This is a variation of Yossy Arefi's Chocolate Babka incorporating "TangZhong", which keeps the loaf moist for 6 to 7 days (I resisted finishing the loaf just to test that) and a change in the filling. This is perfect for breakfast, tea, and general snacking. For this contest, I made two smaller loaves, because I like all things small and cute. The filling can also be switched out for other flavors if Black Sesame isn't your thing. The original chocolate and walnut is the go-to flavor, appeals to mostly everyone. —Jenny
- Makes 1 9 Inch loaf or 2 smaller loaves
All Purpose Flour
Matcha Powder (or 3, depending on your preference)
Milk (preferably whole milk)
AP flour (for TangZhong)
Active Dry Yeast
Butter (room temperature)
Egg (for Egg wash
Black Sesame, toasted
- Measure and sift 360gram flour with salt and matcha powder in a glass bowl. Set aside
- Warm 180ml milk in the microwave, about 30 seconds until temperature around 125F
- Pour 90ml of the warm milk into a separate bowl and dissolve the 9 grams yeast. Set aside and let it foam for about 5-10mins
- To Make the TangZhong: Take the other 90ml and mix in the 2Tbsp AP with a fork or whisk, making sure there are no visible lumps. Warm this mixture with microwave in 30 second increments, mixing in between until texture resemble soft mashed potatoes. Set aside
- Cream the 5 tbsp butter and 7tbsp sugar together with an electric beater, until fluffy
- Add egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Then add the 2tbsp vegetable oil, the TangZhong mixture, and the yeast with milk mixture. MIx well.
- Make a well in the flour, salt and matcha powder mixture, gently pour in the wet ingredients from the previous step. MIx with spatula until a ball of dough is formed. The dough at this stage will be sticky.
- Dust your working surface with a generous amount of flour, take the sticky dough out of the bowl and knead with your hands, adding more flour if needed, for about 5mins. However, since there is oil in the dough, it shouldn't stick too much. Form the dough into a ball, set aside in a well oiled bowl and leave to rise in a warm place, until double in size.
- In the meantime, prepare the black sesame for the filling: Toast the black sesame in 250F for about 30mins. Cool until room temperature then transfer into a ziplock back. Use a rolling pin to grind up the black sesame into almost a powder. If there are some whole sesame seeds, that's okay too.
- Transfer the black sesame powder into a bowl, add the 3tbsp sugar and mix well.
- Grease a 9in loaf pan. Dust the work surface with flour, take the well-risen dough out of the bowl and roll it out into a big thin sheet about 3-4mm. The thinner the layer, the more rolls you can get.
- Brush on the melted butter on the thin sheet of dough, making sure every part of the dough is covered
- Sprinkle the black sesame powder and sugar mixture on the dough, evenly covering the dough.
- Start from the edge closest to you, roll the dough up until it becomes a tube-like shape. Try to roll the dough as tightly as possible and continue rolling to get a long and thin cylindrical form
- Start forming a U shape at the bottom of the loaf pan and the dough should be long enough to come back around to form a second U on top. The Cross-section should be 4 distinct swirl patterns when cut.
- Leave to proof in a warm place for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 350F
- When the dough is proofed. Brush the loaf with lots of egg wash and place in the oven for about an hour. At around 40mins into the baking, cover the entire loaf pan with foil to stop a thick crust from forming and avoid too much browning. (You can also just tent the pan on top to stop the browning but I personally like thin crusts)
- Test for doneness: gently press down on the loaf, if it springs back, it is done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the loaf pan until about room temperature. (It is realllllly hard to not cut it while hot)
- Finally cool completely on a cooling rack. Then cut and enjoy for breakfast or with a cup of tea, coffee for an afternoon pick me up. Making french toast is also a great idea. Then of course, share with friends and the loved ones. Always.