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Delicious, buttery morsels of bread with hints of aniseed

Mosbolletjies are another South African classic which are best served with thick lashings of butter and a warm cup of tea. Mosbolletjies were initially introduced to South Africa by the French Huguenots who settled in Franschoek in the mide 1600’s.

When I first had mosbolletjies, they actually reminded me a bit of naan. Not the naan which is a flatbread, but instead the warm, pillowy loaves which are found in most Durban, Indian bakeries. I think it is the flavour of the aniseed within the mosbolletjies which smacks of similarities to the naan loaves.

Mosbolletjies however have a more brioche-like texture and a light and airy texture. Traditionally, the leavening comes from the use of grape must, which was harvested during wine-making season. I really struggled to get a hold of grape must and have found many recipes which now use grape juice to speed up the fermentation of the yeast. 

Not meaning to disrespect the flavours of the traditional mosbolletjie, I wanted to put my own spin on things. Leveraging off from the nuanced flavours of the Naan bread, I decided to add a sprinkling of poppy and sesame seeds before baking. I also added a tangzhong to the dough to create a superlight loaf.

This loaf is best eaten on the same day, but given that I gobbled half of it in one go, that really does not seem problematic ­čÖé

If you make this recipe, please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @adventureswithsugar or on Facebook at Adventures with Sugar.


  • 8g cake flour
  • 10g milk
  • 10g water


  1. To make the tangzhong, add the flour, milk and water into a pot and cook on medium heat.
  2. The mixture will form a thick paste and should form a thin film on the base of the spot.
  3. Set aside to use later.


  • 300g cake flour
  • 250g white bread flour
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 80g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons aniseed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 125ml full cream milk, lukewarm
  • 60ml water, lukewarm
  • 100ml white grape juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g butter


  1. Place the cake flour, bread flour, aniseed, fennel, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a dough attachment.
  2. Mix the grape juice, water and milk together.
  3. Begin to mix the dry ingredients and slowly add the milk and juice mixture to it to begin to form a dough.
  4. Add in the thangzong you made earlier and continue to knead.
  5. This should be followed by the eggs. Add one egg at a time and let it fully incorporate before adding the next one.
  6. Knead for five minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. The dough will not be too soft at this point.
  7. Add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time and knead into the dough before adding the next tablespoon.
  8. Knead for about three minutes more until the dough is soft and elastic. If you take a piece of dough and stretch it, it should not tear about, but should allow light to shine through like a window pane (hence called the window pane test).
  9. Place in a bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it prove in the fridge overnight.
  10. The next day, bring to room temperature before continuing.
  11. Line a 900g loaf tin with a baking paper, allow any excess to hang off the sides. Divide the dough into about 90g pieces and roll into balls. Place about 5 balls, in two rows into the lined tin. It is ok if they slightly squeeze together. There may be excess dough which you can make another little piece of bread with.
  12. Let the dough rise for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.
  13. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until fully baked.


  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • poppy seeds
  • white sesame seeds


  1. Whilst the bread is baking heat the honey, butter and water together until the honey melts slightly and turns into a loose syrup.
  2. When the bread comes out of the oven, brush with the syrup and sprinkle with the poppy and sesame seeds.
  3. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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