Ensaïmada de Mallorca (Spanish Sweet Bread)

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Prep 50min (+10min cooling, 15min chilling and 2hrs proving time)Bake 30minMakes 12 serves

This amazing Spanish bread is reminiscent of the croissant from neighbouring France – traditionally layered with lard (although I make mine with butter) this brioche-like bread has a wonderful flakiness and rich buttery flavour that is simply too hard to resist. Originally from the Isle of Mallorca it is traditionally served at festivals and celebrations such as Easter however, these days, it is often found on the breakfast table – trust me, it really is too good to keep for special occasions!

200ml lukewarm milk
2 teaspoons dried yeast
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
2 eggs
450g (3 cups) bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust (see Baker's Tips)
¼ teaspoon salt
Melted butter, to grease
200g salted butter, cubed, softened (see Baker’s Tips)
Icing sugar, to dust

  1. Combine the milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a jug. Stir to combine and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 5 minutes or until frothy. Add the eggs and use a fork to whisk to combine.
  2. Combine the flour, remaining sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. On low speed gradually add the milk mixture and knead with a dough hook. Continue to knead on low speed for 6-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Brush a medium bowl with melted butter to grease. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size knock it back by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes or until it returns to its original volume.
  6. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 45cm square. Working quickly, use a palette knife to carefully spread the butter all over the dough to cover evenly, leaving a 2cm border. Roll up the dough into a roll to enclose the butter and then press the ends to seal. With an end closest to you, gently roll out the dough again to a rectangle about 60 cm long and 15 cm wide, dusting the dough with a little flour if the butter breaks through. Starting from a long end, roll up the dough again to form a long roll.
  7. Loosely coil the roll onto the lined baking tray. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and chill for 15 minutes. Remove form the fridge and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until well risen.
  8. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  9. Bake the Ensaïmada in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Place the baking tray on a wire rack and set aside on the tray for at least 10 minutes to cool slightly before serving warm or cool completely. Serve dusted liberally with icing sugar.
Baker's Tips
  • The butter for this recipe needs to be soft enough to spread but not so soft that is starts melting when you spread it.
  • This bread is best eaten on the day it is made but will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column Bakeproof: Easter TreatsClick here for more Bakeproof columns and recipes.

Photography by Alan Benson.