Saturday, September 3, 2011

막걸리빵: Makkoli Bread

Makkoli is a milky colored Korean rice wine, usually with an alcohol content around 6-8%. It's often drunk in combinations with 파전 (scallion pancake) or in Jeonju with exotic side dishes. It's also great for making bread.

Wait, what? You can make bread with makkoli? How on earth is that possible? Don't bother googling it in English, I tried. There is not one single web page in English that has the exact phrase "makkoli bread" (and I tried other spelling variations as well, nothing comes up). Don't worry, I'll explain.

The first thing you need to do is mix makkoli with flour and make dough. Makkoli is made with a yeast called 누룩 or nuruk. This yeast also makes dough rise. And you get something that looks like this:

After this, all you need to do is bake it until it is golden brown, like this!

As many folks in Korea don't have ovens, it's hard to say how long you have to bake it for. In my toaster oven, I'd put it in for about 15 minutes with only the bottom heat on, and then put the top heat on for the last 5 minutes to keep it from burning.

The other dilemma I found with baking this was that I didn't have a proper bread pan (and if I had, it wouldn't have fit in my toaster oven). I found that a 뚝배기 (clay pot for soup) was perfect. Make sure it's well greased though! And then you can enjoy it with butter, cheese or whatever you like! Fortunately, the FTA with the EU has made better cheese much more affordable for us!

How does it taste? Kind of like sourdough a little bit. But verrrrry yummy!!!

(I don't do exact measurements, sorry)
밀가루 Flour (as much as you want)
생 막걸리 Fresh makkoli (must be refrigerated with a short expiration date. It must have live yeast or this will not work. Look for the "생" or "生"mark on it. If the expiration date is longer than 2 weeks from the bottling date, don't use it.)

Slowly pour makkoli into the flour and mix. Once you have a thick dough like substance, knead for a few minutes. If you added too much makkoli, add some extra flour to balance the mixture. Let rise for 6-12 hours. Grease your cookware of choice. I use a 뚝배기, but be creative. Bake until golden brown on top. I do about 15 minutes in my toaster oven on bottom heat and 5 more minutes on top and bottom heat combined to prevent burning. Sorry, I don't have a good temperature to tell you for your oven, but I'm sure it would be similar to baking any other bread, so I suggest looking at temperatures on other bread recipes for reference. My toaster oven doesn't have any temperature setting! When finished, remove from oven and garnish however you like! And please write about it and link to it here!!


This was our first "dough". Clearly too much makkoli here (we didn't realize this at the time), but we still made some edible creations with this.

We used it to try to make some flat bread. This would have worked better if I had remembered to grease the tinfoil before cooking. But, once all the tinfoil was peeled off, it didn't taste so bad! 

Here is the first loaf I made with the thin dough. Tasted fine, but see those little dots on the top, those are from bubbles from the makkoli. Way too much makkoli used here. If this happens with your makkoli bread, just add more flour before you bake!

I hope my cooking fans in Korea get to try this "recipe". And feel free to get creative! I'm sure the good cooks out there will be able to do much more than I with this recipe. And for those who want to attempt this outside of Korea. Any makkoli imported from Korea will probably not be fresh "생" makkoli. If it is homemade or made locally, find out if it contains live cultures before wasting your precious makkoli on bread that won't rise!

Other sources of info (sorry there's nothing in English out there!): This author uses salt, sugar and eggs to make it. I'm sure it woudn't hurt, but I thought mine was tasty without. - This person fried thiers. Looks a little dry, but not far off from something else we tried with the watery dough... I'm sure it tastes good! - This one, if I'm reading correctly looks steamed, but also very yummy!


  1. Not surprising you can make bread with makkoli since you can easily make beer bread.

  2. Beer bread?? Really? Wow... I want to try that next!!

  3. Looking at your first attempt, I think I'm going to try that as a makkoli pancake.

    Beer-batter pancakes are yummy too! (but flat beer is better)

  4. Sounds interesting Joe, let us know how it went!