These Super Soft Ensaymada Bread Rolls are the best! It’s light, fluffy, butter-rich, and exceptionally delicious. This is the best and easiest homemade Ensaymada recipe you’ll ever make! Skip using the rolling pin or coiling the dough. You won’t need a special molder either. Make it easier by shaping it into classic bread rolls.

Soft Ensaymada Bread Rolls

Why you’ll love this Ensaymada Recipe

I have made Ensaymada at home plenty of times for my friends and relatives. I (used to) call it a labor of love because the whole process is quite extensive. It literally takes me one whole day from making the dough, proving, rolling, and then coiling. I still can’t believe I used to do that.

This recipe, on the other hand, is easier, beginner-friendly, and makes the best-tasting ensaymada ever! Try it to believe it!

Soft Ensaymada Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make ensaymada.

  • Egg yolks + Whole eggs – This is one of the secrets to a really soft and fluffy dough.
  • Pure unsalted butter: There’s no substitute for this. The better the quality of the butter, the better your Ensaymada will be.
  • Bread flour and All-purpose flour – Mixing these two kinds of flour allows us to control the protein content of the bread. Which just means that it will give the bread a soft and delicately chewy texture.
  • Sugar – We Filipinos love our buns sweet. Sugar is needed to make the dough and also for the butter topping.
  • Milk and Water – These will serve as the base liquid for the dough. The water is combined with the yeast to activate.
  • Active Dry Yeast or Instant Dry Yeast – Both can be used interchangeably. Activate in lukewarm water until foamy.
  • Cheese – Ensaymada will not be complete without cheese. As simple as processed cheddar cheese will work wonderfully for this recipe. Other types of cheese you can use are cheddar cheese, Edam cheese (queso de bola), gouda cheese, and quick melt-processed cheese.
  • Salt – A crucial ingredient that makes any bread taste good.

Tips on How to Make Super Soft Ensaymada

  1. Warm the liquid ingredients such as water and milk. Microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. The liquid needs to be at a lukewarm temperature of around 40c/105f. If it’s too hot the yeast will die. If it’s too cold, the yeast will not activate. Don’t forget to add a teaspoon of sugar to activate quickly.
  2. Cold semi-soft butter, cut into cubes. Make sure it’s not melting.
  3. Add additional flour, I added about 4 tbsp more. Knead until the dough is elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do a pane test to check the texture of the dough.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and seal the edges. I find that the yeast activates more quickly when moisture is locked-in in the bowl.
  5. You can proof the dough in a warm place or do a cold rise by placing the dough in the fridge.

Make ahead tip! I do this all the time

Making Ensaymada is easy. Waiting for the dough to rise, twice at that, is actually the hardest especially if you’re keen on making it in one whole day. But I don’t. Waiting makes me tired and more impatient. So what I always do is make the dough ahead of time and then refrigerate it overnight.

Cold rise ensaymada dough in the refrigerator

In the fridge, the dough will slowly rise and double in size overnight. Once you’ve finished making the dough, just get on about your day and forget about it for a while. On the day of baking, remove them from the refrigerator 30mins to 1hr before you’re going to shape them into rolls.

Super Soft Ensaymada in a pan

These Ensaymada Bread rolls are a perfect gift to yourself, friends, and loved ones as you don’t have to make an extra effort to individually wrap them. You just need one big plastic wrap, tie a ribbon and it’s good to go.

I would love to serve this for Christmas and New Year’s Celebration. Just look at how pretty they are!

soft and buttery ensaymada

Storage

Refrigerate in an airtight sealed container. When properly stored, it can last 3 to 5 days.

Serve and Re-heating

Serve immediately and enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea. Ensaymada is best served warm. Reheat in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.

Ube Ensaymada or Monggo

Another variation of this recipe is ube ensaymada and monggo. It uses the same special dough recipe with delicious fillings. You can make the fillings from scratch or use store-bought for convenience. Get the complete recipe here!

Ube Ensaymada with Grated Cheese

Frequently asked questions

What if my bread did not properly rise?

Check out my Beginner’s Guide: Baking with Yeast Bread for more tips.

Do I need to prove instant yeast?

Technically instant yeast doesn’t need to be frothed but there’s no harm in doing it. Personally, I always want to make sure that my yeast is active before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. As you know, bad yeast = unrisen dough = wasted ingredients.
We don’t want that to happen here, especially with the amount of butter and eggs needed to make this recipe.
 

Can I use all-purpose flour only?

The bread flour in this recipe can be replaced with all-purpose flour. Replaced in the same amount as mentioned in the recipe. Bread will just be less chewy with all-purpose flour.

Why is the rising time too long compared to other recipes like spanish bread or pandesal?

Because of the amount of butter in this recipe, the rising time is longer compared to other bread recipes. Mine took 2hrs and 15mins.

What’s the best way to prove the dough during colder months?

For colder months, I use the oven to prove the dough. Place a glass baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Put the dough in the middle or top rack and shut the door. The steam and heat from the boiling water will create a warm environment to help raise the dough.

Where can I buy a molder for ensaymada?

The molder for ensaymada is called “brioche mold”. They usually come in different sizes. The ones I used are 3 1/2 inches to 4 inches wide. A regular cupcake pan can be used as a substitute. It’s suitable if you want a small size bread. Another option is an “egg tart molder” which also comes in different sizes. All these can be bought online and in most baking stores.

Watch the video on how to make Super Soft Ensaymada Bread Rolls

Hungry for more? Try these recipes…

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Kakanin

ensaymada with grated cheese on top

Super Soft Ensaymada Recipe

4.89 from 45 votes
The softest Ensaymada you will ever have! It's light, fluffy, and butter-rich. This is the best homemade Ensaymada you'll ever make. Shape into bread rolls and use a regular baking pan or coil and use an ensaymada molder.
Milk – The recipe previously uses 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup milk. I replaced water with milk to simplify the ingredients. The total amount of milk is now 3/4 cup milk. Use 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup milk if preferred.
Shaping – To make the dough easier to handle, place it in the fridge for 1.5 hours AFTER punching down the air and BEFORE shaping. This will help set the butter making it easier to shape. Room temperature can affect the consistency of the dough, especially during the summer.
Servings22 -24 rolls
preparation time1 hour 30 minutes
Total cooking time15 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ¾ cup lukewarm milk with temp 40c/105f (note 1)
  • 1 tbsp yeast (active dry or instant yeast, note 2)
  • 2 ¼ cups bread flour (plus more for kneading, note 3)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 227 grams / 1 cup cold unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)

Topping

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup white sugar (granulated or fine will do)
  • ½ cup grated cheese (I used cheddar, add more if preferred)

Instructions

For the Dough (watch the video, it's helpful)

  • In a medium-size bowl, combine lukewarm milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and yeast. Stir until completely dissolved. Let it stand for 5 to 10mins until it froths.
  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add milk-yeast mixture, eggs, and egg yolks to the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until just combined. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and mix until flour is incorporated. about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the cubes of butter one at a time while running the mixer at medium speed. Beat for 5 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to high and beat for 15 to 20 minutes. Add additional flour as necessary while kneading, start with 2 tbs, and go from there. I added about 4 tbsp more. After kneading, the dough will be slightly sticky, soft yet stretchy, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Rise # 1 Warm rise or cold rise

  • Transfer to a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and seal the edges. Let it rise for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature until double in size. To make ahead, do a cold rise by placing the dough in the refrigerator. The dough will slowly double in size the next day. See notes 4, 5 and 6 for more information.

Rise #2 Shape the rolls

  • Greased baking pan and line it with parchment paper. If using non-stick brioche molder greased it thoroughly specially the flutes. You can use butter or oil.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 to 2 minutes in a stand mixer or by hand. If the dough is too loose, chill in the fridge for 1.5 hours(see note 6).
  • Divide the dough and form into the desired size of rolls (see video). For an evenly sized dough, use a kitchen scale. Mine was about 50g to 60g or 2 ounces each. Adjust based on your preference.
  • Transfer the rolls to a baking pan or brioche molder greased with butter. Cover with cling wrap and let it rise until double in size. This could take 1 hour or more depending on the room temperature.

Baking

  • Preheat oven at 180c/350f, 15 minutes before the dough rolls finishes rising. Bake the Ensaymada bread rolls for 12 to 15 minutes or until the top turns light brown. Do a check at 10 minutes just to be sure.
  • Let the bread slightly cool then remove from the pan. Place a wire rack and cool completely.

Topping

  • Mix butter and sugar. Spread over the Ensaymada bread rolls.
  • Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Serve with coffee, hot chocolate or tea. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  1. Milk – previously uses 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup milk. Replaced water with milk which amounts to 3/4 cup milk in total. Use 1/2 cup water if preferred.
  2. Yeast – you can use instant or active dry. Personally, I always proof my yeast no matter the type to make sure they’re working before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. Note: Do not use stale or expired yeast.
  3. Bread flour – substitute with all-purpose flour if bread flour is not available.  Replaced the same amount as mentioned in the recipe. Bread will just be less chewy with all-purpose flour.
  4. Rising time: Because of the amount of butter in this recipe, the rising time is longer compared to other bread recipes. Mine took 2hrs and 15mins.
  5. Proofing in colder months: Place a baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven (DO NOT TURN IT ON) and fill it with boiling water. Put the dough in the middle rack and shut the door. The steam and heat from the boiling water will create a warm environment to help raise the dough.
  6. Overnight Rising: Make the dough then let it proof for 30 minutes at room temperature covered in cling wrap. Place in the fridge and the dough will slowly rise and double in size overnight. On the day of baking, remove them from the refrigerator 45 mins to 1 hour before you’re going to shape them into rolls.
  7. Types of cheese recommended: Cheddar cheese, Edam cheese (queso de bola), Gouda cheese, and quick melt-processed cheese.
  8. Storage/Shelf life: Refrigerate in an airtight sealed container. When properly stored, it can last 3 to 5 days.
  9. Re-heating: Ensaymada is best served warm. Reheat in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Serve immediately and enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea.
  10. Variation: Ensaymada Ube and Monggo – ensaymada bread filled with ube halaya and sweet mung bean paste.
  11. Ensaymada Molder – the molder for ensaymada is called “brioche mold”. They usually come in different sizes. The ones I used are 3 1/2 inches to 4 inches wide. A regular cupcake pan can be used as a substitute. It’s suitable if you want a small size of bread. Another option is an “egg tart molder” which also comes in different sizes. All these can be bought online and in most baking stores.
Jump to Video
Author : Mella
Course : Snack
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : buttery rolls, ensaymada recipe, filipino brioche
Nutrition Facts
Super Soft Ensaymada Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
232
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
12
g
18
%
Saturated Fat
 
7
g
44
%
Cholesterol
 
66
mg
22
%
Sodium
 
153
mg
7
%
Potassium
 
41
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
27
g
9
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
392
IU
8
%
Calcium
 
32
mg
3
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag @rivertenkitchen or leave a comment below!

Updated June 2021 with new photos, video, and a streamlined recipe after further testing to improve the recipe! **Replaced water with milk to simplify the recipe.

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191 Comments

    1. Hi Gazelle, Yes all-purpose flour is fine. There will just be a slight difference in texture but flavor and yumminess is the same 🙂

    1. Hi Glovee, I highly suggest doing the whole recipe to make the waiting time and effort worth your while.

  1. Hi,

    I’m a fan of yours! I love your recipes. Just out of curiousity if you dnt mind, I would just like to know the exact reason for using only a quarter of milk then plenty of butter at the same time for this recipe? Will it affect the texture and will the outcome still fluffly/soft despite of using a small amount of milk? Many thanks and appreciate your response.

    1. thanks Emilia! Milk and water are the “liquids” in this recipe which helps form the gluten from the flour. Milk also adds flavor to the bread.

  2. 5 stars

    5 stars
    I haven’t tried the recipe yet because I got confused with the video and the written recipe. In the video it looks like 8 egg yolk but the written one in this website says 4 yolks and 2 whole eggs? Please clarify. Thanks. I love your recipe it seems easy todo.

  3. 5 stars
    Actually, this is not the first recipe i’ve tried from your website. I tried the pandesal first and luckily it was perfect. I think this is the 5th recipe i tried from different website but yours was the best. Since then, i never visited another website for making pandesal. Thank you very much from posting your recipe. Love it???

  4. Hi @riverten! I just wanted to check if your recipe is applicable to colder, higher altitude areas. I live in Canada, Calgary to be specific, and our weather can be quite erratic. I have been trying a lot of ensaymada recipes. I am not an expert baker but I do follow recipes to the letter! Just am that way. And I am very frustrated with dense product when every recipe I’ve tried claims to be soft and fluffy. The only major change I do is use apf instead of bread flour for fear of exactly that, dense/heavy buns. To be honest have invested money in ingredients for ensaymada (they’re not cheap due to Covid) and am really discouraged in doing them. Am I missing something in the process? Most of the recipes are alike and before I try another one (yours!) I just want to check where you guys are from and if your recipe could be applicable to our area. I’m assuming that some of the ones I’ve been following are from California and or Manila with totally different climates to where I am. Hoping you can share tips with me and should I follow your recipe, how may I apply to our part if the world. Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Joyce, I’ve had my fair share of failed bread recipes (for various reasons and not because of the recipes itself) so I completely understand where you’re coming from. I live in Singapore so the weather here is similar to the Philippines. As for this recipe, I always prove my dough overnight in the fridge and they turn out just fine. However, I have no direct experience in baking at high altitude areas so wouldn’t be able to give you specific tips. This recipe has been successfully made by many from the US but I’m not sure of the elevation difference between Canada. One piece of advice I can give is to start with my Soft Pandesal recipe first. It uses fewer eggs and butter, thus rises faster than this Ensaymada recipe. Observe how fast the dough rises and how quickly it bakes–bake a few pieces first using the recommended temperature in the recipe. If it turns out okay then bake the rest, if not then make the needed adjustments. I also found this site about high altitude baking. I hope it can give you some guidance. It would be really helpful if we hear about your experience, please do email me at rivertenkitchen at gmail .com whatever the outcome may be or you can also share your experience here. I’m sure other home bakers will appreciate it.
      – Mella

    2. Hi, if i may comment. It might got to do with the kneading and proofing of the dough. Sometimes, it can be dense when it’s not kneaded well or lack of proofing.
      You can proof your bread dough near a warm place, like near your fire place or heater, or in your oven if you have “dough proofing mode” or in the oven, with the power off, put a cup of boiled water inside and put your dough on the rack above. Hope this helps.

  5. NOTE: The number of egg yolks has been adjusted to improve rising time of the dough. Please follow the recipe card and use the video as a guideline only.

  6. 5 stars
    Your recipe is confusing. You used 8 eggs in the video, then on the recipe card there are 4 eggs in all. Then you proofed yeast in water rinse the video, but in the recipe it’s instant yeast. Correct me if I’m wrong but Instant yeast is supposed to be mixed directly in dry ingredients? What is really the correct recipe? Pls. fix the right measurements. Thanks

    1. Hi Lisette, in case you’ve read the entire post you will notice that I have several notes about the changes I made to the number of eggs (also indicated in the recipe card). I did this to improve (lessen) the rising time of the dough.
      There are a total of 6 eggs in the updated recipe–4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs (which means you will use both the egg yolk and the egg white).
      Re: Instant yeast–technically it doesn’t need to be frothed but there’s no harm in doing it. Personally, I just always want to make sure that my yeast is active before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. As you know, bad yeast = unrisen dough = wasted ingredients.
      If you’re comfortable with directly adding instant yeast to the rest of the ingredients, you may do so. I hope this helps.
      -Mella

      1. 5 stars
        Hi, the first time I made this ensaymada recipe was the first time I made bread as well. I used only all purpose flour. I didn’t have a stand mixer so I had to work the dough by hand. It was so much fun and I was really happy with the result. Super yummy and fluffy. Kudos to you Mella.

  7. Hi, I’ve read from a bread book that instant yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients and doesn’t need ‘blooming’. Thanks for sharing your recipe, I will make it today.