These pull-apart garlic rolls are traditional in Ukraine, where they are called ‘pampushki’ (pronounced pahm-poosh-kee) and are usually served with Ukrainian Borscht and other dishes. Served with garlic sauce on top, they are exceptionally flavorful, soft and delicious.
Pampushki are good on their own, as well as a compliment to lunch or dinner. I’ve even used them, plain without garlic sauce, for burgers and sliders, 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, or use roasted garlic, but I think these rolls definitely benefit from the added flavors and moisture that the sauce brings.
The dough for these rolls is made soft and supple, slightly tacky to touch. These rolls definitely benefit from higher hydration dough which only makes them softer and fluffier. I used to add only one cup of water (250 ml) in this recipe but over time increased it by about tablespoons to roughly 280 ml. The results are noticeably better. I suggest starting at 260 ml and working your way up to about 280 ml.
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.
Ukrainian Pull-Apart Garlic Rolls (Pumpushki)
- 450 g all-purpose flour
- 260 ml water plus about 1/2 to 1Tbsp more, if needed
- 25 g sugar
- 5 g salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 9 g active dry yeast traditional
- For the egg wash:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp milk or cream
- For garlic sauce:
- 3 garlic cloves pressed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 50 g / 10 Tbsp drinking water
- Bring the water to about 105-115F (slightly warm to touch) and pour into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and the sugar. Let the yeast hydrate for about 10 minutes, until you see foam forming on top.
- Add the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix together and 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. Add more water if needed. If the feels too sticky, let it sit for another 10 minutes and then knead again for 1-2 minutes. As the flour in the 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 the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or a plastic wrap and place in warm place for about 1 to 1.5 hours. The dough should double in size.
- 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. Grease each ball with a little bit of butter then place into a greased round cake pan, spreading the balls out evenly.
- Start preheating the oven to 375F.
- Cover the pan with a damp towel or a plastic wrap and let sit for 40 minutes in warm place.
- Whisk one egg yolk 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.