Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Black sesame buns with goji berries

I'm still currently stuck in limbo between houses. I've just received news from the Dad that our new house renovations are going to be completed soon and hopefully we'll get to move in soon. (next week perhaps?)

I really miss pottering about in the kitchen. Cos there's just so many things that I really want to make. One of them being a really chocolate-y chocolate cake to celebrate a new chapter. You can bet that that's gonna be one of  the first things I'll be making when I say 'Ello to the new oven.

One of the last things I baked before we made the move was bread. I made a matcha chocolate loaf (posted previously) using the tangzhong method, and after making the matcha choc loaf, there was still half a portion of tangzhong leftover. Needless to say, I had to use it up. More bread? Of course. Black sesame buns.

Black sesame buns
I had a big pack of black sesame seeds that was just begging to be used. So, I toasted the seeds in a pan, left it to cool, before grinding them in the processer to a lovely greyish powder.

AND! I think I've managed to find the reason why the last time I did it, the powder was a really unsightly brown black powder. The trick is to lightly toast the sesame seeds, and not to toast them for too long. Why do I know this? Because after making this bread, I wanted to make some black sesame cookies and toasted another second batch of sesame seeds. I think I was overzealous in wanting to release the lovely sesame aroma that I overtoasted this second batch. And got the same ugly brown black powder. :(

My personal deduction (correct me if I'm wrong) - I reckon toasting the seeds lightly keeps the base seed still white, so during the grinding process, it's essentially black coating + white base = grey powder, whereas for the overtoasting scenario, it will be black coating + brown base (over toasted sesame seed) = black brown powder. Am I right?

Anyway, these buns were made following the previous recipe I had for the matcha chocolate loaf. But I prefer the flavour for these buns over the matcha chocolate loaf, probably because the black sesame flavour was more pronounced and the sweetness level was okay (I didn't had to spread any jam while eating these). They face the same problem as the previous batch, not overtly soft, but that could be because of the batch of tangzhong I made, or the temperature. I'll definitely be making these again cos I really like the flavour.

I thought to use goji berries cos I like the taste of them - slightly sweet, soft and moist when cooked. And technically, it should complement black sesame, since both are quite Asian flavours. Unfortunately, as we were in the midst of clearing the fridge out while I was making these, we were down to the last 30 dried goji berries in our previously full huge can. How do I know there were exactly 30? Well, I counted to equally divide among my 10 buns, and thus, there were exactly three measly goji berries for each bun. The next time I'm making these, I'm gotta make sure that there will be way more than just 30 dried goji berries in the house...

Black sesame buns with goji berries (adapted from Sherie at Maameemoomoo)
(makes 10 buns)

330g bread flour
60g black sesame powder
60g sugar
heaping ½ tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
½ cup milk
1 XL egg
110g tangzhong starter
40g butter
goji berries

Combine the flour, black sesame powder, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, egg and tangzhong and mix very well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients bowl.
Pour wet ingredients into the center of the well.
Fit the mixer with the hook attachment and begin mixing on medium speed until the dough comes together, then add the butter in and continue kneading.
Knead until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic, about 18 - 20 minutes (but each mixer varies). When ready, you should be able to take a chunk of the dough and stretch it to a very thin membrane before if breaks. When it does break it should form a circle.
Remove the dough from the mixer and knead into a ball. Take a large bowl, grease it with oil, then place the dough into the ball and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof in a warm place until it's doubled in size, about 40 minutes or more.
Once the dough have doubled in size, transfer the dough to a clean surface. Knead lightly to remove any trapped air.
Divide the dough into ten equal portions (use the weighing scale). Take one portion, press the goji berries into the centre, and fold it into thirds (like folding puff pastry folds). Tuck the ends underneath for a neater look. Then place onto the baking sheet for the second round of proofing. Cover with cloth again and let rise until doubled in size, about another 40 minutes.
Bake at 170C for about 15 – 20 mins until the bread is brown all over.
Cover the surface with foil if the surface browns too quickly. Remove from oven, and cool.


  1. Mmm I adore black sesame and love the addition of goji here!  Such a healthy combination and the goji adds such vibrant pops of color. 

  2. yeps. black sesame lover here too. :)


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