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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring Ukrainian cuisine, you’re likely to have come across Pampushky, delectable garlic-infused bread rolls that complement a multitude of dishes. These fluffy, aromatic rolls are a staple on the Ukrainian dining table, accompanying soups, stews, and the renowned borscht. With their soft texture and robust garlic flavor, they can turn a simple meal into something special.
Despite their impressive taste, Pampushky are surprisingly straightforward to make at home, requiring only a handful of basic ingredients and a little bit of patience during the dough’s rising period. So, whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner looking to try your hand at bread making, this recipe is a fantastic place to start.
For the Pampushky Dough:
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (110F or 43C)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or another neutral oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Garlic Sauce:
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
Prepare Yeast Mixture: a. Warm milk to about 110°F (43°C). b. Mix warmed milk and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. c. Sprinkle active dry yeast over the mixture and let sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
Combine Yeast Mixture with Flour: a. Place all-purpose flour in a large bowl and create a well in the center. b. Pour the yeast mixture and sunflower oil into the well (any neutral oil can be used).
Knead the Dough: a. Combine ingredients in the bowl. b. Transfer the rough dough to a floured surface. c. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed.
First Rising: a. Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl. b. Cover with a damp cloth. c. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
Shaping and Second Rising: a. Punch down the risen dough and knead briefly to remove air bubbles. b. Divide the dough into equal portions (around 15 for smaller rolls, or 10 for larger). c. Shape each portion into a ball. d. Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet. e. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. f. Let them rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes or until noticeably increased in size.
Bake the Pampushky: a. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and position a rack in the center. b. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until golden brown. c. Prepare the garlic sauce while the Pampushky are baking. d. Brush the rolls with garlic sauce immediately after removing them from the oven.
Prepare the Garlic Sauce: a. Finely chop fresh garlic cloves according to preference. b. Melt unsalted butter in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. c. Add chopped garlic and cook gently until soft and fragrant, but not browned. d. Remove the pan from the heat and add finely chopped fresh parsley. e. Stir to combine.
Serve the Pampushky: a. Serve the Pampushky warm with the garlic sauce as an accompaniment to your meal.
Preparing the Dough
Combining Milk, Sugar, and Yeast
Start by gently warming up your milk to a lukewarm temperature (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 43 degrees Celsius). Be careful not to overheat it, as too high a temperature can kill the yeast. In a small bowl, combine the warmed milk and sugar, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the top and leave it undisturbed for about 10 minutes. This will allow the yeast to activate and become frothy, indicating it’s ready for use.
Adding Yeast Mixture and Oil to the Flour
In a large bowl, place your all-purpose flour and create a small well in the center. Pour the activated yeast mixture into this well, followed by the sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is traditionally used in Ukrainian cooking, but any other neutral oil would work just as well.
Kneading the Dough
Now, it’s time to get your hands dirty! Begin combining the ingredients in your bowl, gradually working the flour into the yeast and milk mixture. Continue mixing until you have a rough dough. Transfer this dough onto a well-floured surface and start kneading. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. This process helps develop the gluten in the flour, giving your Pampushky its characteristic soft and fluffy texture.
Letting the Dough Rest and Rise
Once your dough is well-kneaded, place it in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. This will prevent the surface of the dough from drying out. Allow the dough to rest and rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. This resting period is crucial as it allows the yeast to ferment the dough, creating the gases that will make your Pampushky rise and become light and fluffy.
Shaping and Second Rising
- Punching Down and Kneading the Risen Dough: Once the dough has doubled in size, gently deflate it by punching it down. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times to get rid of any air bubbles that might have formed during the first rise.
- Dividing and Shaping the Dough into Balls: It’s time to shape your Pampushky. Divide the dough into equal portions. You might want to divide the dough into around 15 pieces for smaller, appetizer-sized rolls. If you prefer larger rolls, aim for around ten pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball by cupping your hand over it and moving your hand in a circular motion.
- Second Rising Period: Once all your dough balls are shaped and arranged on your baking sheet, they need to rise again. This second rise, or “proofing,” gives the yeast more time to work, which will make your Pampushky lighter and more flavorful. Cover the dough balls with a clean kitchen towel and leave them in a warm, draft-free place to rise for another 30 minutes or until they have noticeably increased in size.
Baking the Pampushky
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and position a rack in the center of the oven. Bake the Pampushky for 15-20 minutes or until they’re golden brown on top. Be sure to rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. While the Pampushky are baking, prepare the garlic sauce.
As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, brush them generously with the garlic sauce. The heat from the freshly baked rolls will help the flavors of the garlic and parsley to permeate the bread. Serve the Pampushky warm as a delicious accompaniment to your meal.
Preparing the Garlic Sauce
For the garlic sauce that makes Pampushky so tantalizing, you will need to chop fresh garlic cloves finely. The number of cloves will depend on how garlicky you like your bread. Keep in mind that the garlic flavor intensifies as it cooks, so adjust according to your preference. Be sure to chop the garlic as finely as possible for a smooth and flavorful sauce1.
Cooking Garlic in Melted Butter
In a small saucepan or skillet, melt unsalted butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and starts to foam, add the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic gently, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. You want the garlic to become soft and fragrant but not browned, as this can make the sauce bitter. This process should only take a few minutes1.
Adding Chopped Parsley
Once the garlic is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add finely chopped fresh parsley. The residual heat in the pan will be enough to wilt the parsley and release its aroma slightly. Stir to combine the parsley with the garlic and butter, creating a vibrant and aromatic sauce that will be brushed over the Pampushky towards the end of baking. This simple but powerful sauce is what gives Pampushky their signature garlicky charm.