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Sesame Seed 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Benito's picture

Sesame Seed 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Although I’ve been baking quite a bit of bread down here in Florida, I hadn’t baked any sandwich bread in some weeks so we were out.  I wanted to use up some of my King Arthur Whole Wheat flour, I had purchased a bag in the fall but haven’t used that much of it yet so decided to make a 100% WW sandwich loaf.  For this bake of my Hokkaido milk bread I have increased the tangzhong to 20% and kept the hydration of it at 200% using milk of course. The rest of the formula was adjusted to keep the hydration and other ingredients the same.  I didn’t use any VWG for this bake and was thinking that the dough would have benefitted from it.  It took 1100 slap and folds to get a reasonable windowpane and one that wasn’t anywhere close to what I usually get at home with my usual flours.  That being said, the loaf looks great to me and I am pleasantly surprised with the KA WW flour.

For one 9x4x4” Pullman pan loaf.




Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 300% growth. 

Press down with your knuckles or silicone spatula to create a uniform surface and to push out air.

At a temperature of 76-78ºF, it typically takes up to 10-12 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.  For my starter I typically see 3-3.5 times increase in size at peak.  The levain will smell sweet with only a mild tang.


In a sauce pan set on medium heat, stir the milk and whole wheat flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until well thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.  Theoretically it should reach 65ºC (149ºF) but I don’t find I need to measure the temperature as the tangzhong gelatinizes at this temperature.  You can prepare this the night before and refrigerate it, ensure that it is covered to prevent it from drying out.


If you plan on using a stand mixer to mix this dough, set up a Bain Marie and use your stand mixer’s bowl to prepare the tangzhong.



In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk (consider holding back 10 g of milk and adding later if this is the first time you’re making this), egg, tangzhong, salt, sugar and levain.  Mix and then break up the levain into many smaller pieces.  Next add the flours.  I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas.  Allow the flour to hydrate (fermentolyse) for 20-30 minutes.  Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins.  You may want to scrape the sides of the bowl during the first 5 minutes of mixing.  Next add room temperature butter one pat at a time.  The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before adding in more butter.  Once all the butter has been added and incorporated add the mashed potatoes.  Again, knead until well incorporated.  You will want to check gluten development by windowpane during this time and stop mixing when you get a good windowpane.  You should be able to pull a good windowpane, not quite as good as a white flour because the bran will interrupt the windowpane somewhat. 


To develop by hand, melt the butter and add it with the wet ingredients.  


On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2 - 3 hours at 82ºF.  There should be some rise visible at this stage.


You can next place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier to shape.  Remember, if you do so the final proof will take longer.  Alternatively, you can do a cold retard in the fridge overnight, however, you may find that this increases the tang in your bread.


Prepare your pans by greasing them with butter or line with parchment paper.  


Lightly oil the top of the dough. Scrape the dough out onto a clean counter top and divide it into four. I like to weigh them to have equal sized lobes. Shape each tightly into a boule, allow to rest 5 mins. Using a rolling pin roll each ball out and then letterfold. Turn 90* and using a rolling pin roll each out to at least 8”. Letterfold again from the sides so you have a long narrow dough. Then using an oiled rolling pin, roll flatter but keeping the dough relatively narrow.  The reason to do this extra letterfold is that the shorter fatter rolls when placed in the pan will not touch the sides of the pan.  This allows the swirled ends to rise during final proof, this is only done for appearance sake and is not necessary.  Next roll each into a tight roll with some tension. Arrange the rolls of dough inside your lined pan alternating the direction of the swirls. This should allow a greater rise during proof and in the oven.


Cover and let proof for  4-6 hours at a warm temperature.  I proof at 82°F.  You will need longer than 4-6 hours if you chilled your dough for shaping. I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.


Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.  Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on the top of the dough.


Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190ºF, rotating as needed to get even browning. Shield your loaf if it gets brown early in the baking process. After 50 mins remove the bread from the pan and bake a further 10 mins by placing the loaf directly in the oven on the rack with the oven turned down to 325ºF.

My index of bakes.


Benito's picture

Here are the photos of the crumb.  I am very happy with this bake.  Perhaps greater percentage of tangzhong was able to compensate for the lower protein WW flour compared to what I have at home.  In any event, this bread is very tasty and this is a good balance of flavours with assertive (in a good way) wheat along with the dairy components from the milk and butter, faint sweetness and then toasty sesame seeds.

Tonight’s dinner was cold smoked salmon, guacamole on a slice of this bread.  Delicious and simple.

Abe's picture

Sesame Seed Whole-Wheat Sourdough Hokkaido Milk bread with avocado and smoked salmon is missing only one thing... poached eggs. To me this would be a perfect breakfast! Really lovely bake all round which is complimented with the perfect toppings. I'm hungry now. 

P.s. I also used to get this combo, an avocado and smoked salmon bagel from a local takeout close to my office, for breakfast and they would sprinkle some hot seasoning, with a base of cayenne pepper, on it. Was such the perfect combo but I forget what they called the seasoning. Any ideas? Think it could be Sriracha but i'm not sure. 

Benito's picture

Thank you Abe.  Was the hot seasoning a sauce or more like a powder?  If it was a sauce and garlicky then yes Sriracha is a possibility.  If it was more like a dry powder and Japanese it could be Shichi Togarashi a seven pepper spice.  Just my guessing, I’m no expert with hot spices.

CalBeachBaker's picture


This is a lovely looking bread and it sounds delicious. Seeing all of your bakes makes me believe that I'll have to give the Tangzhong method a try. 

The Ank sure beats 1100 slap and folds.


Benito's picture

Thank you Tony, I’m happy with this bake and the updated formula.  Although I really miss my Ankarsrum Assistent it has been good practice to so everything by hand again like when I first started baking.  I won’t try a brioche without my mixer though, I’m not that crazy.


Isand66's picture

Looks like you did just fine without the vital wheat.  Perfect crumb and flavor combo.



Benito's picture

Yes this bake without VWG surprised me Ian, I really expected, from how the dough handled, that I wouldn’t get the rise or the well defined lobes.  I suspect that the higher percentage flour tangzhong had some compensatory effect on the dough that I wasn’t expecting.  I’ll be very curious, when I get home, if I can replicate this.