Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns #BBB

Our May bake for the Bread Baking Babes is a unique offering, hailing from Korea, and is basically a cross between a cream cheese Danish and garlic bread!  Our host at My Diverse Kitchen mentioned that although some things like this bun are not traditional foods, they have become uniquely Korean.  This recipe started as a street food.

"The Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bun is nothing like the Western style Garlic Bread. Rather, it is a very soft bun that is divided into six equal segments or “leaves/ petals”. It is filled with a lightly sweetened cream cheese and then dunked into custardy, lightly sweet and savoury garlic butter mixture. This is then baked till lightly crunchy on the outside."

The bun part of this recipe was a lovely dough to work with once it got to the proper consistency, I did have to add more milk than called for to achieve a nice, soft dough.  They baked up beautifully and I found a nifty hack for not wasting a whole egg on an egg wash, something that always bugs me.  I figured that mayonnaise is egg based and so I thinned a squirt of mayo with some water and used that as a wash.  It worked nicely and didn't waste an egg.  You don't get the deep shine of an egg wash, but that was not necessary for these twice baked buns anyway.  Honestly, I would happily make just the buns again, it was a really tasty, soft, and just barely sweet bread.  (I added a spoonful of sleepy sourdough starter just because.)

The idea of a slightly sweet garlic bread was unusual to us to say the least, so we did try one bun without garlic.  It tasted like a nice cream cheese Danish.  Eldest liked the garlic version better but wasn't quite sure what she thought of the sweetness.  It was interesting for sure and definitely a rich and tasty treat.  Loved the crunchy panko topping!  Hubby had a slight preference for the plain bun but was not put off by the garlic.  I might thin the garlic butter dunk a little with some milk next time as mine was thick enough to require a second batch to finish coating the buns. 

These are pretty amazing when warm, definitely eat them that way! 
We would love to have you try out this uniquely Korean treat with us this month and share how it turned out and what you thought!  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns
makes 6

For the buns:
125 ml (½ cup) milk at room temperature (I used closer to ⅔ cup, a generous 2+ tbsp extra)
30 gm (2½ tbsp) sugar
5 gm (1½ tsp) instant dry yeast
315 gm (2½ cups) all-purpose or bread flour
15 gm (1/8 cup) milk powder
3 gm (½ tsp) salt
1 egg
20 gm (1½ tbsp) unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
Egg wash optional

For the filling:
225 gm (1 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
30g (2½ tbsp) powdered sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) heavy cream

For the sweet-savoury garlic butter:
120 gm salted butter
8 to 10 cloves garlic, minced or crushed into paste
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp honey
1½ tbsp finely chopped parsley (or dried)

For Topping (optional) :
Panko style breadcrumbs

For the Bread:

Place all the dough ingredients except the butter into the bowl of a mixer (or large mixing bowl if you’re kneading by hand).  Mix to combine.  Add the butter and knead.  Add more milk if required, to yield a soft and slightly tacky dough, and knead well.  The final dough should be soft, smooth and elastic with well developed gluten.  (It should pass the “window-pane test”.)

Shape the dough into a smooth ball and cover. Let rise for 1 to 1½ hours in a warm place till almost double in volume.

Knock down the dough and knead with your hands for another 3-5 minutes. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, shaping each into a smooth round ball. Place them on a parchment lined baking tray.  Cover loosely and let them rise for 30 to 40 minutes.  (I accidentally forgot after the timer went off for the first three and they rose a good 2.5x.  Still baked beautifully.)

Brush with milk or egg wash.  Bake the buns at 180ºC or 350ºF for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool on a rack completely.  (I love, love, love my toaster oven for baking in hot weather!)

For the filling:

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar together. Whisk in the cream until smooth. Refrigerate if not using immediately.  Scoop into a piping bag with plain nozzle, or a freezer ziptop bag with a corner snipped when ready to use.  Keep aside until required.

For the Sweet-Savoury Garlic Butter:

Melt the butter in a medium bowl. Whisk in the crushed garlic/ paste, mayonnaise, and honey. Adjust to taste. Whisk in the egg and parsley till smooth. Keep aside till required.

Make the Cream Cheese Garlic Buns:

Slice each bun bread roll into 6 equal sections, making sure not to cut all the way through the bottom. Think of the bun opening out into a flower with six “petals/ leaves”.

Pipe a "reasonable" amount of the sweet cream cheese mixture in between the sections of the bun.

Carefully hold the bun cut side down and dunk into the sweet-savoury garlic butter without the cream cheese falling out. Turn bread roll upside down and make sure the bun is completely and well coated. Drain excess back into your garlic butter bowl.  (You can use a ladle to facilitate this process.)

Place the coated bun on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other buns. Sprinkle the tops with Panko bread crumbs. Pipe a largish blob on the middle of the buns where the ends of the slices of the buns meet, if desired.  (I skipped that addition.)

Bake them at 165ºC (330ºF) for about 15 minutes till the top feels crisp and the bread crumbs a light golden brown. Serve warm.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes




  1. Yours look perfect! I love the neat little piping rows before baking. I actually really liked these after being doubtful at first.

  2. You sliced your buns expertly. I don't know why but I had trouble dividing them into 6. The first one was divided into 8 sections. And your piping is exquisite.

    1. Hooray, my eyeballing worked! Although I think 8 petals might have been better portion control!

  3. How clever are you to use thinned mayonnaise for an egg wash! It has always driven me crazy that so many recipes suggest wasting a whole egg for that. (I used milk for the wash.)

    Beautiful buns! Beautiful piping!! I bow down to you.

    1. It definitely stings to waste a whole egg, especially when the ones we get are typically $6-7 a dozen!! I can't remember the last time I used a real piping bag, freezer ziplocs work just fine for me, even with tips. I only ever had one burst with a very stiff and chunky filling and lots of pressure.

    2. Yes! Sometimes I think the instructions to prodigally use egg wash must stem from a time when everybody had chickens, and so many eggs they didn't know what to do with them.

      I don't think I've ever used a piping bag - real or not. It just seemed like too much work. I was surprised at how easy it was to use (although... my technique left something to be desired). But, really, there seemed to be a lot of wasted cream cheese. Next time, I'll use a knife.

    3. You can use the straight back of a butter knife or any flat edge to squeegee down anything in the bag and waste almost nothing!

  4. Garlic and Cream Cheese - Perfect!


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