Italian Sesame Bread

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Italian Sesame Bread

star rating (13) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Crunchy and redolent of toasted sesame, this loaf is a great accompaniment to your favorite Italian feast.

3 3/4 cups European-Style Artisan Bread Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver (optional, but helpful)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or whole flax seeds, golden preferred
1/2 teaspoon Bread Shine, mixed with 2 tablespoons water OR 1 beaten egg white

Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients -- by hand, mixer, bread machine or food processor -- until you've made a smooth, elastic dough. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, cover, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into three equal pieces; each will weigh about 9 to 9 1/4 ounces. Roll each piece into a 20-inch log, tapering the ends slightly. Place the logs on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Braid them loosely; pinch the ends together, and tuck them under.

Mix the Bread Shine with the water, and brush some of this mixture over the braid. (You can use a beaten egg white in place of the Bread Shine, but it won't be nearly as effective in making the seeds stick.) Cover the braid and allow it to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it's almost doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Brush the braid again with Bread Shine or egg white, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake the braid for 20 to 25 minutes, until it's golden brown. (Tent it lightly with aluminum foil after 15 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly.)

Remove the braid from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. Yield: one 14-inch braid.


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  • star rating 01/08/2015
  • Monica from New Windsor, NY
  • I've baked this loaf twice. Both times I cut the salt back to 1 tsp. due to dietary constraints. Since the salt was only reduced by a third, it didn't rise overly fast. The first time I made it, the only change I made was the reduction in salt.Used my Zo to knead and rise, then braided. The second time I made it, I used 1/2 cup of white whole wheat, and 3 and 1/4 cups of AP, in an attempt to replicate somewhat the artisan bread flour. Didn't have any ascorbic acid, but it didn't seem to matter. I also added 1 tsp. of a no-salt Italian herb blend. This bread came out beautiful both times, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, delicious both times. A really nice recipe.
  • star rating 05/12/2014
  • Diane from Tampa, FL
  • I used KAF all purpose, skipped the dough improver, and the shine stuff. I used active dry yeast, as that's all I had on hand. The first time I made this, I over-proofed the dough. The loaf came out at least 20 inches long, but was only about an 1-1/2 inch thick. Tasted great, though, so I decided to try again. Watched the dough very carefully during first rise - only took about 20 minutes. I deflated the dough & then divided it in half. I cut each half into three pieces & made TWO braided loaves. I put them into my two-sleeve baquette pan & let them rise again. Again only about 20 minutes. I brushed the top of the loaves with beaten egg & sprinkled the sesame seeds on. Came out fantastic! I used my KA stand mixer with the dough hook to knead. So easy! I've been using my food processor, not even realizing my KA had a dough hook! (The KA is at least 30 years old & had been gathering dust in a closet, but not anymore!) It was so much easier to clean than a food processor. I'll never use anything else again to knead dough. This is a winner-winner recipe.
  • star rating 04/26/2014
  • Mehmet from San Francisco
  • Wow! I wanted a simple non dairy bread and came up this recipe. It was simple, soft inside with a beautiful crust. My kids keep wanting more. Braiding was simpler than I thought too. This is a keeper. Thanks KAF.
  • star rating 02/13/2013
  • MJ from
  • Delicous - very soft and light on the inside w/a beautiful crust. Have made it twice - using the french-style and european-style flours. Worked well as a braid and also as a round loaf. Didn't use the dough improver and also cut the salt to 1/2 tsp. It rose faster w/o the salt but still very tasty. Egg white worked just fine for the sesame seeds. Highly recommend!
  • star rating 07/01/2012
  • melissaroth68 from KAF Community
  • This was FANTASTIC! I made the other, higher rated, italian bread from this site and wasn't impressed. THIS one turned out wonderfully! I skipped the dough improver and used regular old all purpose flour. Braiding was easy and makes it look "high end" too.
  • star rating 01/19/2012
  • bakerbee23 from KAF Community
  • Love this bread! It's easy, and my granddaughter loved helping! Delicious!!!
  • star rating 12/12/2011
  • Amy from Islamorada FL
  • My Husband Sir Earl a Lot has joined the court of a King Arthur Flour. He made the bread and it was terrific! Pizza is next:)
  • star rating 12/12/2011
  • Sdolli from KAF Community
  • Ladies and Gents, do not be afraid. This recipe ROCKS. I have baked for years. This is by far the best, fool proof, easy recipe ever. Mixed it in myKitchen aid with the dough hook(five minutes and done) and delicious as well. Every one try this. It will not disappoint . Love it love it love it....... Thank you. KAF.
  • star rating 09/21/2011
  • kmcgriff from KAF Community
  • World class EASY recipe. It is now Wednesday and I made the bread Sunday. My husband is STILL raving over it, so I will probably make another one tonight. We both loved it! It truly is marvelous!
  • star rating 03/20/2011
  • HopeH from KAF Community
  • This is the first loaf of Italian bread I've made in 30 years. Why? Because the last one impersonated an inedible brick, and I was too traumatized to try again. This time, I thought, I'll use a KAF recipe. Surely that's bound to come out beautifully. And it did! I followed the recipe to a "T" since it was my first time. I even cracked open a gorgeous, expensive bottle of Italian olive oil because I didn't have any cooking, simple EEVO and didn't want to substitute anything else. It's beautiful, sitting on the kitchen counter in a KAF bread bag. My husband took a photo--it was his idea. Thanks, KA, for all you do for breadbakers, including us newbies.
    Thanks for sharing both your success and failure. Good for you not to give up! We are here to help so when you get stuck, give us a call, 1-800-827-6836. Elisabeth
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