You know when you have a crazy craving for something and you start to feel like it's all you can think about? Well that's kinda what it's been like for me and black sesame. I'm pretty sure it's all I've been talking about for the last month or so. I'm obsessed and I want to put it in/on everything: bread, ice cream, steamed buns, cookies, salads, basically, yup, everything. I also talk about it a lot (sorry friends/family). And I guess I talked about it to the point where my friend Lily suggested that I might be calcium deficient (I learned from her that there's a decent amount of calcium packed into those teeny tiny seeds). I mean, maybe I am but it's also very likely that I'm just a little preoccupied with all things sesame. This matcha black sesame babka is product of said obsession.
In my mind, pairing black sesame and matcha together is a no brainer and Kristin (Dine x Design) proves my point beautifully with her gorgeous Black Sesame and Matcha Green Tea Pudding Spheres. I mean seriously, they are gorgeous. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will but if you need a little more encouragement, check out this insanely beautiful Matcha Green Tea Cake with Black Sesame Frosting (and brittle!!!!!). See mom, I'm not the only one who thinks matcha and black sesame are a perfect pair (hehe)!!
And in case you haven't heard of babka, let me tell you about it quickly. It's basically a yeasted dough, with milk, butter, and egg that's usually filled with a chocolate or chocolate-cinnamon mixture. Think of it as a fancy cinnamon roll. That's how I think of it anyway. In the case of this babka, I've subbed that typical chocolate mixture for a buttery black sesame filling that's equally rich and just as satisfying.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words and I really do feel like I generally need visuals to full grasp some concepts (like rolling Kardemummabullar), I've done a quick little how to twist a babka below.
And honestly, aren't they just the prettiest twists you've ever seen? I have this crazy love for making bread and always feel so satisfied looking at it pre-bake. I don't think it'll ever get old.
They don't look too bad post oven bake either...ok, they look better than not bad, they look awesome. And after brushing on that shiny syrup, they're mouthwateringly beautiful. So pretty it'll be hard to wait for them to cool completely. (I won't judge you if you can't wait.)
In other news, our dining room table is being delivered today!!!!!!!! Dinner parties: Here. We. Come. I'm kind of excited, in case you couldn't tell. What should we do first? A dumpling party? Taco party? Mac and cheese party à la Molly (but only if the hot dogs get a pedestal)? The possibilities are endless and I just can't wait. Friends, get ready!!
Speaking of exciting news, we also just got our sleeper sofa for the guest room/office/living room (small space living), which means friends and family, please come visit!! But enough about all our new furniture. IT'S BABKA TIME.
Matcha Black Sesame Babka
Adapted from 7x7's Secret Recipe for Wise Sons' Chocolate Babka
Makes 2 8-inch x 5-inch loaves
MATCHA BABKA DOUGH
- 1 c. whole milk
- 1 package (2-1/4 tsp. / 7 g.) active dry yeast
- 4-3/4 c. (688 g.) all-purpose flour
- 9 Tbsp. (128 g.) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 c. (50 g.) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. cooking grade matcha powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Cooking spray, to spray bowl & parchment
BLACK SESAME FILLING
- 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 3-1/2 Tbsp. honey
- 5 Tbsp. toasted black sesame seeds, coarsely ground
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- Flaky sea salt, to sprinkle on top babkas
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Glass measuring cup (for liquids)
- Microwave safe bowl
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer
- Silicone spatula
- Two 8" x 5" loaf pans
- Parchment paper
- Serrated bread knife
- Rimmed baking sheet, lined with foil
- Small saucepan
- Wire cooling rack
- Pastry brush
MATCHA BABKA DOUGH
- Heat milk at 30 seconds increments in microwave-safe bowl until thermometer reads 100 - 110°F.
- Whisk together warm milk (100 - 100°F) and yeast in a medium bowl. Then whisk in 1 cup of the flour. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- In the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and granulated sugar. Beat for 4 minutes on medium until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds on medium between each egg and scraping down sides, then beat in vanilla and mix for an additional 30 seconds.
- Turn mixer to lowest speed and slowly add remaining flour and matcha powder until almost combined, then add milk-yeast mixture and mix on low for 1 minute.
- Add salt and continue to mix on medium-low until dough starts to cleanly pull away from the bowl and the color is consistent, at least 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
BLACK SESAME FILLING
- In the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, combine unsalted butter, granulated sugar, honey, and coarsely ground toasted sesame seeds. Beat on medium until almost fluffy and thoroughly combined.
- Line two 8” x 5” loaf pans with parchment paper then spray with parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.
- Punch down dough and divide into two equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll first piece out to a 12” x 20” rectangle.
- Using an offset spatula, evenly cover the rolled out dough with half of the sesame filling.
- Tightly roll dough from the 12” end (shorter end) making sure seam is on the bottom of your roll.
- Trim about 1/2” off both ends of the roll with a serrated bread knife.
- Carefully and gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam.
- Roll halves over so that the cut sides are facing up and twist the two halves together. Start by crossing the left end over the right, pinching together lightly, then lifting the right side over the left and repeating until the two halves are completely intertwined.
- Transfer twist into one of the prepped pans. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft free area for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Repeat for second loaf.
- Preheat oven to 325°F, at least 30 minutes before babkas have finished rising and move racks to middle and lower third. Place a foil lined rimmed baking sheet on lower rack. This is to catch any butter mixture that might bubble over.
- Remove towels and bake loaves on middle rack of the oven for 75 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. If you notice your loaves browning too quickly, cover with foil.
- When loaves are baking, make the syrup. Combine water and granulated sugar in small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as all the sugar has dissolved. Allow cool slightly.
- As soon as loaves come out of the oven, brush with syrup and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Allow loaves to cool in pan until halfway cooled then turn out of pan and let cool on a wire rack completely.
- Serve and enjoy!