I love black sesame. Black sesame, taro, and coconut are my top three Asian dessert flavors whether it be in cake, bread, or drink. If you find me at an Asian bakery, you'll most likely find at least one of those three flavors on my tray. What can I say, I can never resist these temptations! My cravings struck again today but this time it was all for black sesame. Instead of heading to the bakery, I decided to make my own black sesame rolls. The results? Let's just say it's a good thing this recipe makes 8 rolls because these are about to be put on the menu for breakfast, snack, and dessert.
Black Sesame Rolls
- ½ cup milk, warm (100-110 degrees F) (120 grams)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream, warm (100-110 degrees F) (83 grams)
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast (6 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (310 grams)
Black sesame paste
- ½ cup black sesame seeds (65 grams)
- ½ cup honey (160 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp water
- Grease a 10-inch cake pan with cooking spray or butter. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm milk, warm heavy cream, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast has been activated and the mixture is foamy.
- Add the egg, salt, and all-purpose flour. Mix until a shaggy dough forms. Knead for 8-10 minutes or until a smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, prepare the black sesame paste. In a food processor, puree the black sesame seeds until the oils have been released and the seeds become a paste. Add the honey and puree until smooth. Set aside.
- Punch down the dough. Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour and divide the dough into 8 portions. Roll out each portion into an 8x6-inch rectangle. Spread 1-2 tbsp of the black sesame paste in an even layer, leaving a ¼ inch border. Roll the dough into a tight log and cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving one end intact. Flip the cut sides so that they are facing up and carefully braid the two ropes. Gather the two ends together to create a knot and baking the roll into the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Loosely cover the black sesame rolls with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the egg with water. Brush the egg wash on the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and serve warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you've been following along, the bread for these black sesame rolls is the same as the ones for my strawberry poppy seed cinnamon rolls. The dough was so soft and pillow, I just had to recycle the recipe. Find more tips on how to make the dough for the rolls in that link.
While the dough is proofing, make the black sesame paste. If you ever made any nut butter, the process is the same except with black sesame seeds. Use a food processor and puree the seeds until it becomes a paste, about 7-8 minutes. Add the honey and continue to puree until smooth. The black sesame paste will be thick and full of black sesame flavor. You can also find black sesame paste at many Asian markets, but by making it yourself, you can choose how sweet you want your dessert. Adjust the amount of honey needed according to your preference.
Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it into 8 even portions. Roll each portion out into an 8x6 inch rectangle. Spread about 2 tablespoons of black sesame paste in the center of each rectangle and roll it into a cigar that's 8 inches long. Two tablespoons don't seem like a lot but black sesame is strong - in fact if you can spread 1 tablespoon in one even layer, go for it!
Cut that cigar in half, leaving one end intact. Flip the cut sides so that they're facing you, then braid the two ropes together. Now connect the two ends together to create a knot. Don't worry if it's not perfect, they will look beautiful no matter what!
Arrange the rolls in a cake pan or baking dish, letting the rolls just slightly touch. They need some room to grow during the second proof so you don't want them crammed too close together. After about one hour, the rolls filled up the entire pan!
Brush the egg wash onto the black sesame rolls and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let the rolls cool slightly and serve with a piping cup of hot coffee. These black sesame rolls were the perfect amount of sweet and buttery. The rolls were soft and tender that I couldn't stop tearing away the rolls from the pan. Like I said, thank goodness the recipe makes 8 rolls!
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