Black Sesame Sourdough Discard Buns

by - March 30, 2021

Black Sesame Sourdough Discard Checkered Buns

Black Sesame Sourdough Discard Checkered Buns

Black Sesame Sourdough Discard Buns

Black Sesame Sourdough Discard  Buns

I adapted the Sourdough Discard Bread recipe from Baking With Gina to make these soft and fluffy Black Sesame Sourdough Discard Buns in a checkered pattern. She has a lot Sourdough Discard recipes shared on her Instagram and they are all lovely bakes.   I shared Gina's Sourdough Discard Recipe with my friend in Australia and she loves it.  It seemed to work even better for her as the weather there is not warm enough for the starter to proof until tripled prior to baking.  With this recipe, she can bake anytime whenever there is enough discard.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.


Yields:  16 small buns 


Plain Buns
250g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
200g sourdough discard, room temperature (I used 3 - 4 days old discard) 
30g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt (original recipe asked for 3g, about 1/2 tsp)
30g milk powder (Original recipe no milk powder)
30g butter, room temperature
110g water (Original recipe uses 100g full cream milk)

Black Sesame Buns
250g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
200g sourdough discard, room temperature (I used 3 - 4 days old discard)
30g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt (original recipe asked for 3g, about 1/2 tsp)
30g milk powder (Original recipe no milk powder)
30g butter, room temperature 
115g water (Original recipe uses 100g full cream milk)
45g black sesame, toasted and blended into paste

11" square pan

  1. Kneading:
    1. Knead both dough separately.  I prepared plain dough first then black sesame dough.
    2. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.
    3. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  
    4. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  2. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for about 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  I rested plain dough for 60 minutes and black sesame for about 50 minutes.  The dough rose slightly.  
  3. Shaping:
    1. Shape both dough separately.  I started with plain dough first then black sesame dough.
    2. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 8 equal portions for each dough.  8 portions (around 81g each) for plain dough and 8 portions  (about 86g each) for black sesame dough.  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    3. Form each portion to a ball.  Please watch the video here "How to shape bun"
    4. Place them in a checkered pattern within a 11 inch square pan.  4 X 4 buns (16 buns).
  4. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the buns proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size. This one took approximately 3 1/2 hours at at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and the starter.
  5. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 150C (top & bottom heat) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes, or until slightly light brown.  I covered the buns with aluminium foil after 30 minutes to prevent the buns from getting too brown.
    3. Remove buns from oven and pan.   Let them cool on rack.


A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day every 12 hours at its peak when it is tripled.

10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 26C - 27C
10.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I am baking, I will feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:10:10, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

Why I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and make the bread texture softer due to the fat in the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish in certain days once is opened.
  3. The enzyme found in the fresh milk can weaken the gluten development in the bread dough. However, you do not have to worry about this if milk powder or pasteurized milk is used.
The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

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  1. I am looking forward to trying this recipe. But I don’t see butter in the ingredients list but your directions mention adding butter as the last step. Also, with the sesame paste, do you use a grinder to make the paste and do you add it all in the beginning with all the other ingredients minus the butter? Thanks for always creating and sharing your recipes!

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe and highlighted the missing of butter. I just added in 30g of butter.

      My pleasure to share. Credit to Baking with Gina.

      Cheers :)

  2. Hi,

    If i do not have milk powder, by removing 30g milk powder. Do i need to add 30g to the dough since my powder missing

    1. Hi, thanks for asking. Just omit the milk powder and do not need to replace with flour. However, please don't add all the water use 100g first. If you think is a bit dry then add all the water.

      Cheers :)

      Cheers :)

  3. Hi, I have tried your recipe today and I subsitute sesame to cocoa powder. The bread turn out not so good because it is too sour. I used 1-2 day discard. Any suggestion? And also the surface of the buns are a bit dry. I did as you suggest, covered them up with aluminium foil after 30 min, any suggestion?

    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe. The disadvantage of using sourdough discard is that the bread is a little sour. We cannot avoid it. Advantages is we can make full use of discard and do not need to build a levain.

      Maybe because of the cocoa powder that make the bread dryer. You need to add more liquid in this case.

      If you do not like sour bread then please try the Sourdough Shokupan (Stiff Starter & Yudane Method) as below link:

      Cheers :)

  4. Thank you verymuch. I will definitely try out

  5. Hi YL, thank you very much for your recipes and blog! I tried this recipe and it turned out really well!

    1. Hi, thanks for trying and your kind feedback. So happy to hear that it turned out well for you.

      Cheers and happy baking :)