Cheesy Kimchi Rolls

published Mar 6, 2021
summer
Cheesy Kimchi Rolls

A sesame-scented dough is slathered with kimchi compound butter to create the ultimate savory breakfast roll.

Makes15 rolls

Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 35 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

When I was growing up, we always had a jar of kimchi in our fridge. I would stand in front of the fridge and sneak forkfuls of the tangy, spicy, crunchy, fermented cabbage when my mom wasn’t looking.

Flash forward to today and the love affair is still going strong. I’ll take any excuse to use kimchi in my cooking, or to order it when eating out. One particularly memorable kimchi-eating experience was when I first tasted cheesy kimchi doria, a baked rice casserole dish, on a flight from Seoul to New York City. Airline food can be notoriously underwhelming, but this dish was a pleasant surprise: The addition of cheese perfectly balanced the tanginess and spice of the kimchi. In an effort to re-create the flavor combination at home, I borrowed the concept for savory kimchi rolls.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

These rolls are my solution to wanting to enjoy a freshly-baked breakfast bun without all the sugar (I’m not a person who can eat sweets first thing in the morning). To make the filling, you’ll start by roughly chopping the kimchi (either homemade or store-bought) and lightly cooking out some of the moisture. This step keeps the rolls from getting soggy. Then, you’ll combine the kimchi, scallion whites, and minced garlic with softened butter to create a kimchi compound butter. Spread it onto the rolled-out dough, add a layer of sharp cheddar cheese, then roll it up and slice into rolls. Brush with butter and top with sesame seeds, let them rise, and then bake until golden.

Kitchn Food Editor-at-Large, Christine Gallary, likened these rolls to “garlic knots that had a love child with kimchi and scallion pancakes,” and that’s the perfect way to describe them. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Cheesy Kimchi Rolls

A sesame-scented dough is slathered with kimchi compound butter to create the ultimate savory breakfast roll.

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes

Makes 15 rolls

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 4 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet

    active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    warm water

  • 1/4 cup

    toasted sesame oil

  • 2

    large eggs

  • Cooking spray

For the filling:

  • 10 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 cups

    cabbage kimchi (from one 16-ounce jar)

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 3

    medium scallions

  • 6 ounces

    extra-sharp cheddar cheese, preferably white

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoons

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    white sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Place 8 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature to soften while you make the dough.

Make the dough:

  1. Place 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 packet active dry yeast, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment and whisk to combine. (Alternatively, place in a large bowl if kneading by hand.)

  2. Place 1 cup warm water (about 125ºF),1/4 cup toasted sesame oil, and 2 large eggs in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Turn the mixer speed on to low and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Once all the egg mixture is incorporated, Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth, soft, and forms a ball, 7 to 8 minutes. After 5 minutes, if the dough is sticking to the edges of the bowl, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. (If mixing by hand, stir until a shaggy dough forms, then knead on a work surface until a finger pressed into the dough springs back, about 7 minutes.)

  3. Gently remove the dough from the bowl and coat the bowl in cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl. Tightly cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, make the filling when the butter in the bowl is softened.

Make the filling:

  1. Prepare the following: Drain 2 cups cabbage kimchi in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing out any excess liquid with a rubber spatula. Place the kimchi in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses. (Alternatively, chop the kimchi by hand.) Return the kimchi to the strainer and press out any excess liquid.

  2. Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the kimchi and cook until some liquid has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer back to the strainer to drain and cool.

  3. Mince 4 garlic cloves and add to the bowl with butter. Thinly slice 3 medium scallions. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the greens for garnish, then add the remaining scallions to the bowl with butter. Add the cooled kimchi, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine.

  4. Grate 6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 1/2 cups). Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Fill and assemble the rolls:

  1. When the dough is ready, punch it down and transfer onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a 24x10-inch rectangle (about 1/3-inch thick), with a longer side closer to you.

  2. Evenly spread the kimchi filling onto the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the cheese. Starting at the bottom, roll the dough up tightly into a log, using a bench scraper as needed to help release the dough from the work surface. Pinch the seam together at the top.

  3. Position the log seam-side down. Trim 1 inch off each end of the log and discard. Cut the log crosswise into 15 pieces. Arrange the rolls cut-side up in the baking dish, 5 across and 3 down.

  4. Loosely cover in plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan.

  5. Uncover and brush the butter onto the rolls. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds. Bake until puffed, golden-brown, and a toothpick or skewer inserted in several spots comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover rolls can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.