Black and White Sesame Seed Sourdough

I haven’t been feeling great about my baking lately, I’d been over proofing my bread and really disappointed in how they turned out. I decided that I needed to go back to a recipe that I’d made many times when I first started to bake sourdough, so I went back to Maurizio’s Beginner Sourdough from The Perfect Loaf. For some reason the flavour of this bread always speaks to me. However, I decided I still wanted some sort of add in, but one that wouldn’t negatively affect the crumb too much, so since I love sesame seeds I went with black and white sesame seeds. Now the past few bakes were overproofed so I was expecting to deal with the same this time, but strangely enough my starter suddenly was less active than normal and my levain took much longer to rise than usual. Then bulk fermentation of course took much longer because I was starting with a less active levain. I had to bulk ferment at a higher temperature than usual and for longer to try to get this dough fully fermented, I pushed the temperature to 82ºF and bulk lasted 6 hours which is unusual because it usually only takes 4-5 hours for this recipe at 80ºF. I tried the trick of pulling some of the dough early on about the size of a ping pong ball and placed it into a small narrow glass. I used this to judge the rise of the dough and was thus able to judge a 40% rise more accurately. I think I will start using this trick more often especially during seasons when the temperatures and conditions are rapidly changing.

374 g white bread flour

55 g whole wheat flour

25 g dark rye flour

Total Flour = 500 g

344 g water (none reserved - add levain and salt without reserved water) 78% hydration

9 g salt

92 g Levain 1:2:2 20 g starter, 20 g bread flour, 20 g whole wheat flour, 40 g water

1/2 cup mixed black and white sesame seeds toasted

Autolyse for 4 hours with salt.

Mixed Levain without any extra water and performed 150 slap and folds

30 mins did letter fold on the counter

30 mins later lamination and sesame seeds added (did not soak the seeds)

Three more coil folds done at 30 mins intervals

after total 6 hours bulk at 82ºF final shaping done

left on counter in banneton in a bag for 20 mins then into the fridge at 4ºC for 14 hours cold retard.

Preheat oven 1 hour 500ºF

I used a silicone pastry brush to generously brush water on the dough after scoring and then once the dough was placed in the dutch oven spritzed a bit more water into the dutch oven. I was hoping to get more oven spring and also more blisters with this and I think it worked. I believe a long cold fermentation also contributes to good blisters and I think if I did a longer cold retard the blisters may have been even better.

Baked at 450ºF for 20 mins in preheated dutch oven

Lid removed and continue to bake 425ºF for 12 mins

then 400ºF for 12 mins

then 350ºF for 4 mins


I’m quite happy with this bake overall considering the issues with the levain. I would push bulk fermentation a bit farther next time aiming for 50% increase in volume. But I’m not disappointed at all by the flavour, I love sesame seeds and the toasted black and white seeds never disappoint.
I really like adding the seeds during lamination, they are much better distributed than in the past when I added seeds during stretch and folds.

That’s a beautiful loaf! Nice photos too!

Thank you Wendy for having a look and commenting, I appreciate it.

Lovely bake. As a matter of interest why did you autolyse with salt. Technically that’s not an autolyse.

I haven’t seen any substandard bakes from you at all.

Thank you Abe, that means a lot coming from you. My last couple had fermentation issues I think related to my not taking into account the suddenly warmer kitchen temperatures. I had become accustomed to fermenting in my proofer because the condo was cool. Then when it got warm I didn’t watch the dough closely enough. Anyhow, I think for the next while I will use the trick of pulling some dough off and placing it in a small glass to better judge the rise.

I put the salt in partly as an experiment just to see if I could tell if adding it during the “autolyse” would make any difference, maybe I can call it a “saltolyse” :laughing:. I suppose it may have made the crumb more closed than it could have been, but I’m not disappointed in the result. But I also think I could have let bulk fermentation go longer than I did. But I got impatient and wanted to be done for the night and go to bed.

This has been coined by you Benny. A new addition in bread baking terminology. Forever attributed to you!

I absolutely love sesame seeds in bread. That’s gotta be great toasted.

Yes I froze the sliced bread and today toasted two slices for lunch, they tasted great eaten dry. Saltolyse!!

This looks gorgeous…definitely going to try. Your other spelt sourdough that I tried is now my weekly loaf (with the hydration tweaked for UK flour)

Hi Jane, I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying the spelt sourdough and having success with it. I hope you enjoy this one too.

This hydration is absolutely fine for UK flour. In fact I can easily keep the hydration asked for in all recipes while using British flours. At 78% hydration and the flours given in the recipe its not even considered high.

Very much so. I even made it into dinner rolls the other week. They were delicious!

It was an 85% hydration loaf of Benny’s that I struggled to produce. When I lowered the hydration…it was fine

My sesame seeds have arrived!!! Exciting. Can I ask at what temp and how long u toast them for please?

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Hey Jane, I actually toast the sesame seeds in a small sauté pan on the stovetop at medium heat until they start to smell nice and toasted. I stir them occasionally so none get too toasted while others don’t.
Hope the bread turns out well for you.

I toast white sesame seeds often and do it in a cast iron pan on the stove top. Cast iron conducts the heat well and they come out very even (as long as they’re stirred). I personally would not trust an oven because they have to be monitored and stirred frequently. And they have to be removed from heat as soon as they are to your liking because they continue to cook once removed since they are oil based. I go mainly by how they look, but smell comes into it, too. It’s easy to let them get too dark, so be careful! I’ve never toasted black ones.

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Hey Benny…I just made your black and white sesame seed loaf…it’s gorgeous! Really pleased with the results. Thank you for the recipe!

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Jane that looks delicious, great oven spring and open crumb, outstanding. Next time I bake it I was thinking of adding some toasted sesame seed oil to bring out that sesame seed flavour even more, maybe 2.5-4.5%. what do you think?
I’m so proud that you made my recipe.

That might be delicious…I love how nutty the toasted sesame seeds make it. My Canadian bread flour arrived today so I’m going to try the other loaf at 84% hydration​:crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:. Can I ask…do U use an electric bread prover? Ur very specific about ur proving temperatures :woman_shrugging:

Let me know when I should cross my fingers for you :wink:

Yes I do use a Brot and Taylor proofing box. With how cold our winters are here in Toronto I was having difficulty with bulk times so asked for it for Christmas and have been using it ever since. However, it is suddenly super hot and humid here so I can probably skip using it for a few months. It does really help though, this one is collapsible so it doesn’t take up much space when not in use.