While shopping for ingredients at a Korean grocery in the neighborhood, my husband got intrigued by the bread in the bakery section. He asked if we wanted to try the buns, I said sure, and he bought four that we reheated in the oven toaster at home. Our verdict? Too sweet. Cloyingly sweet.
A week or so later, our younger daughter, Alex, made Korean cream cheese garlic bread. We had already discussed that the sugar would have to be reduced. We also agreed that the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk (most Filipino versions of this Korean street food has condensed milk) was a bad idea.
The result was better balance in flavor. Still sweet (Korean cream cheese garlic bread is meant to be sweet, after all) but the contrast with the salty cream cheese was well pronounced rather than drowned out by too much sugar. If you want to try making this at home, here are some tips:
Cream cheeses are not created equal. Some are more salty than others. If your cream cheese falls under the less salty category, you will need to add salt to the cream cheese filling.
Use buns that are at least four inches in diameter so you can slash them comfortably into eight segments. You will be able to pipe in more filling that way.
Easy Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread
- 4 large dinner rolls or hamburger buns
Cream cheese filling
- 1 cup cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- salt (optional)
- ¾ cup butter softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated garlic
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¾ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
Toast the bread
- Line a baking tray with non-stick paper or silicone mat.
- Arrange the buns on the tray and toast for five minutes (see notes after the recipe).
- Take the tray out of the oven and allow the buns to cool a bit.
- Turn down the oven temperature to 320F.
Mix the cream cheese filling
- In a bowl, whisk the cream cheese and sugar.
- Taste. If your cream cheese is on the not-so-salty side, add just enough salt to create a good balance. Start with a pinch, mix, taste and add more if needed.
- Scoop the cream cheese filling into a piping bag fitted with a large tip (the shape of the tip doesn't matter).
Make the garlic butter
- In a mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the garlic butter (except the egg) until smooth.
- Add the egg and whisk until fully blended.
Make the Korean cream cheese garlic bread
- Cut each bun into eight segments without going all the way through (the bottom should be in one piece).
- Pipe the cream cheese filling between the segments of each bun.
- Dunk the filled buns into the garlic butter mixture one by one, turning them over to make sure that every part of the bread, including the crevices with the filling, is coated.
- Arrange the buns on the same tray where they were toasted.
- Bake the buns for 15 minutes.
- Serve your Korean cream cheese garlic bread immediately.