Guys, remember when I was going to get really good at baking bread? Well… that didn’t happen, as made evident by the paltry number of recipes in the Bread & Loaves section of my Recipe Index.
For a long time, my excuse was that I was looking for that one good bread-baking cookbook. So when I finally settled on James Beard-recommended The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, I told myself that I would immediately begin baking bread once I received it in the mail.
But then I started reading the book. And it was daunting. Reinhart takes about 100 pages to discuss each of the 12 steps in the bread baking process. And when I finally got to the recipes section (or “formulas”), I didn’t even recognize three-quarters of the types of bread he was listing recipes for. So I got stressed out, slammed the book shut and deliberately ignored it when I was brainstorming recipes for my blog.
So when I was flipping through momofuku milk bar’s cookbook, a recipe for bread dough caught my eye. momofuku milk bar is a dessert bakery, known for delectables like cereal milk and crack pie — what were they doing in the savory breads business? Then I read this:
The cakes, cookies, or pies may have lured you into this book, but you are about to meet your favorite recipe. This bread dough is always tasty, very forgiving, and can be fashioned into nearly any style or variety of bready item. It takes a very “don’t take yourself so seriously!” approach to bread baking and is the easiest, most versatile recipe in the book — your resulting bagel bombs, volcanoes, brioche, focaccia, and croissants will be proof of that.
Now this sounded more up my alley. But how did claim actually hold up? Would this allegedly easy recipe for all-purpose wonder dough actually produce legitimate bread?
Apparently so:



Not bad, right?
So what are bagel bombs? From my understanding, they are essentially bread rolls with flavored cream cheese baked inside. Essentially a bagel, minus the hassle of toasting and spreading with cream cheese. These buns are best when fresh out the oven, so that the bread is all toasty and warm the cream cheese is all melty and delicious.
As for the recipe itself, Christina Tosi (head pastry chef of momofuku milk bar) is right. It takes away all the complications of bread baking and produces a solid, delicious bread that’s as good as any you can find in an artisan bakery. As for her claim that the dough is malleable enough to produce other baked goods like brioche and croissants? We’ll see, we’ll see. Look for more upcoming bread recipes as I plan on testing this in the future. For real, this time.

Get the Recipe: Momofuku Milk Bar Bagel Bombs

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For the Bacon, Scallion, and Cream Cheese Stuffing

  • 3.5 oz (100 grams) smokey bacon
  • 14 oz cream cheese
  • 1 bunch scallion greens, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the “Mother Dough”

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Egg Wash Topping

  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon water, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


For the Bacon, Scallion, and Cream Cheese Stuffing

  • Cook 3.5 oz bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it’s auburn brown and crunchy. Remove it from the pan and chop it into small pieces; set aside. In another pan, set aside the bacon grease (the stuff that leeches out of the meat while it is cooking… yum. Right?)
  • Put 14 oz cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream it on medium speed. Pour in the reserved bacon fat and continue creaming at a lower speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the chopped bacon, chopped bunch of scallions, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 teaspoons salt. Continue mixing at a low speed briefly to incorporate the dry ingredients.
  • Scoop the cream cheese mixture onto a sheet pan in 16 even lumps. Freeze until rock hard (about 1 to 3 hours).

For the Mother Dough Bread Buns

  • Stir together 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer — do it by hand, using the dough hook like a spoon. Continue stirring by hand as you add 1 3/4 cup water, mixing for 1 minute, until the mixture has come together in a shaggy mess.
  • Engage the bowl and hook and have the machine mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, or until the ball of dough is smoother and more cohesive. Then knead for 4 more minutes on the lowest speed. The dough should look like a wet ball and should bounce back softly when prodded.
  • Brush a large bowl with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and transfer the dough ball into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes.

For the Egg Wash Topping and Putting It Together

  • Preheat the oven to 325 (F).
  • Punch down and flatten the dough on a smooth, dry countertop. Use a dough cutter to divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Use your fingers to gently stretch each piece of dough out into a mini pizza between 2 and 3 inches wide.
  • Put a frozen cream cheese glob in the center of each dough circle. Bring up the edges of each round and pinch to seal so that the cream cheese plug is completely contained, then gently roll the ball between the palms of your hands to ensure that the bomb has a nice, round, dinner roll-y shape. Arrange the bombs 4 inches apart on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.
  • Whisk 1 egg together with 1/2 teaspoon of water to create the egg wash. Brush a generous coat of this wash on the buns. In a small, separate bowl, stir together 4 teaspoons poppy seeds, 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Sprinkle a heavy, even coating of this mixture all over the bagel bombs.
  • Bake the bagel bombs for 20 – 30 minutes. While in the oven, the bombs will become a deep golden brown and a few may have cream cheese explosions. You can use your fingers to tuck the cream cheese inside, or leave them as is. Continue baking until you see this happen. When they are ready, serve immediately.


Adapted from momofuku milk bar
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