Join The “Dark Side” of Health Food
We all know we should “eat the rainbow”, so quite often black colored foods are neglected. However, do you know that black colored foods are full of antioxidants and have many health and healing benefits? Examples of black foods include chia seeds, chaga, mushrooms, black mission figs, black beans, activated charcoal and black sesame seeds. Among all these, black sesame seed is definitely my favorite black food to use when baking. After my successful attempt to make vegan sourdough brioche, I have thinking of ways to take that recipe up a notch. While I was making my black sesame paste the other days, I wondered what would happen if I added some of the paste to the brioche dough. And that’s how this Sourdough Black Sesame Brioche recipe was born.
Interested in other recipes using black sesame seeds? Check out the following posts:
Black Sesame – An Underrated Superfood
When it comes to superfood, black sesame may not be the first thing that came to your mind. However, apart from its distinct nutty flavor with a hint of bitterness, black sesame is in fact a vegan powerhouse. There is a myth in Chinese culture that black sesame have the effect of reversing greying of hair, as well as promoting healthy hair. This is due to its melanocyte activity to produce melanin, which is the pigment responsible for hair and skin colour.
Besides, these tiny black seeds are rich with vitamin B, iron, calcium, zinc, copper and magnesium, which is essential for a healthy nervous system, blood, bones, and skin.
The Key To Making The Best Sourdough Brioche – Stiff Starter & Shorter Proofing Time
For any sweet bread recipe, brioche in particular, it is especially important to use lievito madre (stiff starter), instead of your normal 100% sourdough starter. As brioche is a highly enriched sweet dough, the sourness from liquid sourdough starter won’t work well in sourdough brioche. This is also why bakers usually prefer using lievito madre when it comes to enriched dough. Lievito madre is a stiff sourdough starter that is often used in Italy. It is not only active in nature, but it also has a very mild flavour profile without any sourness. All these make it very suitable to leaven enriched dough with high fat and sugar content, such as panettone and brioche.
Apart from stiffer starter, you may notice that this brioche recipe has an unusually high start to flour ratio. One of the main reason is that I want to keep the proofing time as short as possible to eliminate the sourness. The longer the proofing time, the more sourness there will be in the dough.
Sourdough Black Sesame Brioche (Vegan)Course: SourdoughCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: High
This brioche is so soft, buttery and fluffy, combined with the fragrant and flavor of the nuttiness of black sesame, it’s definitely one of my favorite bread to make! This recipe makes one loaf of brioche in a Pullman bread pan.
- Lievito Madre or Stiff Levain (40% hydration)
80g Lievito Madre or Stiff Levain (40% hydration)
80g bread flour
- Brioche Dough
238g bread flour
150g stiff levain (from above)
135g plant milk
50g vegan butter
- “Egg” Wash
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp soy milk
Softened vegan butter
- At 7am, feed your Lievito Madre or Stiff Levain, leave it at a warm place and let it rise until doubled or even tripled (depending on the strength of your starter). I left mine in the oven with the light turned on (around 28°C or 82°F).
- Once the levain has peaked, add all the brioche dough ingredients (except butter) in the mixing bowl of the stand mixer. Mix until everything is incorporated and the dough has strengthened.
- Gradually add in butter, the dough will start to turn more sticky and seem to be slack after the butter addition. However, keep kneading and eventually the shaggy sticky mess will turn into a lovely glossy, elastic dough ball. I added the butter in 5 separate portions. Only add more butter once the previous addition has been fully absorbed by the dough. Continue to knead for 15-20 more minutes or until reach window pane stage.
- Round the dough and rest for 15 mins.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Preshape dough into log shape and rest for another 15 mins.
- Roll the dough out to a rectangle, then roll the rectangle up to form a log.
- Place the logs into a greased Pullman pan.
- Proof for 4-6 hours at a warm place, mine is around 82°F (28°C), until the dough reaches 90% of the loaf tin.
- Preheat oven at 356°F (180°C).
- Brush with “egg” wash, sprinkle some black sesames on top. Then, score the dough with a pair of scissors.
- Pipe some softened vegan butter along the score marks.
- Bake for 35-40 mins or until it turns golden brown.