Moon Bakery is Utah’s First Korean-Style Bakery

Moon Bakery, tucked inside Chinatown Supermarket, is Utah’s first Korean-style bakery. Owner Changwook Yoon is in the kitchen as early as 2:30 a.m. Everything is made by hand, in-house—breads and pastries (sweet and savory) donuts, cakes and mochi. 

Changwook came to the bakery through a family connection; his passion for craft, quality, and tradition is evident. We sat down with him to discuss his baking journey with the help of a translator. “I was looking for a business; the previous owner is my brother-in-law’s friend. He was getting older and wanted to move on,” says Changwook. “My brother-in-law introduced us. I wasn’t living in Utah, so I visited here a couple of times and liked it, so I took it over.” That was over three years ago.

Delving into the differences between Korean-style pastries and their American counterparts, it all comes down to the dough. In the U.S., pastries are rich in butter and sugar, while the dough is generally less sweet. Many are made with laminated dough, which results in flaky or crispy layers. Korean pastries are often made with milk bread dough base, lending them a soft and pillowy texture. Made using the Tangzhong method, milk, flour, and water are mixed and then heated to form a type of roux before adding it to the dough. Cooking makes the starches hold more water and also makes for a more stable structure. This means a higher rise and softer pastry dough that is sweeter and more chewy than a typical American bakery. “We don’t do frozen dough,” says Changwook. “So we have to come in early every morning to make the dough, weigh it out, and prepare the fillings.” 

When Changwook took over Moon Bakery, he focused on maintaining the traditional K-style pastries. Still, he also added his own recipes to the shop. “I wanted to do a filled croissant. It is very popular and filled with strawberries and custard cream. I make pound cake. And a chocolate custard twisted donut.” 

Jelly-roll style cakes are filled with fruit and pastry cream. Pick up a slice or better yet, a full cake. Photo by Adam Finkle

inside the dough: sweet and savory fillings 

Sweet Korean pastries are often balanced by less sweet fillings. They often feature roasted chestnuts, white beans, red bean paste, sweet potato, or eggy custard cream. You’ll also find diplomat cream paired with fresh fruit. Diplomat cream is pastry cream folded with stabilized whipped cream for a fluffy, lighter and less cloying filling. These fillings add a touch of sweetness that complements the dough without overwhelming it, resulting in a perfectly balanced and delicious treat. Both Changwook and Richard from SanFran Burritos N Fryz expressed surprise that people here in Utah love traditional Korean flavors like red bean paste. 

When asked what he wanted people to know about his bakery, more than anything else, Changwook says, “I wanted them to know that everything is fresh. Every day. We make everything right here.” 

If You Go

Moon Bakery is located in Chinatown Market at 3390 S. State St., South Salt Lake, 801-263-0404


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Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinezhttp://www.saltlakemgazine.com
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to lydia@saltlakemagazine.com

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