Black Sesame Tangzhong Babka

June  6, 2019
5 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes 1 loaf
What You'll Need
  • Tangzhong
  • 25 grams bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Black sesame dough
  • 275 grams bread flour
  • 75 grams rye flour
  • 45 grams (3 tablespoons) ground black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 65 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • Chocolate-nut filling
  • 65 grams dark chocolate
  • 60 grams unsalted butter
  • 25 grams powdered sugar
  • 15 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 65 grams walnuts, pecans, and almonds (or a mix of your choice), toasted and chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
  1. For the tangzhong: Mix flour with water until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat in a saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon, until thick. When swirling wooden spoon around pan, you should be able to see visibly the echoes of the swirl. Transfer to a clean bowl. Take a piece of plastic wrap and gently press it against the surface of the tangzhong. Let cool.
  2. For the black sesame dough: Heat milk slightly until lukewarm. Add in yeast and proof for 5 to 10 minutes. You should see a thick layer of foam, indicating the yeast is active.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift in bread flour, rye flour, black sesame, salt, and sugar. Add in foamy yeast/milk mixture, tangzhong, and beaten egg. Using a paddle attachment, mix on medium-high. Add butter, one chunk at a time, until smooth. Continue mixing on medium-high for about 15 to 20 minutes, until elastic, supple, and super smooth. (Dough will be sticky; don't worry.)
  4. Turn out onto a greased bowl, and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled in size, around 1 to 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  5. For the chocolate-nut filling: Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon; mixture should form a spreadable paste.
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. Roll into a large 24-inch square. Spread filling evenly over dough, sprinkling chopped nuts all around, and then roll dough up, starting from the short edge. Use a sharp knife and slice through the middle down the length of the dough. Twist two halves over each other and place in a parchment-lined loaf pan, tucking the edges underneath. Cover with plastic and let rise for another 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. After rising, brush loaf with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nora
  • Danielle Weiner
    Danielle Weiner
  • Sipa
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Manuel Betancourt is a New York City-based writer. He’s a pop culture enthusiast, an amateur baker, and an eternal Buffy fan. His work has appeared in Film Comment, The Atlantic, Vice, INTO, and Esquire, among others. He’s a regular contributor to Remezcla, Electric Literature, and one of the co-authors of the middle-grade graphic novel The Cardboard Kingdom.

8 Reviews

Nora February 25, 2020
Delicious! And beautiful. The dough fascinates me and I am wondering what else to do with it. Here's a note that may help someone: I had the paddle of my stand mixer going on slow and watched it for a few minutes. It was a mess. I couldn't imagine how it would come together. Did I need to add a little flour maybe? So I walked away, leaving it alone, and trusting. In a little while--probably 18 minutes--the sound of the mixer changed completely. I went over and like magic, had a lovely silky well-formed dough. My advice: resist the temptation to tinker. Follow the directions. Stay within hearing distance. It'll tell you when it's ready.
HolidayBakerMan January 3, 2020
Can't wait to try this
Danielle W. June 16, 2019
correction: my first sentence should read **25 gm.** of bread flour. actually, the bread flour measurement is given twice - once as 25 grams and once as 275 grams. i am really confused now!
Danielle W. June 16, 2019
the recipe now says 23 gm. of bread flour. is it 25 or 275?

also - how can you roll up a 24 inch-square of dough starting from the "short edge"? there IS NO short edge if the dough is 24 inches-square!

it does sound appealing, however!
Linh Q. June 11, 2019
The recipe is missing the crucial portion of bread flour!!!
Eric K. June 11, 2019
Fixed! 275 grams bread flour.
Sipa June 11, 2019
Where in the ingredient list is the bread flour added in step 3?
Eric K. June 11, 2019
Fixed! 275 grams bread flour.