Italian Sesame Bread (Vegan)

It is late morning. Grassy odour permeates the air. Our lawn is being mowed. As the machine moves and gnaws the juicy grass, a swarm of grasshoppers and nymphs and a dozen other tiny moths and winged creatures rise like smoke. They disperse and settle on the distant blades of grass till the machine reaches far end forcing them to move further.

A Brown Rock Chat is perched on the ledge of the window. She lets out a shrill whistle and swoops down to catch her prey which is in abundance here.

The weather is warm and perfect to bake bread. I braid the dough and dress it up with sesame seeds. As it rests to rise, some more mowing is done till the Sun gets strong and makes it difficult to work. 

The bread rises well and is placed in the oven. Grassy odour faints and yeasty aroma dominates. The bread is in the final stages of baking.

Sesame seeds gives a crunchy crust while the crumb is soft. This is Italian Sesame Bread.

Italian Sesame Bread
Recipe source –
I used milk wash in place of egg wash as mentioned in the recipe
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup and 2 to 4 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Milk wash ( ¼ cup milk, 1 tablespoon butter,2 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt. Boil together for 5 minutes on low heat) 
Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add olive oil, mix well.
Add yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir so that it dissolves.
Add to flour mix. Knead for 6- 8 minutes. Keep adding more water till you get a soft and supple dough.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around so that it is coated with oil all over. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ hour or until double.
Transfer dough to a floured counter. Divide into three equal parts. Roll out each part into a 20 inch long rope slightly tapering at the edges. Braid the pieces, pinch the ends together and tuck them under. Place on the greased baking tray. Cover and keep for 1 ½ hours or until double in size.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Brush the braid with milk wash and sprinkle sesame seeds.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or till it is golden brown. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.

My Notes - Avoid milk and butter to  get a vegan topping. Boil water and sugar.Cool before brushing.

NewerStories OlderStories Home


  1. Fab recipe..plz tell the ratio for active dry yeast...not the instant one

    1. Hello Seema, You may use the same quantity of active dry yeast as mentioned in the recipe. You will have to activate the yeast first and then add it to ingredients. Happy Baking!

  2. What a wonderful combination of smells you just had. I love the smell of fresh mowed grass and add the smell of hot fresh bread to that and you don't get much better. It is warming up here and we just let Brunhilda go out for her summer hibernation period. That means baking bread in the covered gas bbq but we have done that many a time. I will have to see if this glorious loaf translates well to bbq cooking. Thank you for the lovely share Namita :)

  3. Hi! if you are not a vegan, you use milk wash as mentioned in the recipe. You are a strict vegan, and want a vegan topping, then just boil 1/4 cup water with 2-3 teaspoons sugar . Let it bubble. Cool. Brush your loaf and sprinkle sesame seeds. Idea is to get the seeds sit on top.

  4. Hi Namita, how have u been......bread looks tempting.....we all love Italian bread here and I personally love braided breads....they look so pretty :)

  5. Hi Namita,your recipes are so wonderful!! Thanks for sharing.Please tell which brand of instant yeast to use n from where to get it.
    Sudha Agarwal

    1. Hello Sudha, Thank you for your kind words.....your words of appreciation motivate me. I buy 500 gms brick of instant dry yeast. My brand is "Four Seasons". I keep it in refrigerator and it usuallylasts whole year.

    2. Thanks a lot Namita for such a prompt reply.Please also guide from where to get it because it won't be available in my place.Sorry to bother you,but I am new in baking bread n we don't like the smell of active dry yeast.I used Red star once.

    3. Hello Sudha, I live in a small town and this is the only brand available here. I am sure there must be many more brands in the stores. Gloripan is a good brand. You can even order it online. It also comes in satchets (2 1/4 teaspoon ) each.

    4. Thankyou Namita.

  6. Hi,I am trying this Italian Sesame Bread today and I am missing sugar or honey in the yeast activation.Is it fine not to add any sweetner to the dough though the final wash has sugar.Thank you for the recipe

    1. Hello Jayashree,
      Its absolutely ok not to have any sweetener in the dough. Sugar gives a kickstart to the yeast. Without sugar also the yeast will work. It will eat the starches and sugar in the dough. It might take a little longer though.
      Happy Baking!