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There is nothing quite like fresh baked bread with a meal. Tearing apart a warm roll to dunk in soup, or to mop up that extra gravy on the plate is something I think most of us will agree is simply delightful. So why are oven fresh dinner rolls seemingly only reserved for holidays? Probably the biggest reasons are that making bread seems like too much bother, and most recipes make way too many rolls. I recently came across this dinner roll called Pampushki. Popular in both Russia and the Ukraine, this bun is often served with a Borscht, and is what we might find similar to garlic bread.

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As with any traditional food there seems to be multiple methods of preparation. Some use combinations of whole wheat and rye, others white whole wheat, and some just white bread flour. Several recipes I came across called to turn the dough out on to a well oiled board to knead, a different approach than I am used to. I discovered recipes that instructed to toss the freshly baked buns in the garlic butter, others brushed it on during final baking. The addition of fresh parsley or dill did seem to be common in most recipes. Any and all of these variations sounded great to me, however the thing I found most intriguing about this particular recipe is that it made a small batch of 8 rolls, perfect for one meal.

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I have made these rolls multiple times now, experimenting with different flours and kneading techniques. The rolls made with the dark flours and kneaded on the oiled board tended to rise less but produced a very flavorful bun. Rolls baked using white bread flour worked on a lightly dusted board rose more and were lighter as you might expect. So depending on your situation and paring you can easily adjust ingredients for the perfect roll.

I find Pampushki to be simply delicious. The dough itself is quite easy to make, requiring very little effort. Of course like any yeast product there is some time required for rising, but to me that is simple to work around. I start the rolls before I begin with my other dinner preparations, so all I have to do is pop them in the oven at the last minute and…….fresh bread for the table.

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Pampushki – Ukrainian Dinner Roll

Cooks note: I have tried this roll with several types of flour and have found all delicious. Rolls made with rye or whole wheat tend to rise less forming a smaller denser roll. Some recipes say to knead the dough on an oiled board. For this recipe I turned the dough out on to lightly floured board to work. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  teaspoon dry yeast
  • 3   Tablespoons warm water (90ºF to 100ºF)
  • 1   cup bread flour (white, whole wheat, rye, or combination)
  • 1/3  cup warm milk (slightly above room temp no more than 75ºF)
  • 1   teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 2   Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2   cloves garlic, minced
  • 2   sprigs fresh dill or parsley, chopped

Method:

Place the yeast in a small mixing bowl or ramekin. Add the warm water and allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, milk, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add yeast and mix until a sticky dough ball forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead dough only long enough for it to become smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes, adding only enough flour to prevent sticking.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm location (75ºF to 85ºF) and allow to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Position rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375ºF.  While oven is heating, punch down dough and form into 8 equal sized balls. Place dough balls on a greased pie dish or cake pan. Cover and allow to rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Bake for 20 minutes. While rolls are baking, melt butter with garlic and herbs. At the end of 20 minutes, brush the top of the rolls with the garlic butter mixture. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Place rolls on a wire rack to cool.

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