The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Annyang Hasaeyo from South Korea

KristinP's picture

Annyang Hasaeyo from South Korea

I've been around the forums a little bit but don't think I've formally introduced myself yet.  I'm an English teacher in Daegu, South Korea, originally from Seattle Washington.  Korea has a humongous void where bread should be.  Most of their baked goods are overly sweet and steamed.  One of the things I miss most is crusty, rustic, SIMPLE bread.  After 16 months here, necessity has called and I'm attempting to make my own bread out of brute force.  I've acquired a fair amount of kitchen equipment, all things considered and I can also find my way around the grocery stores and markets with relative efficiency.  It's been pretty successful, but the hardest part of baking in Korea is finding ingredients.  All the basics are readily available - flour, baking powder, yeast, etc, but I'm having a hard time finding things like high-gluten flour, cornmeal, many spices, semolina, rye flour, or other "special" flours. Today I actually found powdered wheat gluten available in small amounts that I added to some bagels I'm making.  It's expensive and in very small amounts though.  The other major limiting factor is my oven.  It's a counter-top, convection oven, which works reasonable well but it's really small (about the size of a microwave) and only goes up to 440F. So far I've been able to make ciabatta, foccacia, english muffins, banana bread and cinnamon rolls with great success.  I have some bagels retarding right now that I'll boil in a day or so.

Are there any other expats in South Korea out there?  Do you have any insider hook-ups or have you figured out how to find baking ingredients?  I also brew beer and was lucky enough to almost literally stumble upon a Korean homebrew supply store!  However, I haven't been able to find the equivalent for baking supplies.

Also, one other question.  I have acquired a precious amount of cardamom!  What are your favorite cardamom recipes?  I want only the best, this is like gold to me!



RobynNZ's picture

Hi Kristin

I'm sure Mini Oven will be along shortly, in the meantime try typing Korea into the search box.

Sounds like you are doing very well with your oven, this recent thread from Sally will provide some more encouragement:


fenchel2c's picture


You may not have breads but you have Dunkin' Donuts.  We don't have them on the west coast.  Enjoy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Welcome to TFL!   I spent a little time SW of Seoul, purchased a Magic steam oven there and have whipped out a few loaves in the past 3 years.   Lucky you to find a homebrew supply!   They can more than likely get you some whole grains for baking.  Let the store management of your local Lotte or X-mart know you want whole wheat flour, and unbleached bread flours.   They now can offer baking parchment paper.   Also, check the expat sites for delivery services to see if they are affordable or available in your area.   Many times they know where the ingredients can quickly be found.

Bangsan Market near Dongdaemun in Seoul is where I found some hard to find ingredients.  There must be a place in Daegu or Busan as well.  I found some hard to get spices in the South Asian sector of Ansan.  The only place I could get cinnamon, corriander, & star anis.  Ask your expats from the Philippines where one "area" might be located near you.  Cloves is one spice we could not find.   You might get started with a sourdough and you can certainly turn out some pretzels using soda.

I found out if I put the black baking pan that came with my oven directly on the bottom of the oven, inverted, it improved the heat a lot under the loaves.  I bought a few trivets in the market to raise my loaves up off that baking pan and aluminum foil to cover the loaves until I was ready for them to brown. 

Well time for you to get up and me to go to bed.  Have a good day!



KristinP's picture

Thanks for the insight!  Do you happen to know what the words for whole wheat or some of the whole grains are in Korean?  I live right by a Costco, so I've been buying the 20kg bags of bread flour from there.  But I would love some flax seed or wheat berry. 


I actually managed to find the middle eastern shops in Daegu and found star anise, cinnamon and cloves even!  Were you ever able to find saffron?


Thanks for the tip on putting the black pan at the bottom.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of brown and black rice which can also be used like whole wheat berries, a hot soaker first and you're in business!  No I don't know the name for whole wheat but can you ask other teachers at work?  I have seen it.  So it must be there.  Are you interested in baking with Makale or the rice beer?  Might also be interesting.  Some of their grain/legume mixes for adding to rice can also be used.   Pearl barley, roasted sesame seeds (a few teaspoons inside the dough is wonderful!) and then there are the stands in the supermarket that sell powdered vegetables and grains, I never got them to make me the mixture I wanted but looks like it might be worth a try to 'fibernate' the bread.  Stay away from the packaged rough looking barley mixtures, it contains grains with ergot and rope (nasty fungi you don't want near your kitchen, and as a precaution, don't pick up the bag buy any flour that is near the stuff on the supermarket shelf.  It's not worth it.)

I never found saffron.  I did use lots of orange and lemon peels (and garlic) to flavor stuff like the beautiful squashes available.  Baking Chocolate/cocao was also tricky to locate.  I ended up buying drink cocoa and subtracting sugar from recipes.  It's one thing I take back and forth along with caraway, fennel, bread spices, flax, rye flour, vanilla sugar/beans, baking pwd, and pumpkin oil/seeds and a kilo or two of spelt flour.  I did see normal shelled seeds lately and a mixture of seeds with the green pumpkin seeds that would be worth trying.  The dried seasoning packages (for rise dishes) with mushrooms, vegetables and herbs also temp me to layer them inside a soft dough or throw into pizza sauce.

If you look up Norm's hard roll recipe it is very handy and versatile recipe.  I would aim to come out with a dough about 800g and divide it into two pans of 4 to bake.  I like to drop cardamom into my coffee.  It is great in sweet doughs like brioche and the like.  Run a search for it here.  There are about three excellent recipes that I know are hidden in the archives.  A good strong piece of cardboard has been a handy friend to me and my mini oven as a peel.  I would have sheets of parchment all over the kitchen table and an inverted baking sheet hot in the oven.  Then slide them in and out onto the hot pan with the bakes.  I ended up buying one of those wire shelves on wheels, the one with the wider bottom three shelves and a board.  Parked my oven on the board and used the 4th narrow top shelf as a cooling rack.  How long are you planning to stay in Korea?

mini_maggie's picture

I know this is an old thread but I was doing a search on black rice because a friend just gave me a huge bag of it, and I thought in addition to cooked rice there had to be a way I could incorporate it into some bread.  Mini Oven, I'm glad to see you say you can use it like wheat berries.  How long a hot soak would you suggest?  Essentially fully cooked, or just softened? 

I've already perused previous posts on it, but anyone else have any suggestions on baking with black rice?  I've found some nice coconut rice pudding recipes I will try, but open to any and all baking options, bread or otherwise.   The type I have is Chinese black, not the more glutinous Thai sticky black rice.

Someone let me know if it's preferable to start a new thread than to hijack an old inactive one.  Thought I'd post here so hopefully at least Mini Oven will see my question.  


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

by volume (funny how that is) and cook it first in a rice cooker, just like regular rice always wash it first.  Check on it after 20min to see what it's doing if the aroma changes, a little brown on the bottom is not at all bad, lots of caramel flavour!  But don't burn it.  

Once it cools down, add to your liquid bread recipe ingredients or use your liquids or ice cubes (weigh them) to cool it down but make sure your sourdough and/or yeast don't go in the hot rice if you can't keep your hand submerged in it.  Uncooked rice tends to stay hard, compete for dough moisture and make nasty lumps on the surface.  

Cooked rice can also bake hard on the crust so try to poke them inside or under before final proof.  Treat them like nuts, the cooked rice shouldn't interfere with the dough hydration if all the cooking water is absorbed.  Wet or overcooked rice on the other hand might make a big difference, keep that in mind when adding the liquids to the recipe.  Might want to hold back a little bit and add later after most of the mixing is done.  Don't forget to weigh the rice when it is dry in the very beginning and figure for salt.  Figure 1.6 to 2% of the rice weight and put it into the boiling water.  During boiling is also a good time to add any spices you might want in the loaf or any sifted out bran from whole wheat flour or green tea bags.  

Have fun!

mini_maggie's picture

Great tips, thank you!   Spicing the rice during the precook is a great idea too. 

dabrownman's picture

time in hanseata's wild rice bread but really like Japanese black rice.  Never thought about using it in bread - but will soon enough if the sun keeps shining in AZ anyway:-)   Thanks for the reminder Mini. 

hanseata's picture

Those were the very same reasons why I started baking my own bread in Maine!

I hope you will find ways to get your necessary ingredients - and there are many breads that you can bake at lower temperatures.

Mini, as always you are a well of wisdom, I really admire your survival skills in those breadless deserts!

Happy baking,