Charcoal Black Sesame Sourdough

With a surprisingly light crumb and clean flavor (thanks to the charcoal) that lets the black sesame seeds shine through, this eerily black Charcoal Black Sesame Sourdough is a must-try this Halloween. 

Hi friends! I’m so excited about today’s recipe. I got together with some of my fellow Asian food bloggers, and we are all sharing Halloween-ey (or any time of year, really) recipes using one of my favorite ingredients ever: black sesame seeds! You can check out what these incredibly talented foodies created over at:

I can’t wait to try all of their amazing dishes. Black Sesame seeds are one of my all-time favorite ingredients. If you’ve never used them before, it’s time you try. I’ve used them here on my blog a couple of times in the past for sourdough kabocha and black sesame babka, black sesame moffles, and black sesame no churn ice cream

I decided to go all in with the black bread, and used activated charcoal powder in the dough. And you’d be surprised how not-burned it tastes. In fact, if anything, the charcoal kind of gives the dough a cleaner flavor, which in turn lets the black sesame seeds pop even more. And coating your towel with the seeds instead of flour allows for extra punch of toasted sesame goodness. It’s a really lovely bread and as strange as it seems, it’s made it’s way into our regular routine. 

And can I just point out the crescent moon shaped scoring? *heart eyes* How perfectly Halloween-ey. 

Now let’s go make some black bread!

And don’t forget to visit the amazing line up of black sesame recipes over at Contemplating Sweets, The Pink Wings, The Missing Lockness, Pups with Chopsticks, Thirsty for Tea, What to Cook Today, and Chopstick Chronicles

Charcoal Black Sesame Sourdough
Yields 2
With a surprisingly light crumb and clean flavor (thanks to the charcoal) that lets the black sesame seeds shine through, this eerily black Charcoal Black Sesame Sourdough is a must-try this Halloween. 
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2674 calories
464 g
0 g
55 g
80 g
8 g
1110 g
4426 g
4 g
0 g
43 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2674
Calories from Fat 459
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 55g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 24g
Monounsaturated Fat 19g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 4426mg
Total Carbohydrates 464g
Dietary Fiber 30g
Sugars 4g
Protein 80g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 800 g cool water, unchlorinated
  2. 200 g sourdough starter, refreshed*
  3. 20 g food grade activated charcoal
  4. 1000 g all-purpose flour, organic
  5. 20 grams unrefined sea salt
  6. 200 g black sesame seeds, more for coating the loaves
  1. In a large bowl stir together the water and starter. Add flour and charcoal and mix with a dough whisk or by hand until it's a cohesive mass. Let rest for 40~60 minutes to allow the flour to fully absorb the water. This is called the autolyse phase.
  2. After autolyse, add the salt and mix thoroughly. The gluten will have developed significantly during autolyse, but this is a fairly wet dough so it shouldn't bee too difficult. You may need to knead more than mix. Once salt is sufficiently mixed in, allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Using wet hands, pull from under the dough on the right side and fold it over to the left. Repeat on the left (to right), top (to bottom), and bottom (to top). Rest for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and repeat the folding. Repeat the folding every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours. After the folds, allow the bread to rise on the counter for another 2~3 hours for a total of 5~6 hours.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a clean kitchen and slightly damp counter and cut into two equal portions. Take one piece and fold it and turn it seam side down onto the counter. Repeat with the other half and let rest for 10~15 minutes.
  5. Prepare two clean kitchen towels with a layer of black sesame seeds. Take a ball of dough and lay it on the prepared towel, seam side up. Repeat with second ball of dough. Place the towels in medium bowls or baskets and cover with a plastic bag and place in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 475°F with a heavy-bottomed, lidded pot inside. Once preheated, place the bread inside the pot, seam side down. Place the lid on the pot and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 10~20 minutes until crust is fully formed and you can see slight browning on the edges. Obviously it's harder to see proper browning on black bread, but you'll see it a little.
  7. Remove the bread from the pot and let cool on a wire rack until completely cool before slicing.
  1. *to refresh your starter, feed it approximately 8~12 hours before using. It should double in size and be nice and bubbly when ready. You can test for readiness by dropping a spoonful in some water. If it floats, it's ready to use.
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bread, Japanese, vegan, vegetarian | October 3, 2017 | By


  1. Leave a Reply

    October 10, 2017

    This is such a beautiful load of bread! I do love the crescent mark on top. It’s eye opening to know charcoal can be used in baking. I’m very curious how it tastes. Thank you for introducing me to something new and exciting. 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      November 8, 2017

      It’s lovely. I’m excited to see what you do with it. I love your brilliant ideas.

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