Thursday, 10 April 2014

Black Sesame Panda Bread

I am always on a quest to look for good recipes to make soft and fluffy bread and I think I found one from The Baking Bee with the Breadtalk pork floss bun recipe. I copied the recipe with some minor changes since I don't have milk powder at home. I also reduced the amount of sugar as I prefer bakes that are less sweet. Instead of a plain loaf, I decided to have some fun and hide a panda face in it ;). See the panda staring at you from every slice!

The bread remains very soft even after storing at room temperature for 2 days! This is quite a feat since we don't add bread improver for home baking. I decided to flavor a portion of the dough with store bought black sesame powder to create the panda face.

Sponge Dough
Yeast - 1 Tsp
Water - 1 Tbsp
Bread Flour - 210g
Sugar - 1/4 Tbsp
Cold Water - 118g

1. Mix yeast with water and let it rest for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the above with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl to form a dough.
3. Cover with cling wrap and let it rest at room temperature (in Singapore it's anywhere from 25-30 degrees Celsius) for 2 and 1/2 hours.

Main Dough (to be added to the sponge dough above)
Plain Flour - 90g
Yeast - 1/2 Tsp
Sugar - 35g
Salt - 3 g
Fresh milk - 20g
Egg - 1/2 (about 30g) (balance of egg can be used to brush on bread before baking)
Butter - 30g

1. Add sugar, salt and eggs to the sponge dough.
2. Mix in the flour, yeast and milk and knead until well combined. You may use the bread maker or hand knead. If you are hand kneading, you may need to throw the dough on your work surface and use a bench scraper as the dough is very sticky. I hand kneaded this and it took me about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the butter and knead to form an elastic dough. I hand kneaded the dough for about 20 minutes after the butter was added, in order for the dough to pass the windowpane test. If you are using a bread maker, use the dough function, follow the above sequence of adding  ingredients and let the machine knead to form an elastic dough.
4. Weigh out 85g of dough and knead 15g of black sesame powder* into it while keeping the rest of the dough covered with cling wrap. Add plain flour to the dough while incorporating the black sesame powder bit by bit if it gets too sticky to handle and shape. Try to work quickly as the yeast will continue to work through the dough while you are shaping.
5. Portion the black dough for the features of the panda face accordingly:

Eyes: 12g each
Nose: 6g
Ears: 9g each
Outline of face: the rest of the black sesame dough (about 52g)
6. Assemble the panda bread according to the Playdoh example below. I had to work fast so I couldn't take photos of each step with actual bread dough:

7. Line a loaf pan with baking sheet and place the assembled dough in it. Cover loosely with cling wrap and let it proof for 45 minutes.
8. Brush with egg wash and scatter some black sesame seeds on top.
9.  Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes.
10. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing the loaf.

Look at how soft and fluffy the bread is!

* I bought the black sesame powder from Cold Storage which already has sugar added. Alternatively, you can make your own black sesame powder by toasting black sesame seeds in a toaster oven or frying pan, grinding it in a food processor or by using mortar and pestle, and then sifting the ground sesame.

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. very nice and cute loaf you've got there

  2. Thanks Victoria :). Your bakes are always so gorgeous! So much to learn from you!