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Crunchy Balloon Bread

I’m so excited to introduce today’s recipe to you! It’s gonggal-ppang, a cookie-like bread that’s puffed up like a crunchy, crusty, hollow balloon, with a coating of melted sweet syrup inside.
This balloon bread was created by Chinese immigrants in Korea. I was told that the bread was originally called “air-bread” among Chinese but when it came to Korea, it was named as gonggal-ppang. Gong-gal (pronounced gong-gahl) means “fake” or “lie” in Korean. So whoever named the bread must have been a little frustrated to find out this big piece of bread was actually hollow inside! Or maybe he or she was just giving it a funny name.


Makes 4
For dough:
·     ⅓ cup water
·     1 teaspoon sugar
·     1 teaspoon dry yeast
·     1 pinch of salt
·     2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
·     1 cup of all purpose flour
·     1 teaspoon black sesame seeds (optional)
·     1 to 2 tablespoons flour for dusting
For filling:
·     3 tablespoons brown sugar
·     1 teaspoon sesame seeds
·     1 teaspoon cinnamon powder


Prepare the dough and filling
1.   Make the filling by mixing the sugar, sesame seeds, and cinnamon powder in a bowl. Set aside.
2.   Start the dough by combining water, sugar, dry yeast, salt, and vegetable oil in a bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
3.   Add the flour and mix it well with the wooden spoon.
4.   Knead the dough by hand for about 2 minutes, until it’s smooth. Let it sit for an hour, covered.
5.   Uncover the dough and knead it another minute until it’s very smooth and soft.
6.   Divide the dough into 4 equal size balls. Roll each into a nice smooth ball on the cutting board.
7.   Cover the 4 balls with plastic wrap to prevent them from getting dried out while you work.
Make the bread
1.   Put a non-stick baking pan into the oven and preheat the broiler.
2.   Sprinkle some flour on the cutting board. Take one ball and roll it out with a rolling pin into a 4 inch disk. Add ¼ of the filling in the center.
3.   Lift up the right and left edges of the disc, bring them together, and pinch and seal them together. Then bring the top and bottom edges together too, to make a kind of dumpling.
4.   Gently flatten and roll the disc out with your rolling pin, little by little, so as not to break it. Sprinkle some flour as needed so the dough, cutting board, and rolling pin don’t stick together.
5.   Turn it over and roll it out carefully into a 5½ to 6 inch disk.
6.   Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.
Bake the bread
1.   Your oven and the pan inside will be very hot. Change the oven setting from broil to bake. Put each bread disk on the heated pan in the oven.
2.   Set the oven temperature to 350° F and bake it for 15 minutes.
3.   Check out the color and crunchiness of the bread. If you want it darker and crispier, broil them for 1 minute more.
Let them cool down a bit and serve and eat. You can also freeze them up to 1 month


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