Hello everybody, let’s twist with kkwabaegi! Cooking is fun fun fun!
Today I’m going to introduce you to one of my favorite after-school treats when I was a kid, something you can still find in many Korean bakeries and being sold on Korean streets today. It’s called kkwabaegi (꽈배기), or twisted dougnuts.
I’m very happy to see that the bread rolls (roll-ppang 롤빵) on my website were such a big hit for many of you. I learned this kkwabaegi recipe from the same friend who taught me roll-ppang! The dough is similar, but kkwabaegi are firmer.
You can buy kkwabaegi, but when you make them at home you can make sure the oil is fresh, and make them with care so they taste better and are cleaner and cheaper than what you can get on the street or a bakery. They are a nice treat once in a while when you or your children want some sweet stuff.
They are best right after making them, spongy on the inside when you tear them open with the steam pouring out. Tasty and fluffy!
The key to making beautiful kkwabaegi is to make sure that when you roll them, the center is just a bit thinner than the edges. That way, when you twist them, the end is nice and tight and not lumpy.
When I make these, I make a lot at once. That way I have hot fresh kkwabaegi to share right away, and then I keep the rest in the freezer to eat later. If I want one as a snack or dessert later, I take it out and let it thaw out at room temperature for a bit before eating it.
They go great with milk, and if you want to make yours sweeter than I make mine, add a little more sugar in the dough.
Try these out, and let me know how it goes!
- 3 cups all purpose flour for doughnuts, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 packet of dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons: 7 grams)
- 5 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- corn oil for frying
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
Make the coating
- Add 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon powder to a brown paper bag. Shake to mix well. Set aside.
Make the dough
- Fully melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add milk, the rest of 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Mix well until everything is well dissolved. Crack an egg into the saucepan and mix well. Add the yeast and stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Add 3 cups flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. When everything is well mixed, use your hand to knead the dough for a few minutes, and shape it into a big lump. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, usually about 1 hour to 1½ hours.
- Deflate the gas with your hand and knead the dough for a few minutes until it’s soft and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap again and let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour until it doubles in size again.
Roll out the doughnuts
- Uncover the dough and knead it for a few minutes. Put 2 tablespoons of flour on the corner of your cutting board to use for dusting. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.
- Take a piece of dough and roll it out on your cutting board so it forms a rope 10 inches long and ½ inch in diameter. If it’s sticky, sprinkle some flour on the area you’re working in. When you roll out the dough, move one hand upward and the other downward so that the rope is twisted in between your hands as you roll it.
- Take the dough off the board, hold it aloft, and bring the ends together. The tension in the dough will twist it as it hangs. You can add as much tension as you like, but I think the best looking kkwabaegi has 3- 4 twists in it.
- Place the twisted dough on a floured cutting board or tray. Repeat with the rest of the pieces of dough.
- Let the doughnuts expand for about 30 minutes. 15 minutes in, gently flip each doughnut over with your hands so the bottoms don’t get flat and all sides expand nice and round.
Fry the doughnuts
- Heat up 4 inches of oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat, until the temperature reaches 350° F. Lower the heat to medium heat, then gently set each doughnut into the hot oil by hand. Be careful not to get your hands too close to the oil. Add as many pieces to the oil as your skillet will allow, enough so the doughnuts can sit in the oil without pushing against each other.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, occasionally gently flipping them over with tongs, until they get crunchy outside and are evenly golden brown.
- Strain the cooked doughnuts. Put them in the brown paper bag with the sugar cinnamon mixture. Shake a few times until they are evenly coated. This is best done when the doughnuts are still warm. Repeat this with all the doughnuts until they are all cooked and coated.
- Serve hot.
- You can freeze any leftovers for up to a month. To rejuvenate them, take them out of the freezer and thaw at room temperature for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.