These soft garlic rolls are traditional in Ukraine and are called ‘pampushki’ (pronounced pahm-pooh-sh-kee). They are usually served with traditional Ukrainian borscht and other dishes. Served with garlic sauce on top, they are exceptionally delicious and are very simple to make. Good on their own, as well as a compliment to lunch or dinner. I’ve even used them, plain without garlic sauce, for burgers, making them bigger in size, and thought they were some of the best burger buns I had ever had. If you are not a big fan of raw garlic you can skip the garlic sauce, but I think these rolls definitely benefit from the added flavors and moisture that the sauce adds.
The dough for these rolls should be soft and supple, slightly tacky to touch. These rolls definitely benefit from higher dough hydration (water content) which only makes these rolls softer and fluffier. I used to add only one cup of water in this recipe but over time increased it by two tablespoons. The results are noticeably better.
It’s best to bake these rolls in a round cake pan. Springform pans work best as it will be easier to remove the rolls once they are baked. If you don’t have one a regular, even rectangular shaped deep baking pan will do.
If your oven runs dry, there are a couple of ways to prevent the top surface from drying out and hardening. Cover the pan with foil after 15 minutes of baking, this will keep the moisture in during the final stage of baking and prevent drying out. Alternatively, put a small pan half-filled with hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven when you start preheating it. By the time you are ready to bake the water in the pan will start to boil, giving the oven a steady supply of moisture.
- 450 g all-purpose flour
- 280 g water
- 25 g sugar
- 5 g salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 9 g active dry yeast
- 1 egg for egg wash
- For garlic sauce:
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 50 g / 10 Tbsp drinking water
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, let sit for about 5 minutes
- Knead the dough in the bowl for about 2 minutes. The dough should be soft and tacky to touch. If it is too sticky, let it sit for another 10 minutes and then knead again for 1-2 minutes. As the flour in dough absorbs more water and gluten develops stickiness will decrease. If you feel it is still too sticky, you can add more flour later when shaping rolls
- Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel or saran wrap and place in warm place for 1.5 hours
- Punch the dough down, cut into 16 equal pieces
- Shape each piece into a ball. Some flour can be added in this step if the dough is too sticky
- Place dough balls in a greased round cake pan, spreading them out evenly
- Cover the pan with a damp towel or saran wrap and let sit for 40 minutes in warm place
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Whisk one egg with a splash of cold water or milk until pale yellow and perfectly mixed
- Using a pastry brush paint the rolls with a light, even coat of egg wash
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Sometimes, depending on how dry your oven runs, you may want to cover the pan with foil after 15 minutes of baking to avoid hardening of the top surface, or use a water pan to produce steady steam
- While your rolls are baking, start making garlic sauce. Press garlic into a medium bowl, add salt, oil and water and stir
- Once the rolls are ready, transfer them onto a serving platter. Pour garlic sauce over the rolls and let sit for a a few minutes to allow the sauce to soak in
- Serve and enjoy!