Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Sesame Soft Sourdough Braided Bread

August 30, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Sesame Soft Sourdough Braided Bread

Sesame Soft Sourdough Braided Bread

Sesame Soft Sourdough Braided Bread

I have always wanted to make a two tone Sesame Bread.  Braiding was a little confusing for me but after watching the Youtube tutorial by "The Bread Kitchen", I could finally grasp the braiding pattern because she made it so simple to understand.  So I decided to make these 4-Strand Black and White Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread. 

As usual, I like to use my Sweet Stiff Starter and Yudane Method whenever I make soft sourdough bread.  The bread proofs faster because a high percentage of sweet stiff starter used and the bread is very soft and moist due to the Yudane method.

This Sesame Soft Sourdough Braided Bread is soft and fragrant

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.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.


Yields:  2 Braided Breads


Yudane Dough:
100g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
100g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter:
80g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
260g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
110g water
40g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
100g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
All the yudane dough (above)
20g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar.  Please use for more sugar if you prefer sweeter)
1 1/2 tsp salt
30g milk powder
65g egg, whisked (from 2 medium egg, balance use for egg wash)
35g water (please reserve 15g and add in later if needed.  I used all 35g)
35g butter, room temperature

35g black sesame, toasted and blended into paste
35g white sesame, toasted and blended into paste

200g white sesame, toasted
Egg wash - Balance of egg from the above + 1 tsp water

Baking tray, lined with parchment paper

  1. Yudane:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cover and rest for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter and sesame paste), including all the stiff starter and yudane dough into a bowl of stand mixer.
    2. 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 until all incorporated. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes at low speed (#2 for KA) or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for about 8 minutes at low speed (#2 for KA) or until the dough become elastic and come together.  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.
    4. Divide the dough into two equal portions.
    5. Add in white sesame paste into one of the dough and continue kneading at low speed (#2 for KA) for another 2 - 4 minutes or until the dough become smooth, silky and reach window pane stage.  
    6. Add in black sesame paste into another dough and and continue kneading at low speed (#2 for KA) for another 2 - 4 minutes or until the dough become smooth, silky and reach window pane stage.  
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 15 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 30 minutes and the dough rose slightly in 30 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences between 15 minutes to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  5. Shaping (Please watch the video)
    1. Transfer the white sesame dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 4 equal portions (approx. 119g each). Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  Repeat the same to black sesame dough.
    2. Form each portion into a ball.  
    3. Flatten the dough into a disc. Roll each dough like a swiss roll.  Then roll into into a rope about 15" long.  
    4. Coated white sesame dough ropes with sesame seeds:  
      1. I rested black sesame dough in the fridge while working on this as my kitchen is quite warm. 
      2. Place white sesame seed in a tray.  
      3. Brush the a rope dough with plain water and coated with sesame in the tray.  
      4. Repeat the same to the rest of 3 dough.  
    5. Please watch the video "How To Braid 4 Strands Bread".
    6. Place braided bread in a prepared baking tray.  I made marks with a pencil about between 1.25 - 1.5 cm away from the original size of the bread. 
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the bread proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size or when it reaches the pencil marks.   This one took approximately 2.5 hours at at room temperature of 28C - 29C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 200C (top & bottom heat) or 180C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush egg wash on the black sesame parts first then only the white sesame parts so that the sesame seeds will not all over.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
    4. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack.

Yudane Dough

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



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.  


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.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of 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 within a certain time before it spoils.

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.


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.