Soft bread with a sweetened black sesame paste swirl is fragrant, nutty, and delicious! Some may think of it as an Asian version of cinnamon raisin toast.
Black sesame paste is a popular sweet bread filling used in East Asia. Its nutty taste and fragrance attracts customers, who love to eat the bread for any meal, particularly breakfast. Black sesame paste is similar to Middle Eastern tahini, except it is made with black sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds are nuttier and contain more nutrients like calcium, fiber, and omega-3s since the outer hull is still intact. Adding black sesame paste to bread is a good way of incorporating flavor and nutrients!
Black sesame paste can be easily made at home with a blender/food processor or purchased in an Asian grocery store. I was able to get a jar of unsweetened black sesame paste from 99 Ranch, which I used for this recipe. I also added adzuki beans, but this step is completely optional. Making the spiral in the loaf is quite simple, but it is important to roll the dough tightly and not to add too much filling to get a beautiful spiral. Watch the video to see how to roll the dough.
The bread dough calls for 6 ingredients only and is completely plant-based! The dough can be made by hand or in a stand mixer, with different kneading times as stated in the directions. The bread dough should be soft and springy, which can alter based on humidity levels, so even though the recipe states 225 g. milk, you made find the need to add more or less. I have included some bread-making tips that I have compiled from past experience.
- Homemade sesame paste is simple to make and requires just black sesame seeds, liquid sweetener, and oil. You can also purchase homemade unsweetened black sesame paste, such as Kevala black tahini, to save time.
- Use lukewarm milk, about 105-115 F. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast, resulting in dense, flat bread. Room temperature milk works too, but warm milk helps activate the yeast.
- Room temperature for rising is sufficient (around 78-85 F) OR in a slightly heated oven (about 80 degrees).
- Hand kneading can take up to 30 minutes to develop gluten. Dough should be able to pass the windowpane test. Using a stand mixer helps save time.
- Do NOT over-rise the dough. The rise time for each proofing should be 45 min-1 hr. If you let it rise too much, the bread will rise and collapse in the oven.
- Do NOT grease the loaf pan. The dough will cling on to the ungreased loaf pan during baking, helping it rise. The bread should not stick to the pan if you use a good quality loaf pan. I use the Monfish loaf pan which I highly recommend! It comes with a lid, but I did not use the lid for this bake.
Vegan Black Sesame Bread
yield: 8.5 x 4.375 in. loaf
For sesame paste option 1:
- 125 g. or 1/2 c. unsweetened black sesame paste (such as Kevala black tahini)
- 45 g. or 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
For sesame paste option 2:
- 105 g. or 3/4 c. black sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 40 g. or 2 tbsp. agave syrup or honey for non-vegan
- 10 g. or 2 tsp. vegan butter, softened or butter for non-vegan
- 320 g. or 2 1/3 c. bread flour
- 6 g. or 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4 g. or 1/2 tsp. salt
- 25 g. or 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 225 g. or 1 c. minus 1 tbsp. warm, unsweetened plant-based milk (almond, soy, lite coconut, flax, etc.) or milk for non-vegan
- 30 g. or 2 tbsp. unsalted vegan butter, softened or butter for non-vegan
- plant based milk to brush (I used refrigerated full-fat coconut milk) or egg wash for non-vegan
- 35 g. or 2 1/2 tbsp. adzuki beans, cooked (optional)
- To make sesame paste option 1, mix both ingredients well. To make sesame paste option 2, place sesame seeds into a food processor and process until a thick paste forms. This can take around 5 min. Add in the agave syrup and vegan butter and process until a more liquified paste forms.
- In a stand mixer, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add in the warm milk and knead on low speed with a dough hook for 10 min. (Knead for 15 min. by hand)
- Add in the softened butter and knead on low speed for another 10 min. (Knead for 15 min. by hand)
- The dough should be soft and pliable, a good indication of gluten development. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside at room temperature or a warm area to rise for 1 hour.
- Once dough has doubled in size, punch the air out. Place dough onto a floured surface and knead for 30 sec. Roll out into an 11″ x 13″ rectangle. Spread on approximately 2/3 sesame paste on. Leave 1 in. margins on the side to prevent sesame paste from leaking out later. Add 2/3 of the adzuki beans on top of paste (optional).
- Roll the tightly dough towards yourself. Pinch the edges to seal the dough and cover the dough with a cloth to rest for 15 min. After 15 min, use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough into a bigger rectangle (watch video for clarification). Spread the remaining sesame paste on without spreading on the edges. Add the remaining adzuki beans (optional) and roll the dough tightly towards yourself again. Seal the dough and carefully transfer to a non-greased bread tin, placing the dough sealed side down. Cover with a cloth and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Once the bread has risen substantially, brush with plant-based milk and bake for 35-40 min. at 375 F on a rack placed closer to the bottom. If the top of the bread browns too quickly, place a piece of foil on top.
- Remove bread from oven immediately and take out the bread to cool on a cooling rack. Cool for 5 min uncovered and an additional 5 min covered with a cloth.
*Nutrition facts are estimates.
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