How to Make Gyeongju Bread: A Delicious Taste of Korean History

Gyeongju bread, also known as Hwangnam bread, is a small, sweet treat hailing from the historic city of Gyeongju, South Korea. These little cakes are filled with a smooth, subtly sweet red bean paste that’s surprisingly addictive. Their unique shape and delicate flavor make them a true delight, and today, I’m going to share my tried-and-true recipe so you can experience the magic of Gyeongju bread right in your own kitchen!

Ingredients You’ll Need for a Taste of Gyeongju

Let’s gather our ingredients. Don’t worry; this recipe uses simple pantry staples!

For the Dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (You can also use a gluten-free 1:1 baking flour blend for a gluten-free version.)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup milk (You can use dairy or non-dairy milk here.)

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup smooth red bean paste (You can find this at Asian grocery stores or online. Some regular supermarkets carry it as well.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Gyeongju Bread IngredientsGyeongju Bread Ingredients

Tools to Make Baking a Breeze

Before we begin, let’s make sure we have these tools handy:

  • Two mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • 2-inch round cookie cutter
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Pastry brush

Step-by-Step Guide to Gyeongju Bread Heaven

Now, let’s get baking! This recipe is easier than you might think.

1. Preparing the Dough:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and milk.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix!
  4. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (This allows the gluten to relax, making the dough easier to work with.)

2. Creating the Sweet Red Bean Filling:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the red bean paste, honey (or maple syrup), and water.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

3. Shaping and Filling the Gyeongju Bread:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll out the chilled dough to about 1/4-inch thickness.
  3. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough.
  4. Place a heaping teaspoon of the cooled red bean filling in the center of each dough circle.
  5. Carefully fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pressing the edges firmly to seal.

Expert Tip: “To get that signature Gyeongju bread pattern, use a fork to crimp the edges of the dough together. This not only looks beautiful but also helps to prevent the filling from leaking out during baking,” advises Chef Mina Lee, a renowned Korean pastry chef.

4. Baking to Golden Perfection:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water to make the egg wash.
  2. Brush the tops of the assembled Gyeongju bread with the egg wash.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastries are golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Shaping Gyeongju BreadShaping Gyeongju Bread

Tips for Gyeongju Bread Success:

  • Red Bean Paste Consistency: The red bean paste should be smooth and not too wet. If it’s too runny, it might leak out during baking.
  • Chilling the Dough: Chilling the dough is crucial for preventing the bread from spreading too much while baking.
  • Don’t Overbake!: Keep a close eye on your Gyeongju bread while it’s baking. Overbaking can make the dough dry.

FAQs About Making Gyeongju Bread:

Q: Can I use store-bought red bean paste?

A: Absolutely! Store-bought red bean paste is a great time-saver. Just make sure it’s smooth and not too sweet.

Q: Can I freeze Gyeongju bread?

A: Yes! You can freeze baked and cooled Gyeongju bread for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature or reheat gently in a preheated oven.

Enjoy the Sweet Reward of Your Labor!

And there you have it – your own batch of homemade Gyeongju bread! Pair them with a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon snack. These little treats are best enjoyed fresh, but they also make a thoughtful homemade gift.

What are your favorite Korean treats? Share your baking adventures in the comments below. Happy baking!

Article by Family Cuisine

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