Ensaymada – Filipino Cheese Bread

Filipinos put cheese on food that North Americans don’t usually associate with cheese, most famously …. Cheese ice cream. But believe me when I tell you that these sweet cheese buns, aka ensaymada, are the best thing ever. Pillowy bread twisted around a buttery paste of sugar and grated cheese – Trust me, it’s good. My favourite cheese mix for ensaymada is parmesan and edam, but lots of people also like cheddar or gouda. Philippine Ensaymada has Spanish roots, but Spanish ensaymada is thought to have Arabic roots. The first written recipes hav been traced to Mallorca, which is in the Mediterranean Sea just north of Africa. Check out ensaymadaproject.com for more fascinating history. Full Recipe on YT. Check my bio. It’s time to eat!


Recipe Card

Ensaymada – Filipino sweet buns

Difficulty: Advanced Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 30 min Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins


Water Roux


Cheese Topping


  1. Prepare the water roux.

    First, prepare the water-roux: Mix flour and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until it has thickened to a paste – that is, when you stir you can see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, place a cling film over the paste and leave until lukewarm, or room temperature, before using.

  2. Bloom the yeast

    Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in your mixing bowl. Wait 5 minutes until it is foamy.

  3. Add the wet ingredients.

    Add the cooled water roux, milk, and egg. Stir using a wooden spoon or the dough hook on low.

  4. Knead in the dry ingredients and butter.

    Add the flour and sugar. Knead until sticky dough forms (about 10 minutes with a dough hook).

    Add the butter and continue kneading until the dough is shiny, smooth, and supple. It will still be very sticky but it should pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add flour (up to 3/4 cup) if necessary.

  5. Mix the cheese topping.

    Form the dough into a ball. Cover and let it rest for five minutes while you prepare the cheese topping.

    Mix the grated cheeses and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside.

  6. Form the ensaymada and rise

    Cut the dough into 9-12 pieces (depending on your desired size). Roll each piece into a wide rectangle. Try not to use a lot of flour for rolling – you want the dough sticky and soft. Spread softened butter on rectangles. Sprinkle the cheese mixture (use one half or one cup of the mixture; reserve the rest for after). Roll up horizontally, pinch the edges, and tie in a knot.

    See the video for how to form these. If you have ensaymada molds, you can use them! If not, just put them on a backing tray or muffin pan.

    Cover loosely and let it rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.

  7. Bake

    Preheat the oven to 375 F. Once the buns have doubled in size, bake them for 20-30 minutes or until they are golden brown. This will depend on the size of your buns.

  8. Final topping

    Immediately brush the buns with melted butter. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and sugar mixture over top. You can bake for 2 more minutes or just let them cool for 10 minutes before serving. These are best warm, so if you eat them later, you can always microwave them for 10-15 seconds.

Keywords: cheese, parmesan, edam, filipino, sweet, baking, buns

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