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  • Writer's pictureHila

Baking with Tahini

Updated: Jan 7


Leave the grain flour to a conventional bread, and use tahini to bake a nice loaf of seed bread.

How is it possible?


If you have ever tried to make the tahini sauce, you would know that when you add some water to the quite liquid raw tahini and stir it, it turns into a kind of stiff, doughy lump of mud, that resembles a dough. If you add an egg and leavening agent (baking powder or baking soda) to this mud substance, you can bake a nice loaf of bread. Tahini is much closer to flour than it seems!


When you take starchy seeds (such as sesame - tahini's single ingredient) and grind them until fine, it results in a powder or a type of flour. Sesame flour, in our case. The sesame seeds "flour grains" float comfortably in huge amounts of sesame oil (the raw tahini usually contains a little more than 50% oil), but inside it hides a considerable amount of solid powder (usually a little less than 50%). Even though the oil is liquid, it does not wet the grains. On the contrary, it wraps and surrounds them from all sides and keeps them dry from the moisture in the air.


And that is exactly why this phenomenon seems so miraculous. We think that if the tahini is liquid, it is wet, but reality tells a completely different story. When you mix water into the raw tahini, the sesame flour finally gets wet. Then what happens to any flour happens to it - the small grains swell and become sticky, which causes them to stick to each other in water and become dough.


The dough sits in a puddle of oil, but it is still doughy, stiff, and uncomfortable to mix. At least until you add enough liquid to squeeze between the grains, separate them, and create the beloved creamy texture of the classic tahini sauce. Add Salt, lemon, garlic, and parsley, now you know how it happened.


Translated and edited from a Hebrew Article written by Blidad Hashuchi on Calcalist

Let's get into the kitchen!



Tahini Loaf


A tahini loaf has come to be the Passover bread in many Israeli households - as one of this holiday’s rituals is to refrain from eating grains. This loaf is an excellent example showing that grain is not necessary for bread making, and seeds can be a good alternative. It is not a cake-like bread, so do not add it to your banana, or zucchini bread file. It has a neutral flavor, it's dense and can be nicely sliced just like any bread for a sandwich (minus the crust, though). Toast it if you wish, and pair it with any sweet or savory spread.


Makes 1 loaf (use a 9" loaf pan)


Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup (120gr) tahini paste

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 Tbsp baking soda

  • 2 Tbsp date molasses/honey/pure maple

  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseeds

  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds


Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 360℉, line a 9” loaf pan with baking paper.

  2. Mix all dry ingredients: baking soda, salt, ground flaxseeds, and sesame seeds (leave some seeds to sprinkle atop the bread). Set aside.

  3. Whisk the eggs in a stand mixer bowl, for 4-5 min., until it becomes pale and fluffy.

  4. Add the tahini and the date molasses (or any other natural sweeteners) to the bowl and mix until just incorporated.

  5. Fold in the dry ingredient mixture, and blend until well incorporated.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and top with the reserved sesame seeds.

  7. Bake for 35 mins, until a toothpick inserted into the center, comes out dry. You may need to bake for 3-5 minutes if you prefer a darker and dryer loaf.

  8. When fully baked, transfer to a cooling rack.

  9. Enjoy within 5 days at room temperature or freeze.


Notes

  • If you use a larger 9” pan, expect a flatter bread. However, if you still want to get a large, surfaced slice, place the bread on a cutting board with its side facing up, and instead of making vertical slices like you normally do, turn the knife to 45 angles, and make diagonal cuts.

  • You can improvise with the added seeds, and instead of ground flaxseeds and sesame seeds, add 3 Tablespoons of whole flax seeds and sunflower seeds.

  • If you wish to add nuts or other heavy stuff like raisins or dates –you will need to finely chop or ground it, otherwise, it will sink during baking and end up at the bottom of your loaf. Shop for this miraculous tahini loaf on our website or make it yourself!





Tahini Cookies


I grew up eating sesame candies, and tahini-based sweets such as halvah. My mom used to bake tahini cookies when I was a kid in the 80's. So, when I started to sell tahini-centered creations at the Needham farmer’s market in the fall of 2017, it was natural to include tahini cookies in my offering.  

Many eyebrows were raised back then, but in the past six years or so, the word become fascinating with incorporating tahini into sweet baked goods. I wish I could credit that to my little farm stand, rather than social media channels that have played a definitive role in spreading such trends across the world.

 

Here, I'm sharing the original recipe, which, despite its simplicity, calls for some less common ingredients like whole Spelt flour and date syrup. If these items aren't staples in your pantry, consider this an opportunity to explore new ingredients.

What imparts a delightful softness and buttery flavor to these cookies (with no use of any dairy butter, as they are vegan) is the prominent use of tahini as the main ingredient and the brief baking time that allows its rich essence to shine through.


Makes 20 cookies


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 gr) raw tahini

  • 1 ¾ cup (200 gr) whole spelt flour

  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup (50 gr) cane sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons (45 gr) date molasses/honey/maple

  • ¼ cup (50 gr) coconut oil

  • 3 Tbsp (30 gr) sesame seeds (optional)

        

Preparation

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In a mixer bowl with a hook attachment, add all dry ingredients and lightly blend.

  3. Pour in all other ingredients, and blend at low speed until all ingredients are well combined. Stop the mixer and make sure to blend in all dry ingredients that have settled on the bottom and the sides of the bowl. Work it in as needed, until a soft and a bit greasy dough comes together.

  4. Roll into 1-1/2 inches balls. Place 1” apart on the baking pan and flatten with a fork or with your fingers to half an inch-thick cookie.

  5. Bake for 8-9 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE! cookies should be pale and soft, let them sit on the sheet to cool and harden before removing them to a plate.

  6. Store in an airtight container for about a week. It also freezes well – just make sure to defrost inside a sealed bag or a container and not while it sits on an open plate.







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