Cream Cheese Garlic Buns (BBB May 2023)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for Korean-style cream cheese garlic buns; Afraid?? Me? Here’s why: …it’s all that sugar; no wild yeast this time – using commercial yeast only; information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns

[T]his is a recent trendy street food/snack in Korea that involves sweetened cream cheese-stuffed bread that’s soaked in a delicious savory-sweet garlic sauce! Oh man, I’m just salivating writing that and I’ve already made this twice.
– Kale, Poke the Dough | Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread
The fluffiest and most buttery Korean cream cheese garlic bread that just melts in your mouth. Made entirely from scratch, this bread is loaded with garlic and filled with sweet cream cheese.
This garlic cream cheese bread is hands down one of the most delicious treats I’ve ever had and is now one of my top Korean recipes. It’s buttery, soft, extra garlicky, smooth and has a surprisingly sweet flavour. I guarantee that once you try the Korean version, plain garlic bread will never be enough anymore!
– Hanelore, SugarYums | Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread (크림치즈 마늘빵)

Most delicious, eh? I could only hope this would be so!

But I’ll tell the truth: After the initial thrilling bite of it, I’ve never really loved garlic bread. I’m not completely crazy about white bread either. (Unless I time-travel back to when I was 14 and get a big thick slice of Mum’s bread still just a little warm from the oven – slathered with butter and top layered with thin thin thin slices of cheddar cheese.)

T, on the other hand, adores both white bread and garlic bread. (I always let him have my portion of it if it is served to us at a restaurant.)

BBB May 2023

So, yes, it’s true. The BBBabes’ May 2023 project terrified me.

Here is what I did:

BBB Korean Garlic Buns diary:

2 April 2023, 11:43 Just a short message to say that I’ll post the bread for May before the weekend is out. […] I promise you an interesting bread.
– Aparna, in message to BBBabes

9 April 2023, 14:11 Interesting bread is always welcome. And that IS interesting! I suspect that I will be reducing the sugar and honey in the cream cheese though. Garlic is already so sweet.

9 May 2023, 17:54 Well. I have to say that, after looking more closely at the recipe, to me, it sounds a little more than “interesting”. It sounds exactly like the kind of thing I avoid.

It may seem difficult to wrap one’s mind around a sweet, savoury, buttery and garlicky bread. I did too, but was interested enough to try it out. One has to eat this bun to understand how good it actually is.
– Aparna, in message to BBBabes

It’s EXTREMELY difficult for me to wrap my head around this!

I tried to get permission from T to not make it. I was positive he would agree. But no. He said, “Sure, try it. Why not?” Attempting to sway him into changing his mind, I showed him the picture on Kale’s (Poke the Dough) site.

THAT didn’t work. He said, “OOoh, that looks really good!”

Eeeek!! I guess I’d better get cracking….

Korean cream cheese garlic bread is an extremely popular Korean street food. Its name comes from the main ingredients used to make it: cream cheese, garlic, and bread.
– Hanelore, SugarYums | Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread (크림치즈 마늘빵)

Hmmm. Maybe it will be okay?

10 May 2023, 10:53 When I saw “mayonnaise” and/or “egg” in the ingredients lists of virtually all recipes for the garlic butter for these Korean buns, I blanched. I also immediately decided I wanted to omit either one. Then I read the following:
Egg – added to the garlic butter with the milk to form a custard thicker creamier coating for the bread versus a regular Italian style garlic butter.
Alisa, The Delicious Spoon | Sweet Cream Cheese Stuffed Korean Garlic Bread

Okay. Okay. Perhaps I will add mayonnaise after all.

15 May 2023, 09:17 Following Gayathri’s (Gayathri’s Cook Spot) idea to make a pre ferment for the buns, late last night I put together a leavener.

Uncharacteristically, I did NOT use our Jane Mason starter. Instead (because I promised T I would), I used – eeeeek – commercial yeast. Because of all the butter and sugar in the dough.

This morning the leavener was bubbling like crazy.

I just finished mixing the dough together – very stiff dough! I’ll go down and add the salt in a few minutes.

While I was transcribing (errm… scrawling) the ingredients for the filling, I found myself staring in horror at the amount of sugar called for. There’s already sugar in the buns themselves!!

I just can’t add that much! Thank goodness that Aparna has given me permission to alter it, because I loathe very sweet bread, unless it’s something like cinnamon buns or Kouign Amann.

I don’t like bread very sweet so I did reduce the sugar in the bread as well as the cream cheese a bit. I would suggest you adjust the sugar to your preference if you find the recipe too sweet.
     The Panko bread crumbs as a topping are optional. I’ve seen these buns made with and without them. The breadcrumbs do add a nice light crunch though.
– Aparna, in message to BBBabes

Similarly, we have tried Panko bread crumbs. They are a.) ridiculously expensive, and b.) revoltingly sweet.

But I do like the idea of using bread crumbs. I’ll use our toasted bread crumbs that we always have in the fridge (made from the heels of our every-day bread, ground up and toasted until golden in a slow oven – they’re the best for gratins).

15:02 Shaping the buns was dead easy – because the dough is so much less slack than I’m use to. The oven is now turned on. After discussing whether to crumb the tops of the buns or not, T has decreed that we shouldn’t. Considering that one of the reasons I didn’t fold like a letter was because he wants to try these, it makes sense to make the buns the way he would like.

15:42 The buns look quite lovely. Although… they aren’t quite as large as I had hoped. Here’s hoping they will be the right texture inside.

BBB May 2023

I decided to make just enough cream cheese filling and garlic butter for two buns. If we like this combination, we can always make more cream cheese filling and more garlic butter.

As I was putting the garlic butter together, I suddenly remembered that we have a garlic press for mincing garlic. It has been more than 20 years since I’ve used it. But I have washed the dust off of it relatively recently, because it hangs on the wall in the kitchen.

Son of a gun! It works perfectly for this purpose. (I know. I could have minced garlic just as easily – and probably more quickly too – with one of our insanely sharp paring knives.)

19:17 Not owning a piping bag (although we do have several decorative piping nozzles for some unknown reason – again something unused for years and inexplicably still taking up room in a drawer), I used a plastic milk bag to pipe the cream cheese mixture.

I was amazed that it works. But really, wouldn’t it be just as easy to use a butter knife?

Dipping the buns into the garlic butter was so simple! It wasn’t even that messy. Or rather, it wasn’t until I accidentally dipped my fingers into the garlic butter dish instead of the chive dish…. (I used chives instead of parsley, simply because the chives have emerged in the garden and the parsley has not.)

BBB May 2023

20:12 We were able to do the final baking of the buns in the toaster oven. I can’t believe it. They look perfect!

We each had one of the buns with left-over roast pork, and a tomato and green bean salad.

BBB May 2023

Rats!! I should NOT have added salt to the garlic butter! (I was trying to make up for the fact that we only have unsalted butter.)

Aside from that, I have to admit, this was pretty darn good. I’m not sure I’d go as far to say that it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever had. But it’s zillions and zillions of time better than I thought it would be. (I am really not a fan of overly sweet pastries, particularly if they have savoury fillings.)

But T really likes the buns a lot. He is determined to turn the remaining two buns into two more Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns. (I’m in favour of the idea of one more Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bun, and one plain non-garlic non-cream cheese bun.)

Thank you, Aparna! That turned out to be a very fun adventure.

Here is the May 2023 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Korean-style Cream Cheese Garlic Buns
based on recipes on Kale’s (Poke the Dough), Gayathri’s (Gayathri’s Cook Spot), and Hanelore’s (SugarYum’s) websites

It might be weird imagining sweet garlic bread, but I promise you – it’s delicious. Just let people know what they’re getting into before they bite into it, because they might get tripped out expecting something salty and savory
– Kale, Poke the Dough | Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread

makes 4 buns


  • 2 grams active dry yeast
  • 75 grams water
  • 50 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
  • 15 grams 100% whole wheat “no additives” flour


  • 145 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
  • 5 grams wheat germ
  • 21 grams sugar
  • 25 grams butter, melted
  • 36 grams plain yoghurt
  • all of the above leavener
  • 4 grams sea salt + 10 grams water
  • milk wash

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 100 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 10 grams honey
  • 14 grams milk (2%) + 7 grams melted butter [The BBB recipe calls for cream]

Garlic Butter

  • 75 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 grams plain sugar
  • 20 grams fresh garlic, minced
  • chives [The BBB recipe calls for parsley; we don’t have any in the garden yet]
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 14 grams 2% milk + 7 grams melted butter [The Gayatri’s recipe calls for cream]
  • 9 grams seasalt [The BBB recipe calls for salted butter; this turns out to be WAY too much salt – better to use far less, if any!]
  1. Leavener: On the evening before the day you will be baking the buns, whisk the yeast and water for the leavener in a medium sized bowl. Sift in the all-purpose flour and add the whole wheat flour. Use a wooden spoon to mix well. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with only the light turned on if it’s cool at night (or with the light turned off if it’s warm outside).
  2. Dough: On the morning of the day you will be baking the buns,
    • In a bowl that is large enough for the final dough to triple, sift in all-purpose flour. Whisk in the wheat germ and sugar. Add the yoghurt and melted butter. Use a dough whisk (or wooden spoon) to make a very rough dough, making sure that most of the flour has been hydrated.
    • Check a piece of dough against the inside of your wrist (using the baby bottle temperature test) to ascertain it is cool enough not to kill the yeast. (Yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F (49C).) Use a dough whisk (or wooden spoon) to mix in the wildly bubbling leavener. Do this until it looks relatively uniform. Don’t be overly concerned if there are still a few lumps. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about half an hour.
    • adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into 10 grams of water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
    • Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than weirdly folded, slimy glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
    • Repeat the above step 2 or 3 more times.
  3. Shaping: After the final folding, when the dough has almost doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Use the dough scraper to cut the dough into 4 even pieces.
  4. Wash and dry the bowl.
  5. Shape each piece into a ball and place it seam-side down on a parchment covered baking sheet.
  6. Cover the shaped buns with a clean tea towel to allow them to rise to almost double.
  7. Preheat the oven: Turn the oven to 400F.
  8. Baking: Check to see if the buns are ready to bake, also making sure the oven is thoroughly preheated before proceeding.
    [The finger-dent test for proofing] remains the most foolproof method that I know. To do the test, poke the rising [bread] with a floured finger, making an indentation about 1/2 inch deep. If it springs back immediately, the [bread] needs more proofing time. If the indentation springs back slowly and incompletely, the [bread] is fully proofed and read to bake. If the indentation doesn’t spring back at all, the [bread] may be a little past its prime point for baking but not necessarily overproofed. Don’t panic! Go ahead and bake, knowing the [bread] may collapse a bit
    -Ken Forkish, ‘Methods and Techniques’, Evolutions in Bread, p.51

    • Just before putting the buns in the oven, gently brush them liberally with milk. Put the tray on the middle rack of the oven. Turn it down immediately to 375F and bake for about 25 minutes until the buns are golden brown and sound hollow when knocking on the bottom.
  9. Cooling: Remove the tray to a footed rack to cool completely before proceeding; they are still cooking internally when first removed from the oven!
    Set the bread on a rack and (this is one of the hardest parts of bread baking) keep your hands off that beautiful crusty bread for at least an hour, or until it is completely cool. You will be dying to cut into that gorgeous warm bread, the crust crackling as it cools, but remember that it’s still cooking inside; the crumb is still jelling, and the crust still developing. The crust will soften partway through the cooling time, but it will crisp again as it cools completely.
    – Thomas Keller, ‘Breads: Cooling’, Bouchon Bakery
  10. cream cheese filling: In a medium sized bowl, cream the honey, butter and milk (the BBB recipe calls for cream) into the cream cheese until everything is smooth. Cover with a plate and set aside at room temperature until the buns have cooled completely.
  11. garlic butter: Melt the butter in a small stainless steel pot. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, minced garlic, mayonnaise, and salt. In retrospect, you may want to reduce or eliminate the salt entirely. There is already plenty of salt in the cream cheese…. Cover and set aside until the buns have cooled completely
  12. Preheat the oven: Turn the oven to 325F.
  13. Add the filling and topping:
    • guide for slicing in 6Slice each bun, making sure NOT to cut all the way through to the bottom, into 6 equal parts. Aparna says, Think of the bun opening out into a flower with six “petals/ leaves”.
    • Using a heavy plastic bag with a bottom corner cut off (milk or zip-lock bag works, or of course, if you one, an actual piping bag) spoon the cream cheese mixture in and squeeze the mixture gently in the cavities you have just cut in each bun, taking care not to fill too too deeply so that it will be easy to dip the filled bun into the garlic butter.
    • Notice that the garlic butter has solidified in the still chilly kitchen (after all [cough} it’s only the middle of May). Put the bowl into the toaster oven to gently reheat it until it is liquid. Holding each bun gently but firmly to keep it closed, carefully dip it cut side down into the garlic butter. You don’t want the cream cheese to fall out…. Place the bun right side up on a parchment papered rimmed baking sheet. Don’t be worried about butter dripping down.
    • When all the buns have been dipped in garlic butter, spoon any extra butter over top of each bun. Scatter chives with studied carelessness over top. Pipe the last of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of each bun.
  14. final bake: Bake the buns at 350F for about 15 minutes until there is a little golden tinge on the cream cheese decorations at the top of the buns. If your oven runs hot, reduce the temperature to 325F.

Serve the buns pretty much as soon as they are finished, ie: warm. You want the cream cheese to be slightly custardy.


Sugar/Honey: The BBB recipe called for a considerably larger amount of sugar in the filling. I just couldn’t bring myself to add so much!! I made an executive decision to reduce the amount drastically.

Yoghurt: The BBB recipe calls for milk and egg in the dough. I chose to omit the egg entirely, and use yoghurt instead of milk.

No cream in the house? The BBB recipe calls for cream in the cream cheese filling. The recipe I used for the garlic butter calls for cream as well. We used to have cream all the time when we were drinking French press coffee. But since changing to an espresso machine, we only have milk. Happily, the internet gives good advice on how to substitute.
Because heavy cream is so high in fat, you can often create a substitute with other high-fat ingredients. […] Whole milk has a fat percentage of around 3.5% and is preferable to lower-fat varieties […] For best results, try mixing 2/3 cup of whole milk with 1/3 cup butter. Whisk well to combine before adding to any baking or cooking projects.
– Epicurious | 7 Heavy Cream Substitues to Use in Any Recipe


We WERE going to make more cream cheese mixture and more garlic butter for the remaining two buns to have with tonight’s dinner. We really were. But we found ourselves eating warmed buns this morning with butter, goat cheese, and red currant jelly. There is no photographic evidence. Take my word for it; even without the cream cheese and garlic sauce, they were delicious.

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingKorean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns

Aparna is hosting May 2023’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

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.
Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns are said to have originated in Gangneung city in Gangwon-do Province. The Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bun or Yukjjok (six-leaf) Garlic Bread is the signature bread at the Pain Famille bakery in Gangneung. Gangnam, Seoul’s fashionable district, supposedly made it popular and it can be found on a lot of cafés there.
– Aparna, excerpt of message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns too! To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 May 2023. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ May 2023 Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns:


BBB May 2023

edit 19 May 2023, 17:48 With regards to using panko or making your own bread crumbs:

What sets [Panko] apart from standard breadcrumbs is its texture and the type of bread that’s used. While breadcrumbs can be made using a number of different types of bread, panko is made using white bread. […] The bread is processed into large flakes, rather than crumbs, and then dried.
– Kelli Foster, Kitchn, The Difference Between Panko and Breadcrumbs
Panko bread crumbs have a coarse, airy texture. […] The key is to make large, coarse flakes instead of a fine powder. […] A mild-flavored white bread is a common choice for this reason, but you can use anything on hand. The loaf should be a day or two old, dry enough to crumble apart but not completely stale […] The defining difference between panko and ordinary bread crumbs is panko’s large, flaky texture. There are three ways to achieve this with home implements:
    • Push strips of bread through the shredding disc attachment on a food processor.
    • Cube the bread and pulse in a blender once or twice, or until coarse. This is a less consistent method.
    • Grate by hand using the largest holes on your grater.
– wikiHow do anything… Make Panko Bread Crumbs (c.2017)
If you’re tired of buying tiny boxes of panko breadcrumbs, learn how to bake your own. To get panko’s distinctive crunchy texture, start by using crustless bread. Shred the bread into coarse, flaky pieces and spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the panko breadcrumbs until they dry out and become crisp.
– Jessica Gibson, wikiHow to do anything | How to Make Panko Bread Crumbs (detailed recipe with photos), 29 March 2023


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5 responses to “Cream Cheese Garlic Buns (BBB May 2023)

  1. Karen (Karen's Kitchen Stories)

    Well, you liked them! I’m glad you gave them a chance! I love your greenish blog on top too.

    edit 18 May 2023, 10:09: I must say that I was a little alarmed about how green the garlic butter turned. Happily, it didn’t taste strange. But next time, I would make the garlic butter just before dipping. – Elizabeth

  2. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    So, I used commercial yeast this time as well. And it was perfectly fine. I would like to try a sourdough version, but I really enjoyed these buns. I agree, they are much better than I expected.

    edit 18 May 2023, 10:11: I think a sourdough version would be really good. I bet any bun at all would work, as long as it wasn’t too whole grain. Hey, maybe, even if it was whole grain! – Elizabeth

  3. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    You did it! I did add a spoonful of sourdough to mine, just because I like to, for chewiness. I mince more than I used to, but I still love my garlic press. Now I will have to go look at our panko, which we use so infrequently, it needs to stay in the freezer. I never thought of plain panko as sweet but will compare the nutrition labels to plain. Your toasted crumbs sound wonderful! I did do one plain cream cheese bun without garlic though still with dried parsley and it was very nice. So you get the bagged milk? That is uniquely Canadian is it not? I used a freezer quart ziploc bag with the tip snipped off, my go to piping bag. Your red currant jelly sounds wonderful. It is almost impossible to find any currants, black or red, here, though I very much like black currant flavor! Also, big hugs. ♥

    edit 18 May 2023, 11:59: Thank you, Kelly!
    I did do it!! I can’t believe it. (I really was quite reluctant….) Our toasted crumbs are the best! I love them scattered on top of macaroni and cheese.
    Yes, bagged milk here. We can get it in boxes if we are buying 2 litres or less. But if buying 4 litres at a time, it comes in plastic bags. It’s been that way for quite a long time. The plastic does bother me now and I do wish that we, as a society, were smart enough to revert back to getting milk in recyclable bottles – similar to the way we did when I was a child and a milkman came directly to the house to deliver bottled milk and take away the empty bottles to be sterilized and reused.
    My favourite is black currant too. (It is my dream to try dried currants – real ones, not the tiny raisins that are sold here, even though those are delicious too.) We see actual white, red, and black currants for about 2 seconds or so at the farmers’ market every year. The season is really short and the currants are really really expensive. I’m afraid that we are lazy though, and buy commercially produced red currant jelly.
    – Elizabeth

  4. Kate (Thyme for Cooking)

    Well – one loved them and one liked them… that should be worth the effort.
    I’ve never tasted the renowned Panko – don’t have them here. I have to make do with plain old French bread crumbs…. Sigh…. I think I’d be with T on this one.

    edit 18 May 2023, 12:17: Yes, it’s definitely worth the effort. And it’s definitely superior to plain old Western style garlic bread. If you can take the word of someone who isn’t the biggest fan of either plain old Western or fancy Korean-style, that is. {snort}
    But “plain old French bread crumbs”? Plain??? Those are the best! Panko is overrated. Or perhaps I have never tasted good panko…. It looks pretty. But it’s quite expensive and quite sweet. You could probably achieve a similar result (though not quite as pure white coloured) with crushed corn flakes.
    – Elizabeth

    1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

      Very interesting! Now I might have to do a side by side taste test. Um… Never mind! I compared just the nutrition of Kikkoman panko, which is what we had, to the popular Progresso plain bread crumbs, (we used the Italian style when I was a kid). The Progresso had more than twice the sugars as the Kikkoman, (comparing the same volumetric serving, not weight), plus an ingredient list of 37 as opposed the 5 ingredients in Kikkoman. Yikes! And tons of high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, double yikes!! Well, I will stick with the Kikkoman! Flour, oil, yeast, sugar, salt. I just snitched a little pinch out of the freezer and it tastes very white bread plain. No overt sweetness that I could find. Of course we use it once or twice a year, so in the freezer it will stay this time so I don’t waste it and my money! I don’t have the receipt, hubby picked it up for me, but it listed at $2.39 for an 8 oz box on Amazon from Whole Foods. Even though Progresso is cheaper at $1.64, I will happily pay more for less ingredients and better quality. And less sugar!! Poop on the corn syrup industry and the sugar conglomerates in charge of American food stuffs!

      edit 19 May 2023, 16:56: I like that, Kelly: “pay more for less ingredients and better quality”. This is perfect.
      I can’t remember what kind of panko it was that we bought eons ago, but it seems unlikely that it was Kikkoman (a company name we see at the supermarket and recognize right away), simply because we went to a fancy Japanese food store that had several different brands of Panko. I think we chose what the proprietor suggested. But this report makes me even more determined to just grind up our leftover heels of bread (usually sugar-free, with occasionally a little honey, but never any corn syrup!) in our Magic Bullet and then toast it in the cast iron frying pan in a slow oven.
      – Elizabeth

      second edit 19 May 2023, 18:17: I added a note about panko crumbs at the bottom of the post. There is a link there to a recipe for how to make your own corn-syrup-free panko crumbs. – ejm


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