Sold in the streets of South Korea, the Korean Egg Bread, aka Gyeranppang 계란빵, is wonderful in its simplicity.
This Korean Egg Bread recipe is always a big hit at home whenever I make it. There would times when the family would ask me to make it several days straight with varying add-ons, because a batch literally and figuratively is not enough. Since this recipe makes 9 Korean egg breads, the six of us would eat 1 each for breakfast. There would only be 3 left for afternoon snack, and we would end up sharing the last 3 pieces by slicing them in half lol.
Egg Bread is one of the things I never forget to buy whenever I’m in Korea, and if you ask me why I like it so much, I can’t come up with a proper answer. I suspect it might have something to do with my experience the very first time I tried it. I remember it was during a very cold evening in Seoul. I was in Myeongdong at the time, shopping for cosmetics, and I saw a food cart hawking these adorably shaped breads. Steam rose from the cart invitingly, and I gave in to the desire to have something warm to hold and to eat.
Biting into that piping hot piece of Egg Bread felt like getting a warm hug during a cold winter night. It burned my tongue a little, but it was so oddly satisfying and hearty. It felt like EXACTLY what I needed. To be frank, the Korean egg bread is not some sort of special gastronomic masterpiece, but maybe the charm of it is in its no-frills simplicity.
It’s literally an oblong-shaped muffin with a whole egg on top. Occasionally, you get sunflower seeds and grains sprinkled on top too, depending on the seller, but mostly it’s just egg and lightly sweet quick-bread. But ever since that first time, I never miss a chance to have this when I’m in Korea. I like eggs to begin with, but something about the Korean Egg Bread ALWAYS hits the spot even if they’re the most bare bones of versions. And now that I’m making them at home, I’m taking the chance to add toppings to my heart’s content.
I’ve made a version of Korean Egg Bread before but I think this recipe is 10x better. I actually deleted that old one because this is the only recipe I want to keep! The bread base reminds me a little of corn muffins in flavor, but a little less sweet and minus the corn (although you can actually add them in as a modification). It’s tender and is a perfect mild-flavored companion to the eggs and the toppings.
Eating Egg Bread in Korea, I’ve so far encountered sweetened sunflower seeds and cheese as topping, but anything that goes well with eggs will work here. Personally, I prefer savory toppings– stuff like smoked paprika, cayenne, chili flakes, black pepper, Everything Bagel seasoning, chives, salty hard cheese… The list goes on and on! Heck, why not make all 9 Egg Breads different flavors?
- WHAT PAN SHOULD I USE FOR THIS RECIPE? As you can see, the pan I used for this recipe has rectangular-shaped cavities. It was the closest I could find to the original shape of the Korean Egg Bread, and I’m happy with it because it makes the bread look super pretty. I bought it a while back so I don’t remember where exactly, but I reckon it was from Landmark. Buying a similar pan is unnecessary however, because the capacity of the cups of that pan (about 1/2 cup) is equivalent to that of a large muffin tin. I have used my large muffin tin for this
- ANY SPECIAL CARE FOR THE BATTER? This batter should not be overmixed once the flour is added to maintain a tender crumb. When you start with the eggs and sugar, make sure to mix them very thoroughly, but once the flour is in, mix just until the final streak of flour disappears. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as you mix so you get everything combined with minimal strokes. Overmixing this batter will result in a dense bread base.
- WHAT TOPPINGS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? The sky is the limit for this one! You can add diced sausage, ham, bacon, melty cheeses (I recommend salty ones rather than mild-flavored ones), fresh herbs, chives or green onions… Or you can just sprinkle on some salt and pepper, smoked paprika or cayenne or chili flakes. Now that I think about it, you can even top it with furikake or shredded nori after baking. Whatever you like to eat with your eggs will work. You can also serve this with chili sauce, or sweet chili sauce, or tomato ketchup and mustard.
- CAN I COOK THE EGGS ALL THE WAY/HALFWAY THROUGH? If you prefer eggs that are cooked through entirely, leave the Korea Egg Breads inside the oven for a longer period of time after you turn it off. On the flip-side, if you prefer super runny yolks, take the breads out after the 15 minute baking time. As the bread cools, the egg will continue to cook due to the residual heat, so you might need to do trial and error with the baking and cooling times to get the egg just the way you like it. I enjoy this in a “best of both worlds” style, where the part of the egg inside the bread is cooked through, but the top portion is still slightly runny and creamy. I actually think the shining yellow orb of yolk it makes my Korean Egg Bread look prettier than the ones sold on the streets of Korea loooool. It’s because I don’t let the eggs cook all the way through!
Korean Egg Bread (Gyeranppang 계란빵)
For the batter
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup 68 grams sugar
- ½ cup 113 grams butter, melted and cooled*
- ¾ cup 96 grams all purpose flour
- ¼ cup 60 mL milk
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the toppings
- 9 medium or large eggs
- Cheese, shredded or cubed (according to preference)
- Ham or bacon, sliced or cubed (according to preference)
- Coriander, or spring onions, or chives
- Black pepper, cayenne pepper, or other seasonings of choice
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter or spray with cooking spray 9 cavities of a large muffin pan.
- In a mixing bowl, make the batter by whisking together eggs and sugar until sugar is dissolved and batter looks light in color. Add in rest of the batter ingredients and mix just until last bit of flour disappears into the batter. It might be slightly lumpy, and that's okay. DO NOT OVERMIX.
- Use a scant 1/4 cup measure to divide the batter among the 9 cavities of the prepared pan. You want to fill them halfway through only. Crack one egg into a bowl, keeping the yolks whole and undamaged, then gently slide the egg out of the bowl and into a muffin cavity, on top of the batter. (It's best not to crack the egg directly into the muffin cups because the impact might part the batter to the sides too much. This also avoids the risk of cracking a rotten egg into the muffin pan.) Repeat with the rest.
- Top the egg with whatever toppings you decide to use. I typically use cheese, spring onions, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then switch off the oven and leave the breads inside the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more to finish cooking the eggs. If you like the eggs soft and runny, then take the breads out at any point before the extra time is up. If you like them entirely cooked through, then leave them in the even for an extended period of time until you are satisfied. Korean Egg Bread is best served hot.
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