Benne Pull-Apart Rolls


Benne, an African word for sesame, is the perfect name for this pull-apart bread recipe that's topped with white and black sesame seeds.

wreath of Benne Pull-Apart Rolls
Photo: Blaine Moats
Prep Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 25 mins
36 rolls


  • 1 cup whole milk

  • cup sugar

  • 2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 3 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoon benne (white sesame) seeds

  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs or whole herb sprigs, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, and/or sage

  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds


  1. In a small saucepan heat the milk and sugar over medium heat until just warm (105° to 115°F). Pour into a large bowl. Stir in yeast and let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.

  2. Add the butter, salt, 2 eggs, and 1 cup flour to milk mixture. Beat with a mixer on low until smooth. Beat in as much of the remaining flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can with a wooden spoon.

  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour until dough is soft and smooth, but still a little sticky (about 4 minutes).

  4. Butter a large bowl. Add dough to the bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let stand until double in size (about 1 hour).

  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 12-inch plate as guide, draw a circle on the paper. Turn the paper over.

  6. Punch dough down. Turn out onto the floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 6 even pieces. Pinch off 6 pieces from each dough piece, shaping each into a ball (36 total balls). Arrange 20 balls about 1/2 inch apart on the circle on the paper. Arrange 16 balls about 1 inch inside the first ring of dough balls (these balls will touch). Cover loosely with a towel and let stand until dough is nearly doubled (about 30 minutes).

  7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Gently brush tops of dough balls with egg mixture. Sprinkle tops of dough balls with seeds and herbs, or arrange whole herbs on dough. Brush whole herbs with egg mixture. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.


Bake and cool wreath as directed. Wrap in heavy foil. Freeze up to 1 month. To reheat, place frozen wrapped rolls in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes or until warm.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

82 Calories
2g Fat
13g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 18
Calories 82
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 107mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0.2mg 1%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 0.8mg 4%
Potassium 37mg 1%
Folate, total 38.4mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.1mcg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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