The Fresh Loaf

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Anko, Black Sesame Swirl Sourdough Milk Bread.

Benito's picture
Benito

Anko, Black Sesame Swirl Sourdough Milk Bread.

Some of you maybe familiar with anko, but for those of you who aren’t it is a paste that is made from azuki beans and sweetened with sugar and is a popular component in many Asian desserts.  For this bread, I made a Koshian Anko (smooth anko) but a Tsubuan or chunky anko could be used as well.  If anyone is interested I can post the recipe for the anko.

Overnight levain build

14 g starter + 86 g cold water + 86 g bread flour left to ferment at 77ºF overnight.

 

For the Black sesame powder

Grind 86 g of toasted black sesame seeds (I used a coffee grinder) then combine with 18 g of sugar.  Cover and set aside until the morning.

 

Prepare Koshian  (smooth) Anko 1 day ahead of time, use 65 g.

  

 

The next morning mix the following except for the butter.

312 g bread flour

1 large egg

30 g sugar

126 g milk

6 g salt

180 g levain 

 

Using a standmixer, mix until incorporated at low speed.  Then mix at higher speed until gluten well formed.  Then gradually add the butter and mix until the dough is elastic, shines and smooth.

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into a ball and divide into approximate thirds.  Shape the largest third into a boule and set aside covered with a towel.

 

Take the smallest third and combine with the black sesame powder and knead by hand until the black sesame powder is well incorporated.  Shape into a boule and set aside under a tea towel.

Finally take the third dough ball and gradually combine with the anko paste smearing it on the surface and folding it in.  Knead until the dough is a uniform colour and smooth.  Shape into a boule and place under a tea towel to rest for 5 mins.

 

Lightly flour a work surface and the plain dough boule.  Roll out to at least 12” in length and almost as wide as the length of your pan, set aside.  Continue to do the same with the other two balls next rolling the black sesame dough out to 12” and placing that on top of the plain rolled out dough.  Finally rolling the anko dough out again to 12” and finally placing that on top of the black sesame dough.

 

Next tightly roll the laminated doughs starting with the short end until you have a swirled log.  Place the log in your prepared Pullman pan with the seam side down (I like to line it with parchment so it is easy to remove from the pan).  Place in the proofing box set to 82-84ºF to proof until the dough comes to approximately 1 cm below the edge of the Pullman pan.  This takes about 8-8.5 hours at 82ºF. 

 

At about 30 mins before you think your dough will be at 1 cm below the edge of the pan, preheat your oven to 355ºF with a rack or baking steel/stone on the lowest rack.  At this time prepare an egg wash and gently brush it on the top of the dough.  When the oven is ready 30 mins later, brush the top of the dough again with the egg wash.  Bake for 45 mins turning once halfway through.  Keep an eye on the top crust and be prepared to shield it with either aluminum foil or a cookie tray above if it is getting dark too soon.  After 45 mins remove from the pan to check for doneness.  Place the bread back in the oven for another 5 minutes to ensure that the crust on the sides is fully set and baked.

 

 

Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool completely before slicing.

 

Comments

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

I have not heard of anko before, and don't think I have had it. This looks like quite a lovely loaf, looking forward to seeing the crumb!

Mary

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Mary.  Unless you’ve had Asian desserts you’ve probably never had Anko.  It is nutty flavoured and quite delicious.  The beans are the colour of kidney beans but much smaller.  I’m hoping that the Anko colour comes through in the bake.

isand66's picture
isand66

Looks fantastic.  Look forward to seeing that multicolored crumb?

Benito's picture
Benito

I hope it is multicolored Ian, thank you.

Benny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Had not heard of Anko until now, although it is possible that I've eaten it as part of some other Japanese dish.

At this point, it wouldn't be that farfetched for you to consider creating a book of your creative, and often Asian centric bakes.  The care, execution, photography and creativity have been an eye-opener on TFL for me, and I'd never have considered dabbling in many of those creations of yours.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Alan, I love the idea of adding AsIan flavours to my bakes since they aren’t that common in North America.  I’m happy that you appreciate my trying to bake some breads that are a bit different.  But in fact these ideas aren’t that unusual if we were in Asia.  I’m sure there are some excellent Asian baking cookbooks out there, but most likely in their languages of origin.  

Benny

Benito's picture
Benito

The anko colour isn’t as strong as I would like, nothing like the matcha.  However, I do prefer the flavour of the anko since it is nutty so goes so well with the black sesame.  After the first time trying this a month ago, I rolled this out longer to maximize the swirling effect and I’m pleased it worked. I’m still amazed that this works a la approachable loaf with only one fermentation then baking.  Other than adding the flavors with the extra mixing then rolling it is such a fast easy bread to make.  I don’t think I can make the anko colour stronger by adding more because it would compromise the gluten too much.  I might replace it with ube next time.

mdw's picture
mdw

Beautiful bake! Truly stunning.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks so much, these swirl milk breads are so much fun.  One could add any combination of flavors and colours.

Benny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Amazing work.They look like they should be served with a scoop of ice cream. Just looking at the slices gave me vertigo and flashbacks. Like I mentioned before you are an artist who has found his medium. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Don for your kind and generous words. These swirl bread are so easy and I’ve been making them like the approachable loaf with a single rise. They are fun to try to come up with different flavor combinations. 
Benny

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

What a nice-looking loaf of bread.  I'm curious how this would translate to freestanding sourdough loaves.  It seems like you would need to start with a fairly thin (potentially degassed) dough blanket to achieve four rings as shown here, whereas most free-standing loaves probably have about one and a half to two.  Have you made a video of your swirly bakes?  I concur with others on your presentation.  I'm equally impressed that your apartment looks immaculate from almost any angle!  Actually, for a while, I thought the balancing loaf photo was the defacto standard TFL presentation, but I think it was because your bakes are always on the front page!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you very much.  I’m not sure how it would do as a hearth loaf.  I don’t recall making anything but lean loaves as hearth loaves.  I would probably divid and mix the inclusions. I’d then allow each to have a bulk fermentation and then roll them out, layer them and then roll.  Hopefully with the extra time and bulk fermentation they might develop enough structure to hold shape.  I guess the only way to find out is to try it.

Now that I’ve done this twice, you’re right, I should make a video of the process.  It is so simple yet the effect is quite pretty.

Thanks for the comment about our apartment, much appreciated.

When I started to bake half decent bread, I thought it might be nice to have a signature way of presenting the loaf for photos.  It reminds me of an  Innushuk.

Benny

 

loaflove's picture
loaflove

Benny , i just made a "swirl" loaf too by coincidence, this morning . I was inspired by your previous swirl loaf.   But yours is so much more beautiful.  i found it hard to incorporate my matcha powder into the dough.  and my rolling wasnt very good so the swirl wasn't nice and swirly. 

And what a beautiful crumb yours is.  Mine is IDY so it was easy to get that crumb. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Did you make a matcha paste?  I made a paste and then used the mixer to incorporate it when I used the matcha.  Having made the matcha one before, I wanted more of a swirl so made sure I rolled this out much longer, but not wider and then rolled tightly to get more swirly layers. I hope you give it a try again, I’m sure the next one will be perfect.  

loaflove's picture
loaflove

I read your tips on my blog entry.  Thanks for that. My red bean is a filling rather than in dough,  the flavor didn’t seem to come through so next time I’ll put more red bean in.  I just don’t like how the slices don’t hold together when there’s a lot of filling 

Benito's picture
Benito

Ah I didn’t realize that you did the anko as a layer rather than work it into a portion of the dough.  I didn’t want this to be a babka although that is a cool idea come to think of it.  I wanted a good solid slice that wouldn’t’ come apart.

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

What an artist touch! Does the anko taste come through as well as you expected? 

Really lovely and creative bake!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Mary, yes the Anko is a nice compliment to the black sesame and gives it a nice nutty flavour.  I’m really pleased with the flavour of this one, it is better than the matcha one I made previously which the matcha part needed more sugar to balance it out.  This was wasn’t sweet really but definitely not sour or bitter.

Benny

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Benny, Really an awesome looking loaf, and love the creativity!  Some family will be in town in a few weeks and they want to make some bread.  Something like this may be in the queue!

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes this is a surprisingly fun loaf to make.  The dough being so I fermented when rolling out is early easy to deal with so long as you developed it well to full windowpane.  All you need is a bit of flour on the bench and a bit on the top so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin.  Because I’ve reduced the sugar in the base dough, it doesn’t end up being too sweet.  However, because of the sugar, I find it does ferment more slowly than I expected. I guess my starter isn’t particularly osmotolerant.  If yours is, it could ferment faster.  But at least it is easy to judge when to bake.