Crunchy balloon bread

Gonggal-ppang 공갈빵

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.

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When I was young, I would always see gonggal-ppang displayed in the windows of Chinese Korean restaurants. It’s big and eye catching, so it was used by many restaurant owners to attract customers to come in. I tasted it only a few times, but the puffy, crunchy cookie with melted sugar syrup inside made a strong impression on me and I’ve been dreaming of it for years.

Gonggal-ppang made in Chinese bakeries are wood-fired in a circular oven, where the bread sticks to the walls of the oven. It kind of looks like how Indian naan bread is made. Since I started writing and filming Korean recipes, I’ve wanted to show how to make gonggal-ppang, but it took a few years off and on of trial and error to come up with this recipe that can be made in a conventional home oven.

It took many tries for me to develop a technique where the filling stays in the middle of the bread, and the bread stays evenly flat before baking. I tried making the bread in my hands, but I could never get it big or even enough, and it always ended up with the sugar filling off-center. When I baked them, they never expanded enough. I ate a lot of failed gonggal-ppang over the years!

Then I figured out this simple method of doing everything on my cutting board with a rolling pin. It’s been the best way to get the bread evenly thin and flat without breaking a hole in it. By the way, my most recent failure was that I forgot to switch the oven from broil to bake! : ) I was supposed to bake for 15 minutes but the bread was totally burnt in 5!

All you have to do is follow my directions closely and I’m sure some of you will be able to make better gonggal-ppang than me!

Let’s make delicious gonggal-ppang!balloon-bread (gonggalppang: 공갈빵)

Ingredients

Makes 4
For dough:

  • 1/3 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

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For filling:

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Directions

Prepare the dough and filling

  1. Make the filling by mixing the sugar, sesame seeds, and cinnamon powder in a bowl. Set aside.balloon-bread-filling
  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.balloon-bread-mixing
  4. Knead the dough by hand for about 2 minutes, until it’s smooth. Let it sit for an hour, covered.balloon-bread-doughmixture
  5. Uncover the dough and knead it another minute until it’s very smooth and soft.balloon-bread-dough-rising
  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.balloon-bread-dough-divide

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.balloon-bread-shape
  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.balloon-bread-shaping
  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.gonggalppang-balloon-bread-roll-out
  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.gonggalppang-balloon-bread-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.
  4. Let them cool down a bit and serve and eat. You can also freeze them up to 1 month.gonggalppang-recipethumb

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23 Comments:

  1. thung Malaysia joined 11/11
    Posted January 22nd, 2017 at 4:14 am | # |

    Thanks maangchi for the recipe! My family enjoyed them!


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  2. myr indonesia joined 1/17
    Posted January 13th, 2017 at 3:35 am | # |

    Just find this recipe last night and try making it just now. Need to add extra flour since I can’t knead it but still it turns out good. thanks for the recipe :)


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 19th, 2017 at 10:26 am | # |

      Great looking gong-gal-ppang!

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  3. jiyoung TX joined 12/16
    Posted December 28th, 2016 at 1:00 pm | # |

    안녕하세요! 정말 잘 보고 있어요
    그런데 전 할 때마다 자꾸 밑 부분이 갈라져요
    한 다섯번 실패 했는데 ㅜ 오기가 생겨서 성공할 때 까지 만들거예요 ㅠ 이유가 뭘까요?

    Hi.
    I really love your video!
    I tried to make a gonggalbbang several times, but cracks are always formed at the bottom of it.
    Syrup oozed from that cracks and balloon doesn’t inflated.
    i don’t know why it happend!!
    I gonna try it until I make it!

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    • Csf96815 Honolulu joined 1/17
      Posted January 2nd, 2017 at 9:49 pm | # |

      I made gongal bread today with my granddaughter. It was a success! Definitely a keeper. Thank you masngchi.
      Carol

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 19th, 2017 at 10:26 am | # |

      반죽을 좀 오래 치대보세요 아주 부드럽고 매끈거릴때까지.
      Why don’t you knead the dough longer until smoother?

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  4. EnnisCruzG Florida joined 12/16
    Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 2:30 pm | # |

    I’m so excited at how great these turned out! I made them today for my parents, grandma, and sister and everyone wanted more!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 25th, 2016 at 2:28 am | # |

      Yes, I’m excited to see your gonggalppang, too! : ) All look gorgeous!

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  5. dharms10 California joined 12/16
    Posted December 16th, 2016 at 1:51 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Made Gonggal-ppang 공갈빵 for the first time tonight and it was excellent! These crunchy balloons were delectable and tasted amazing! Here’s a picture of one before I devoured them all hehe :)


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  6. katperng Davis joined 2/16
    Posted December 15th, 2016 at 3:32 am | # |

    Mini Gonggal-ppang! The first batch I made I thought they were too big so I made mini ones! I watched them pop up in the oven and they were so cute! Thank you for the awesome recipe!


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  7. Yifong Singapore joined 12/16
    Posted December 12th, 2016 at 10:44 pm | # |

    My first attempt! 2 managed to rise but leaked a little. The other two didn’t leak but didn’t rise much. The difference was that the ones that rise was rolled to be much bigger and thinner, so it really makes a difference. My kids and family love this. I will add more sugar next time, prefer it sweeter :)


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 14th, 2016 at 10:53 am | # |

      Looks awesome! That’s right. Thinner one (5 1/2 -6 inch) will rise like a balloon! As I said in the video, this bread is still delicious even though it’s a little leaked as long as it’s baked well.

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  8. bootsandcats Canada joined 12/16
    Posted December 10th, 2016 at 7:17 pm | # |

    I HAD to make an account so I could post a photo of my successful attempt at these delicious Gonggal-ppang!! Thank you Maangchi for this wonderful recipe! These were lots of fun to make. Crunchy balloons for sure. :3

    My husband and I love watching your videos and trying your recipes. Today I also made chapssaltteok and wrapped around peanut butter, oat, seed balls. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 11th, 2016 at 4:17 pm | # |

      Wow, you made this for the first time but they look perfect! Crunchy balloons! Yum! : )

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  9. Eunbi61 Turkey joined 12/16
    Posted December 9th, 2016 at 12:01 pm | # |

    Mine is good!! Bur not shape…


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  10. sunmee85 Maryland joined 12/16
    Posted December 6th, 2016 at 3:53 pm | # |

    Mine did not rise as much as yours did, but three of them “leaked” a little. Still a very tasty snack though!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 6th, 2016 at 4:05 pm | # |

      Thank you for sharing the photo with us! Yes, I know it’s still tasty.
      But I can tell you why it didn’t rise like a balloon. First you didn’t roll it out to 5 1/2 inch circle which means it has to be very thin. The bottom part doesn’t look crunchy. The oven and the pan should be really hot when you put the gonggal-ppang dough into the oven. Otherwise, it looks gorgeous. You can name it beret bread. : )

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  11. Faust02 France joined 12/16
    Posted December 6th, 2016 at 1:08 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Can I put something else than cinnamon powder ?

    Thank you !

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  12. beckaivans joined 10/15
    Posted December 6th, 2016 at 11:13 am | # |

    I used to not have an oven, so I bought a high quality toaster oven, and I could bake just about anything in small batches. If you have one or can get one, try that! Many now have bake and broil settings. Just keep a lot of space around it and keep an eye on it so you don’t start a fire.

    I have a full oven now, but I still use my toaster oven when I’m baking something small and don’t want to heat up the whole house. Works great!

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  13. Estie Singapore joined 12/16
    Posted December 6th, 2016 at 7:36 am | # |

    Maangchi, what other alternatives are there if we do not have an oven? :)
    Thank you for your reply. This looks really nice!

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