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Black Sesame Milk Bread Buns

These soft and fluffy sesame milk bread buns are filled with nutty black sesame paste. They are tender, not overwhelmingly sweet, and stay fresh for several days! 

Black Sesame Milk Bread Buns

Black sesame milk bread is one of many variations of an Asian bakery staple: milk bread. This soft and fluffy bread is extra tender due to the addition of tangzhong, which is a pre-cooked mixture of bread flour and water/milk. The tangzhong helps retain more moisture in the dough, resulting in an extra soft and tender bread with a longer shelf life!

Besides black sesame seed bread, you can also find flavors such as red bean, taro, pork floss, matcha, and more in Asian bakeries! This recipe is based on King Arthur Flour’s milk bread buns recipe with some tweaks. The resulting buns are perfect for a snack or dessert

This black sesame bread recipe makes buns, but if you want one loaf, simply roll all of the dough into a long thin rectangle, spread the sesame paste on top, and roll the dough into a log. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the inside registers at 190F!

Recipe Notes

  1. Measuring flour: I highly recommend following the recipe in grams/by the weight measurements for the best results. If you follow the cup measurements, lightly spoon the flour into the cup measurement and use a flat edge to level off the extra flour. This will prevent you from using too much flour and a drier dough.
  2. Sesame Paste: The sesame paste will take a while to blend into a paste consistency. First, the sesame seeds will be crumbly before gradually releasing oil. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to make sure the sesame is ground evenly.
  3. Tacky Dough: The texture of the dough should be tacky, but not too sticky to handle. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk at a time until the texture is right. If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon of milk at a time.
  4. Filling the Buns: Make sure not to overfill the buns. Otherwise, the black sesame paste bread can be too difficult to shape. The extra paste will also end up leaking out as well.

Sesame Milk Bread Buns

These soft and fluffy sesame milk bread buns are filled with nutty black sesame paste. They are tender, not overwhelmingly sweet, and stay fresh for several days! 
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Rising Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
Keyword: black sesame bread recipe, black sesame milk bread, black sesame paste bread, black sesame seed bread, black sesame swirl bread
Servings: 8 buns
Calories: 375kcal

Ingredients

Tang Zhong

  • 88 g water 6 tbsp
  • 14 g bread flour 2 tbsp

Dough

  • 115 g whole milk 1/2 cup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 38 g sugar 3 tbsp
  • 330 g bread flour around 2 3/4 cups (**Note 1)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 42 g unsalted butter 3 tbsp

Black Sesame Paste (or substitute with store-bought)

  • 150 g black sesame seeds
  • 75 g sugar

Instructions

Sesame Paste

  • Add the black sesame seeds and sugar into a blender/food processor. Blend until the ingredients turn into a runny paste-like consistency, around 6-10 minutes. **Note 2

Tang Zhong

  • Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until thick and pasty, a few minutes. Set it aside to cool to room temp.

Make the Dough

  • Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, except for the butter. Knead the ingredients together until a tacky dough forms.
  • Knead in the butter one tablespoon at a time until incorporated.
  • Continue kneading until the dough becomes smooth (5-8 minutes in a stand mixer, longer if done by hand). The final dough should be elastic, soft, yet tacky. **Note 3
  • Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough proof for 1 – 1.5 hours until roughly doubled in volume. (To test if the dough is proofed: poke a hole in the center. A fully proofed dough should not bounce back or deflate.)
  • Punch the dough down, and divide it into 8 equal portions.

Shape the Dough

  • On a very lightly floured surface, roll one dough into a 6" square. Spread 1 tablespoon of the sesame paste across the surface in a thin, even layer, leaving a border around the edge. **Note 4
  • Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges together to seal.
  • Use a knife or dough scraper to cut 4-5 slits lengthwise. Twist the dough on a diagonal to create the swirl pattern.
  • Then, bring the two ends of the dough together to form a circle and pinch to seal.
  • Place the finished bun on a baking tray. Repeat the filling and shaping with the remaining buns.
  • Cover the buns with a damp towel and let them rise for 40-50 minutes, or until the dough springs back slowly when pressed.

Bake

  • Optional: Before baking, brush the buns with egg wash (1 whole egg plus a splash of milk) or milk for a more golden brown color.
  • Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Let them cool slightly before serving.

Notes

  1. Measuring flour: I highly recommend following the recipe in grams/by the weight measurements for the best results. If you choose to follow the cup measurements, lightly spoon the flour into the cup measurement and use a flat edge to level off the extra flour. This will prevent you from using too much flour and a drier dough.
  2. Sesame Paste: The sesame paste will take a while to blend into a paste consistency. First, the sesame seeds will be crumbly before gradually releasing oil. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to make sure the sesame is ground evenly.
  3. Tacky Dough: The texture of the dough should be tacky, but not too sticky to handle. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk at a time until the texture is right. If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon of milk at a time.
  4. Filling the Buns: Make sure not to overfill the buns with too much sesame paste. Otherwise, the bread can be too difficult to shape. The extra filling will also end up leaking out as well.

How To Make Black Sesame Milk Bread Buns

Sesame Paste

Add the black sesame seeds and sugar into a blender/food processor. Blend until the ingredients turn into a runny paste-like consistency, around 6-10 minutes.

Black Sesame Paste Blended

Tang Zhong

Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until thick and pasty, a few minutes. Set it aside to cool to room temp.

Tang Zhong Ingredients Mixed
Tang Zhong Finished

Make the Dough

Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, except for the butter. Knead the ingredients together until a tacky dough forms. Knead in the butter one tablespoon at a time until incorporated. 

Continue kneading until the dough becomes smooth (5-8 minutes in a stand mixer, longer if done by hand). The final dough should be elastic, soft, yet tacky.

Initial Dough

Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough proof for 1 – 1.5 hours until roughly doubled in volume. (To test if the dough is proofed: poke a hole in the center. A fully proofed dough should not bounce back or deflate.)

Proofed Dough
Proofed Dough Test

Punch the dough down, and divide it into 8 equal portions. 

Shape the Dough

On a very lightly floured surface, roll one dough into a 6″ square. Spread 1 tablespoon of the sesame paste across the surface in a thin, even layer, leaving a border around the edge. 

Black Sesame Paste Spread on Bread

Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges together to seal.

Bread Folded in Half

Use a knife or dough scraper to cut 4-5 slits lengthwise.

Silts Cut

Twist the dough on a diagonal to create the swirl pattern. 

Swirling the Black Sesame Milk Bread Bun

Then, bring the two ends of the dough together to form a circle and pinch to seal. 

Final Shaped Black Sesame Milk Bread Bun

Place the finished bun on a baking tray. Repeat the filling and shaping with the remaining buns.

Cover the buns with a damp towel and let them rise for 40-50 minutes, or until the dough springs back slowly when pressed.

Bake

Optional: Before baking, brush the buns with egg wash (1 whole egg plus a splash of milk) or milk for a more golden brown color. 

Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let the black sesame swirl bread cool slightly before serving!

Black Sesame Milk Bread Buns Close

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