Squid Ink Cheesy Garlic Bread (Video)

These naturally-colored squid ink bread rolls are stuffed with melty cheese and topped with a slightly sweet garlic topping!

Black bread? With squid ink? Yeah.. I know it sounds odd, but these bread rolls are incredibly good! The soft bread rolls stuffed with gooey cheese are topped with a garlicky and slightly sweet crunchy topping. The bread rolls taste like regular milk bread and don’t taste fishy at all. The squid ink is used only for food coloring as it does not add any flavor. I chose to make the bread black because it contracts the bright orange color of the cheese well. The combination of squid ink and melty cheese is a popular bread combination in East Asia. The Taiwanese Bakery, 85 C, sells a seasonal squid ink cheesy corn bread and many bakeries in Korea sell squid ink bread as well.

Squid ink can be found at specialty seafood stores, the seafood counter of some local grocery stores, Spec’s, or online. I went to my local grocery store and asked if they sold squid ink at the seafood counter. They surprisingly did and I was able to purchase individual packets of squid ink. You may purchase squid ink in a jar, such as Poseidon squid ink and use the rest to make squid ink pasta or more breads. The cheese used for the recipe should be a high-fat, meltable cheese such as cheddar, colby jack (what I used), mozzarella, or muenster.

The bread is topped with a crunchy garlic butter topping that is slightly sweet and nutty. Garlic bread is typically salty, but the addition of sugar brings out the garlic flavor, resulting in a new garlic bread taste that is delicious! This garlic topping is commonly used on Chinese bakery breads and is loved by many! This recipe yields 9 medium rolls, baked in a 9 x 9 baking pan. The bread dough can kneaded using an electric stand mixer or by hand. For convenience, I used the stand mixer.

Bread-making tips:

  • Use lukewarm milk, about 105-115 F. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast, resulting in dense, flat bread. Room temperature milk works too, but warm milk helps activate the yeast.
  • For best results, allow the dough to rise in a slightly heated oven (about 80 degrees) or a proving drawer.
  • Hand kneading can take up to 30 minutes to develop gluten. Dough should be able to pass the windowpane test. Using a stand mixer helps save time.
  • Do NOT over-rise the dough. The rise time for each proofing should be 45 min-1 hr. If you let it rise too much, the bread will rise and collapse in the oven.

Squid Ink Cheesy Garlic Bread Rolls

yield: 9 rolls (9 x 9 in. pan)

total cook time: 2 hr. 30 min.


For bread:

  • 340 g. or 2 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 50 g. or 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 g. or 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 g. or 1 1/2 tsp. active yeast
  • 50 g. or 1 large egg
  • 245 g. or 1 c. whole milk, lukewarm
  • 21 g. or 1 1/2 tbsp. softened butter
  • 4 g. or 2 tsp. squid ink
  • 225 g. or 1 c. cheddar or colby jack cheese cubes (or another high-fat, easily melted cheese)

For garlic topping:

  • 45 g. or 3 tbsp + 1 tsp. softened butter
  • 35 g. or 2 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 10 g. or 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 45 g. or 1 small egg
  • 35 g. or 1/4 c. cake flour
  • 12 g. or 1 1/2 tbsp. almond flour
  • 2 g. or 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes


  1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine bread flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and milk. Knead on medium speed for 10 min. Add in the butter and squid ink and knead for an additional 5 min. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a cloth or lid. Rest in a warm place for 1 hr. and allow the dough to double in size.
  2. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the air out of the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Hand-knead the dough for 1 min. and separate the dough into 9 equal pieces. You may use a scale for accuracy.
  3. Take one piece of dough and lightly flatten out using your hands. Add in some cheese chunks and seal the edges of the dough tightly. Roll the dough into a ball and place into a 9 x 9 in. baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process for the other 8 pieces of dough.
  4. Place the bread rolls in a 3 x 3 formation in the pan. Cover with a cloth and rest in a warm place for 30 min.
  5. Preheat oven to 340 F.
  6. In the meantime, make the garlic topping. Combine all the ingredients together and place in a piping bag. Cut the tip of the bag to form a small hole. Once the bread rolls have doubled in size, pipe the garlic topping onto each bread roll in a spiral pattern. Bake the bread at 340 F for 30 min on the middle rack.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven immediately and cool on a cooling rack for 5 min. Remove the bread from the baking pan and enjoy the bread!

*Nutrition facts are estimates. Label contains facts for cake without chestnuts.

This post contains affiliate links, which I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

13 thoughts

  1. Squid ink is quite a cooking idea, isn’t it? This exotic and yet tempting bread opens both my eyes and mind, to say the very least. Thanks a lot!

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