Wholemeal Black Sesame Swirl Bread (sponge dough 中种法)


This recipe uses the basic dough from Soft Wholemeal Multigrain Bread (sponge dough method 中种). The resulting bread will be soft up to days and has a nice spongy bite. It is also really healthy.

But the dough is super wet and might not be so suitable for a beginner to try. The multiple steps handling the 2 doughs, and even the mixing of the sesame powder into one dough, while racing against time to avoid the other dough over proofing, can be quite daunting for a first timer. You will have to lightly flour hands, surface and rolling pin many times as you go along.

The original recipe only calls for 18g sugar and 18g butter, and I wanted to make it for my diabetic parents. The taste is on the bland side with only wheat and sesame aroma. I have recommended higher amounts for both ingredients if you want a sweeter and also easier to handle bread.


Sponge Dough

  • 110g bread flour + 100g wholemeal flour
  • 4g yeast
  • 135g water

Main Dough

  • 90g bread flour
  • 75 g water
  • 5 g coffee mate or milk powder (optional)
  • 18 g sugar (or up to 30g)
  • 18g salted butter (or up to 30g)


  • 2 tbsp black sesame powder


1. Mix the sponge dough ingredients into a rough dough, cover with a cloth or cling wrap and set aside to proof for 3-4 hours.

2.After the prescribed time, the sponge dough will look bubbly and soft. Use your hands to tear sponge dough into chunks.


3. Add in all the main dough ingredients except butter and black sesame. Knead with dough hook. Dough will be very wet, so add up to optional 2 tbsp of flour slowly until the dough becomes more elastic. (I did not add any additional flour here.) Add in the butter and knead some more until window pane. A perfect window pane is not required because multi-grains will weigh your bread down when your dough is too soft, something like the below will be good enough.


4. Take out 200+ g of dough onto floured surface (mine came up to 220g), add in 2 tbsp of black sesame powder and hand knead till evenly mixed. Shaped into round ball. Shape remaining white dough into round ball (about 320g). Proof both covered for 40 min.

5. After 1st proof, punch down, flatten and divide both black and white doughs into 2 round doughs each (total 4 round doughs).  ( My white dough was 160g and black dough was 110g each.) Rest for 15 min.

6. After resting, take 1 black and 1 white round dough. Flatten and roll out to roughly the same shape. Remember to flour hands, surface and rolling pin lightly, as you go along. Dough will be very sticky, just be patient. Place black on top of white as shown.

7. Fold 1/3 in both sides.

8. Roll out with rolling pin. Then Swiss roll it up. Repeat for other set.

9. Place into loaf pan. Please note that the direction is different from the usual placing if you want to see a circular swirl when you sliced. Proof for another 1 hour.

10. Bake at 200 deg C for 30 to 35 min. Remove from pan and cool before slicing.




4 Comments Add yours

  1. chefkreso says:

    Looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jess Jo says:

    I’m not a beginner, but the dough was way too soft & hard to handle for me. I couldn’t even roll it out. 😦


    1. oladybakes says:

      It’s a high hydration dough. I find it so myself. I remember getting this from a Japanese site, I think. You can reduce the amount of water, or just try another recipe.


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