These lovely Black Sesame Brioche Buns are swirled with matcha inside and then sprinkled with a generous amount of black sesame seeds.
After writing about the Matcha Black Sesame Babkas I tried the other time, I got hooked. I opened my recipe compendium (that’s the only apt word for the 4,500+ recipes I’ve collected over the years) and started looking through anything with matcha and black sesame in it, not resting until I found this brioche. If you’re one of those people who like to enter these “phases of obsession” characterized by this spurt of desire to keep exposing yourself to a particular thing for a little while, I’m sure you understand my feelings.
[READ ALSO: A Matcha Black Sesame Babka for the books]
In contrast to the babkas I made, this brioche has a more subtle taste. That one has a black sesame filling running through it while this one has the black sesame as a generous topping, while the matcha is the filling that you will find “infused” into the bread. I do not recommend omitting the sesame, though you could use the white ones if you really don’t have black sesame seeds on hand.
While many people go for the sweet and earthy combo of red bean and matcha, I dig this matcha-black sesame combo more. Matcha and black sesame both have this subdued earthy flavor to them that go together so well, keeping things nice and natural.
There’s a place and time for red bean treats, but I would go for this lightly flavored bread more. They make themselves perfect for a slather of fruit jam, preferably raspberry. This Black Sesame & Matcha Brioche also has an incredibly fluffy crumb that made it something to look forward to in the mornings.
The process of making this is interesting because it reminds me of how one would make the laminated dough for puff pastry. After rolling out the dough flat, you fill it with this matcha cream you create and then fold it. You will it our again and then fold it again a couple of times before giving it a final roll. Don’t worry, I have pictures as usual in the recipe box below to make it easier for you to envision this. In any case, that’s why these brioche look as gorgeously layered as they do.
The dough is just superb to handle. It’s slightly tacky but feels nice and moist, which is the perfect dough to result in a superbly textured crumb after baking. The soft and pillowy and pillowy kind! After testing out this dough it’s gone on to becoming one of my “holy grail” brioche doughs, the kind I’d love to develop flavors and fillings with.
And I just really want to keep mentioning I love how it turned out appearance-wise– like something you’d find at an expensive bakery. I love how the layers go round and round to the top. Very pretty indeed. I made only 10 Black Sesame & Matcha Brioche, putting the dough into the fluted ensaymada molds I used to make these equally gorgeous ensaymada breads.
[READ ALSO: Brightly golden ensaymada sunshine]
While I was making this, the filling seeped out and made a bit of a mess on my work area. I was thinking if I should pinch the edges of my dough to seal the filling inside but was afraid that I’d create air pockets inside my dough when I roll it. I’ll have to come up with a neater process for that for next time.
Speaking of the filling. 20 grams of matcha from the original recipe was way too little that I went up a notch and used 1 full Tablespoon or it, but it still ended up way too subdued. Though it colored the inside of the bread lightly, I probably need to improve upon that part a little more. But I could use anything with these and they’d turn out great really, because the brioche dough is just so amazing! Try it and you’ll find out I’m not joking at all.
Black Sesame & Matcha Brioche
Makes 10 to 12 brioche buns, depending on the size of your molds
For the brioche dough
- 300 grams bread flour
- 60 grams caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 125 grams whole milk
- 1 egg
- 50 grams butter, diced and at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
- Toasted black sesame seeds, for topping
For the matcha filling
- 80 grams milk
- 1 egg white
- 50 grams caster sugar
- 20 grams flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons matcha powder, or more
- 10 grams butter
Make the dough
- 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients except for the butter and mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a rough shaggy dough. Attach bowl to mixer.
- 2. With the dough hook attached, add in 1/3 of the butter and knead this into the dough, adding remaining butter gradually until the dough becomes a smooth pillowy ball, around 5 to 8 minutes. (You can also do this by hand. It will just be a bit messier.)
- 3. Cover the bowl with a cloth or cling wrap, then let proof in a warm place for 2 hours or until double in size.
Make the filling
- 4. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl or measuring glass, mix the egg white and sugar until combined. Add in the flour and matcha green tea, whisking until completely incorporated.
- 5. Once the milk is boiling, pour it over the matcha mixture, whisking constantly as you do so. Transfer mixture back into the pan, and cook on medium heat until thick. Mix in the butter. The mixture will turn out like a pastry cream.
- 6. Transfer the filling to a bowl and press a cling film on the surface. Refrigerate until the dough finishes rising.
Assemble the buns
- 7. Once the dough has risen, punch down the dough to remove air bubbles. Roll it into a 12-× 8-inch rectangle. Spread the cold matcha filling in the middle, then fold one end of the dough to meet the other.
- 8. Roll out the folded dough into a 12-× 8-inch rectangle again, then fold both sides of the dough over to meet in the middle. Fold once again at the centre where the edges of the dough meet, as if folding close a book. Roll this out into a 12-× 8-inch rectangle once again.
- 9. Roll the dough onto itself to form a log, pinching the seam to seal. Trim the ends if you wish, then using a sharp knife, slice into about 1-inch thick segments. Butter 10 to 12 moulds (I used fluted ensaymada moulds) and place the dough slices into them, cut side up. Cover loosely with cling film, and allow to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
- 10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Once dough has risen a second time, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with as much toasted black sesame as desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until brioche has puffed and is golden.
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