• Ensaïmada (Spanish sweet bread) (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

This amazing Spanish bread is reminiscent of the croissant. Typically layered with lard (although this one is made with butter), this brioche-like bread has a wonderful flakiness and rich buttery flavour. Originally from the Isle of Mallorca, it’s traditionally served at Easter, however, these days, it’s often eaten at breakfast too.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (99 votes)


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

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time: 10 minutes

Chilling time: 15 minutes

Proving time: 2 hours

Combine the milk, yeast and 1 tsp 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.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. On low speed, gradually add the milk mixture to form a dough. Continue to knead for 6-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

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.
Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.

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.

Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 45 cm square. Working quickly, use a palette knife to carefully spread the butter all over the dough to cover evenly, leaving a 2 cm 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.

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.
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Bake the ensaïmada in 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.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.


This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Easter treats column.


View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.


Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.