When this bread first appeared in the Saturday Globe, I wanted to make it. Immediately. A savoury babka with bacon, cheese, scallions, sesame, and kimchi! But my dream of instant gratification needed to be put on hold, as I lacked a Pullman pan.
Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard to find one online: the one from USA Pan was well reviewed on Cook’s Illustrated, so once that arrived, I was ready to proceed. The recipe is due to Tara O’Brady, an author whose byline I look for every weekend, as her tastes and flavours are often highly aligned with my own.
The night before, I minced the kimchi, and pressed it against a sieve as directed. Squeezing clumps of the chopped cabbage in my fist helped to get even more liquid out. The next next night, I started on the bread dough: it’s enriched with a bit of honey and egg, and needs only one hour for the first rise. While it doubled, I cooked the bacon, saving some of the fat for greasing the loaf pan.
Look at this list of mixins: kimchi, bacon, cheese, scallions, sesame seeds! Before you dump this on the dough, you first brush it down with a mixture of sesame oil and gochujang. This was really difficult: the paste didn’t blend smoothly with the oil, so I ended up just dabbing it on with my fingertips.
The next step is to roll it up, jelly-roll style. Then, as for a babka, you cut the log lengthwise, being careful not to lose all of the filling.
Then, you twist the two log halves together, trying again to keep the filling from falling out.
Carefully lift it up and transfer it into the greased Pullman pan:
Then it’s into the oven for 30 minutes with the lid on, and then for 10 minutes with the lid off.
What a beautiful loaf, inside and out!
Each slice is packed with savoury, salty, and funky flavours. It’s delicious on its own, or lightly toasted. Highly, highly, recommended.