roll the dough over the filling lengthwise into a rope shape about 14-inches long. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls until you have 24 ropes.
2 Ropes. Braided.
Take two of the ropes and twist them around each other to braid them. Repeat with the other ropes until you have 12 sets of braids. Then form each of the braids into a spiral shape, making sure to tuck in each of the ends–should kinda look like a turban. Place each spiral into a greased fluted brioche mold, or into a greased 4-5 inch tart ring.
However, the kitchen at the Burnt Lumpia Worldwide Headquarters is apparently ill-equipped for fancy-pants baking as I have no brioche molds or tart rings. So I just went commando-style and placed my coils sans support on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Here to let you know boy, oh boy.
I make dough, but don’t call me Doughboy.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the top of each of the Ensaimada rolls with some milk, then place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Bake until the rolls are golden brown on top (you can leave them in there for longer if you want them a deeper brown).
Remove the buns from the oven and let cool slightly. Brush the warm buns with the softened butter, then sprinkle on as much sugar and cheese as you’d like. Enjoy the ensaimada slathered with some jelly of your choice, with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate on the side, or all by its lonesome.
I stored the leftover Ensaimada in a big zip top bag and just left them out on the kitchen counter. I reheated them in the microwave for a few seconds whenever I wanted to eat one. Because of the relatively high sugar content in the dough, the Ensaimada won’t go stale as fast as other types of bread. With that said, the wife and I, and indirectly the baby too I suppose, finished off all 12 of the Ensaimada in only a few days.