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Sep 10, 2019

Sesame Scallion Bread

This Chinese-Islamic Sesame-Scallion Bread (zhima dabing) is crunchy and chewy on the outside and soft and loaded with sesame oil flavored scallions on the inside. 

Sesame Scallion Bread

This sesame scallion bread, with origins as a street food in northwestern China, is "baked" in a skillet on the stovetop. This bread is a distant cousin to the Chinese scallion pancake, or Cong You Bing, but it's yeasted flatbread rather than a pancake.

The shaping method is very similar, in that you coil the bread after rolling up the scallions in the dough, but with the difference being that this is a thicker yeasted flatbread in the tradition of Chinese Muslim cuisine.

While this recipe is baked in a 12-inch skillet, vendors of this bread can often bake this bread very large disks. In fact, I've read that zhima dabing translates to "sesame big pancake."

The book, All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China, has lots of information about this bread as well as the region. It's a fascinating and comprehensive book that covers so much about Chinese cooking.

For a more traditional bread that incorporates these flavors, be sure to try scallion and sesame rolls

Sesame Scallion Bread from China

Ingredients for this Sesame Scallion Bread:

You will need all-purpose flour, instant yeast, salt, honey, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and scallions. 

In addition, because the flour used in the region is softer than American all-purpose flour, it's helpful to add a softer flour to your all-purpose flour to simulate the Chinese wheat flour. 

If you don't want to blend your own flour, Gold Medal bleached all purpose flour is good. Other options include adding some cake or pastry flour to your favorite all-purpose flour (Vietworld Kitchen). 

Milk Street Magazine suggests adding a small amount of glutinous rice flour (or sweet rice flour) to the blend. I already had some on hand from making these Senbei (Japanese rice crackers), and it worked perfectly. 

I'm always grateful when I can use some of the multitudes of random ingredients I have in my freezer from previous recipe experiments. 

Sesame Scallion Bread from Asiia

One of the reasons that this bread is "baked" on the stove top is that traditional Chinese kitchens are not equipped with ovens. 

After shaping the dough, let the bread rise in the skillet that you will be using to "bake" the dough. 

I was nervous about whether or not the dough would cook through, but I shouldn't have been. The dough cooked beautifully, with the layers of scallions shining through. 

Sesame Scallion Bread with sesame oil scallions flat bread

Serve this Chinese-Muslim Sesame-Scallion bread with cumin lamb or Mongolian beef, or just enjoy it all by itself slathered in butter. 

How to Shape Sesame Scallion Bread:

First, you spread the risen dough out into a 12 inch by 9 inch rectangle. Next, you spread some scallions that have been soaked in sesame oil over the dough. 

Next, you roll up the dough, width-wise, into a log and then form the log into a coil, sort of like a snail shell. Flatten the coil into a 10-inch disk. 

Finally, let the the disk rise in a 12-inch skillet. 

Sesame Scallion Bread with sesame oil scallions

If you are a regular bread baker, this bread should be pretty easy. If you are not, be sure to place close attention to the shaping instructions. Even if you aren't happy with how your shaping turned out, definitely still cook the bread. It is highly likely that you will love the bread, no matter what it looks like. 

 This month the Bread Bakers are baking breads with seeds. Many thanks to Stacy of Food Lust People Love for such a great theme:

Sesame Scallion Bread slices

Sesame Scallion Bread

Yield: 4 servings
This Chinese-Islamic Sesame-Scallion Bread (zhima dabing) is crunchy and chewy on the outside and soft and loaded with sesame oil flavored scallions on the inside.


  • 217 grams (1 2/3 cups) all purpose flour
  • 40 grams (1/4 cup) glutinous rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup warm (100 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 cup (about one bunch) thinly sliced scallions
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil


How to cook Sesame Scallion Bread

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, yeast, 1 teaspoon of the salt with the dough hook on low.
  2. Whisk together the water and honey in a separate bowl and add it to the flour mixture with the mixer running on low.
  3. Mix on low until you have a smooth dough. Check the dough at about the one minute mark to see if the dough is too wet and sticky. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time (no more than 3 tablespoons total), until you have a smooth and tacky but not sticky dough. This process should take about four minutes.
  4. Coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour.
  5. Rub a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the dough to the pan and press it into a 9 inch by 12 inch rectangle.
  6. In a small bowl, toss the scallions with the rest of the sesame oil. Spread the mixture over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
  7. Roll the dough, starting from the 12 inch side, into a log. Seal the seam.
  8. With the cylinder seam side down, coil it into a tight spiral or "snail." 
  9. Sprinkle the top with half of the sesame seeds. Flip the coil over and press the other side with the rest of the sesame seeds. 
  10. Flatten the dough into a 10 inch round. 
  11. Add the neutral oil to a 12 inch skillet and transfer the flattened dough to the pan. Adjust the dough back into a 10-inch round. Cover the pan with a lid. Let rise for 30 minutes. 
  12. Place the covered skillet over medium heat and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the bottom has browned. 
  13. Flip the bread over and continue to cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
  14. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. 
bread, scallion bread, chinese bread
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from and inspired by Milk Street, Vietworld Kitchen, and Kirbie's Cravings.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I can't wait to serve this up when we celebrate Chinese New Year next year.

  2. I have a serious love of green onions and this looks positively amazing. Going on my must try list!

  3. Loving this Savory scallion bread. Would be perfect for sunday brunch

  4. I made "that other one" a few years ago, but I think this version is much more appealing! I will give it a try soon.. well, you know, as soon as I can possibly get to it

    1. The leftovers for this are way better than the pancakes for sure.

  5. The bread looks seriously delicious and beautiful. The flavour of scallion and sesame oil must be awesome. This is definitely worth trying.

    1. Thanks Namita! The minute I saw this bread I had to try making it.

  6. So fluffy on the inside and the flavors! These look amazing, Karen! It's not just traditional Chinese kitchens that don't have ovens. In local houses, the same is true in other parts of Asia as well, even these days.

  7. Love the gorgeous green color in the center of the bread.

  8. Wow! This bread looks like nothing I've ever seen before. I love the texture on the outside and it must taste delicious!

  9. I'm intrigued. I've never heard of this, but I really would like to try it!

  10. That looks so good, thanks so much for sharing this at First Monday Favorites. I'd heard of this technique but had never tried it. I'll put it on my list to try.

  11. My layers did not come out as distinct as yours. Where do you think I went wrong?

    1. I'm not sure. Maybe try using just a little more sesame oil? Or more scallions?

    2. I don't think that would create those distinct 3-4 layers I can see in your picture. My bread was tall and fluffy, but looked more uniform. Do you roll your coils (either rolling step) quite tight?

    3. I roll it naturally and probably not too extra tight but not consciously rolling it loosely either. Maybe yours had more "spring" when it hit the pan? I hope it still tasted good!!

    4. Strange, then! It was delicious. I had this bread in Taipei last fall and absolutely fell in love. This recipe has the flavour, but it doesn't hit the mark with very distinct, chewy layers. I guess that's just a reason to go back to Taiwan! :-) Thanks for your feedback.

    5. Or just keep make this bread!


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