Lemon & Black Sesame Rolls


I love anything that can be made the night before and taste this good. I borrowed tips and tricks from every baker I know.


71 g water
71 g milk
28 g flour

For the Dough:
500 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
7 g kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
115 g unsalted butter
115 g milk
115 g unsweetened yogurt
Zest of 2 lemons
approx. 10-12 tablespoons of heavy cream to pour on top of rolls before baking

1 cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 lemon

225 g  cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250 g powdered sugar
20 g fresh lemon juice


Tangzhong: Combine all of the starter ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from the heat, and set it aside to cool.

Dough: Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Add tangzhong and stir.

Melt butter over low heat, then stir in milk, yogurt, and lemon zest. Add this to flour mixture and stir to combine. With the hook attachment, knead on low for about 15 minutes.

Cover bowl and set aside until it doubles in size.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 12-inch square. Spread the black sesame filling evenly over dough to form a log with seam side down.

Using twine (so you don’t mush the roll) cut it into 1″ slices and arrange in a 9″ x13″ pan lined with parchment. Cover with foil and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Filling: Toast sesame seeds slightly.   Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or food processor. Add the sugar and pulse again.  Place the sugar and sesame seeds into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add softened butter and lemon zest.  Mix until smooth and combined.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.

Frosting: Add softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Mix on low and then increase speed until smooth.   Should take about 5 minutes.

Bake: In the morning take rolls out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature while you preheat oven to 350F.  Pour heavy cream over rolls before baking (1 scant tablespoon over each)/ Bake for about 30 minutes with aluminum foil on and then remove and bake for another 15 minutes until browned. Frost when they are still warm and serve as soon as you can.


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