Woven Challah Bread with Black Sesame Seeds
Recipe Type: Baking, Bread
Serves: 1 large loaf
This golden, braided bread is stuffed generously with barely sweetened black sesame paste and is ideal for french toast or even plain for a delicious snack. Base recipe from Smitten Kitchen
  • 8g active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon honey
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ (500g) cups all purpose flour
Black Sesame Paste
  • 1 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Egg wash
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together yeast, 1 teaspoon of honey, and water until incorporated.
  2. Let mixture stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy. If your mixture doesn't foam up it means your yeast is dead and you should start over.
  3. Whisk the remaining honey, olive oil, vanilla, eggs and salt into foamy yeast mixture.
  4. Add 1 cup of flour at a time, incorporating it with a wooden spoon, until a shaggy dough forms,
  5. On a lightly floured countertop, knead dough by hand for 5-10 minutes, until a soft, smooth dough forms. Add flour as needed, the dough shouldn't be sticky.
  6. Place the dough in a bowl lightly coated with olive oil (to prevent sticking as the dough rises) and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Black Sesame Paste
  1. While the dough is rising, toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. You will know when the seeds are ready when they start to smell fragrant and crumble easily between your fingers. They may also start popping, which will tell you that they are ready.
  3. Blend toasted black sesame seeds, honey and olive oil together in a food processor. Depending on the strength of your blender, the paste may not be completely smooth but the seeds should be quite broken down and the mixture should be spreadable.
Add sesame paste to dough
  1. Once your dough has risen, cut it into two equal halves.
  2. With a rolling pin, roll out one of the halves until it is a rough rectangle. The size and shape don't really matter but mine was about 12 inches x 6 inches.
  3. Spread half of your sesame paste in the middle of the rectangle, making sure to leave an inch of space around all of the edges.
  4. Roll the dough into a long, tight strand so that the filling is all inside the dough. Press the seams of the strand together so it doesn't unravel.
  5. Stretch the strand until it is about 3 feet in length. Repeat with second half of dough and sesame paste.
Weave dough
  1. Cut each strand into equal halves. You will have 4 strands of dough, of equal length (about 1.5 feet each).
  2. Place two of the strands parallel to one another. Weave the other two strands, perpendicular to the first ones.
  3. You will have eight strands of dough coming out from the middle.
  4. Take the strands that come from underneath the centre and move it over the strand on the right of it.
  5. Now take the strand you just went over (the ones you haven't moved yet) and move it over the strand to it's left. Repeat this pattern until you have no more dough.
  6. Tuck ends under the bread, pinching to make sure they will stick.
Egg wash and Bake
  1. Transfer dough to a parchment lined baking tray.
  2. Brush with egg and let rise for 1 more hour.
  3. minutes into the rise, preheat your oven to 375F.
  4. At the end of the rise, brush loaf with egg one more time and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
  5. Back for 30-35 minutes. Make sure to check on the bread after about 15-20 minutes to make sure it is not browning too quickly. If it is, cover loosely with aluminum foil for the remainder of the bake.
  6. Cool on rack before serving.
Recipe by Honest Cooking by Mercato Fabbrica at https://honestcooking.com/woven-challah-bread-black-sesame-seeds/