These Ukrainian garlic bread rolls, or pampushky, are made with an overnight sponge, baked until golden, and slathered with garlic-parsley oil.
Adapted from Olia Hercules | Mamushka | Weldon Owen, 2015
The word pampushka can be used to describe a gorgeous plump woman and is one of my favourite words. Pam-poo-shka! These pampushky are traditionally served with red borshch. In Ukraine, we would use regular garlic, so if you can’t find green garlic don’t worry – it will still be delicious.–Olia Hercules
Ukrainian Garlic Bread FAQs
When making an overnight sponge, how long is “overnight”?
When a recipe calls for overnight refrigeration, it is generally referring to a range of 8 to 16 hours. For these pampushky, you’ll know the sponge is ready when it’s bubbly and has at least doubled. Our testers found it took 8 to 12 hours.
What should you serve with this Ukrainian garlic bread?
Traditionally, pampushky are served alongside borscht (beet soup). They would also make a wonderful addition to any Ukrainian or Eastern European meal that could include perogies, cabbage rolls, or chicken dumpling soup (galushki), to name a few.
Ukrainian Garlic Bread ~ Pampushky
- One (1/2-oz) cake fresh yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 g) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon superfine sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups white bread flour divided, plus extra for dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt plus more for the garlic oil
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil plus more for the baking dish
- 1 1/2 tablespoons green or regular garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 duck egg (or large chicken egg) beaten, for the glaze
- To make the sponge: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water (make sure it’s warm – hot water will kill the yeast). Add 1 1/4 cups (162 g) flour and mix roughly. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof in the refrigerator overnight. The sponge should be bubbly and at least double in size after resting overnight.
- The next morning: Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups (162 g) flour and the fine sea salt to the starter and knead on a well-floured work surface until the dough is smooth and comes away from your hands easily, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Slick a 9-inch (23-cm) round baking dish or cake pan with oil. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into round buns. Arrange them side by side in the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let them proof again, this time in a warm place, until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. They will join together just like hot cross buns do.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
- In a medium bowl, combine the crushed garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, a small pinch of sea salt, and the parsley. Stir well, then leave to infuse.
- When the pampushky (the buns) look plump and ready, brush them generously with some beaten egg to glaze and bake until they form a glistening golden crust, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and baste with the garlic oil. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
With the conflict in the news, I decided to make Pampushky, a traditional Ukrainian bread to honor their culture. Having the sponge proof overnight in the refrigerator adds flavor along with great structure. For the second rise, I placed them in the cold oven as I’ve done with other yeast breads.
We used the balance of the garlic-infused oil as a dipping sauce with garlic bread. Perfect with a spinach and beet salad topped with sunflower seeds. The Pampushky will be our new go-to garlic bread as we continue to hope for peace for the Ukrainian people.
Growing up pseudo-Ukrainian/Prussian/German Empire Canadian second generation in Alberta, Canada, the second most populated community outside of Ukraine, we are not unaccustomed to the massive deliciousness of Ukraine. Most predominantly are perogies and cabbage rolls and borscht soup, but there are breads that should be celebrated in the same pedestal as the trio listed above.
I love to bake bread of any kind and even a beginner would easily be able to find joy and great success baking up this wonderful pan of buns. I am a big fan of sponge starters and I have to say one negative in this recipe, is that you will need a much bigger bowl for your sponge than you think.
The parsley garlic oil infusion is exactly the flavour bomb this typical enriched white dinner bun/bread type dough really needs to make it just so incredible. I can not get enough of this bread! Do not skimp on that topping. Give yourself the confidence to just go hog wild and slather that parsley garlic oil all over. You will be mopping up the plate with the soft pillow goodness.
Pass the recipe on as your support to the culture and people of Ukraine and to create a time to come together as a community and share a plate over the comfort of being together and at peace with thoughts of others not so fortunate at the moment.
These pampushky should be coming out of the ovens in ordinary home kitchens in Ukraine, to be shared by families and friends sitting around the table for just another ordinary meal. Little hands and big hands reaching across the table for the warm fragrant rolls, perhaps to enjoy them with some lovely homemade soup.
But no, these pampushky are in my American kitchen where, unlike in Ukraine, “ordinary” is possible. With no means or power to deliver them to the displaced Ukrainian people, I am at my breakfast table, writing this review to sing a song of praise to their beautiful bread. I suppose one could say I am keeping a sliver of Ukrainian culinary traditions alive here until it can someday pick up where it left off and continue to thrive in Ukrainian kitchens.
As I kneaded the pampushky dough, it was as though I had felt it spring back the bitter irony, but also the strength of something that no armed conflict could make disappear.
Being of Ukrainian descent, I love to try recipes from my grandparents native land. So this recipe drew me to it. There are some really good things about this recipe and some things you should know before you make it. The taste of these garlic rolls is amazing, not to mention the smell of them as they are baking. Right out of the oven, I could have eaten several. They don’t need anything on them. The oil makes them moist. The taste of the garlic is subtle since it is infused in the oil, but it is definitely there, as is the taste of the parsley. They were great as a mid-morning snack with coffee, but they would be good most anytime: with a salad for lunch, or alongside dinner. But timing is important; they are best right out of the oven.
When I served the rolls with dinner, a few hours after I had made them, the quality of both texture and taste had decreased. They were not bad, just not as delicious as straight from the oven. The next morning, I popped one in the microwave and it softened up and, again, was fine, just not as good as when they came directly out of the oven.
I love garlic bread. The sharing and joined together nature of these buns called pampushky made this recipe even more attractive.
My suggestion is that you do make these pampushky. Adjust the garlic and parsley amounts to your liking, and do respond when the proofed buns have doubled in size. Then pull out your fluffy warm pampushky from the ring and enjoy.
We had ours with fresh cheese and a green salad. The pampushky were also great with Ukrainian chicken broth with dumplings.
I tested these wonderful Ukrainian garlic bread rolls twice, and while I enjoyed them the first time, I tweaked the recipe a bit to fine-tune it to make it work better for me the second time around. Mission accomplished! This easy no-fail recipe produces great-tasting rolls, and might just help you feel a bit of solidarity with Ukrainians.
Change #1: My most significant change was to the timing, as I wanted to have them coming out of the oven at dinner time. After shaping, I returned them to the refrigerator in order to slow down the rise. This worked perfectly and we were able to eat them warm. I removed them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature about 40 minutes before baking. Another schedule which would work for early risers would be to begin the sponge early in the morning and continue with the room temperature second stage rise in order to bake them early evening.
Change #2: I substituted 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast for the active dry, mixing all ingredients directly in the bowl with no need to dissolve the yeast. Knowing that sugar speeds up yeast activity which I wanted to avoid, I reduced it to 1/2 teaspoon.
Change #3: I reduced the oil to 2 tablespoons and the garlic to 1 tablespoon. In order to mellow out the garlic, I warmed it till it was fragrant and took on just a bit of color in the oil (about 3 minutes), letting it cool before adding the parsley and salt.
Who doesn’t love garlic bread? This was an easy enough recipe, even for someone as inexperienced at baking as me. The rolls come together whether or not you roll the dough balls until smooth. The bread itself is heartier than I imagined, and I liked it. I hadn’t used sunflower oil for anything but frying before, and liked the taste of it with the parsley mixture. I’ll definitely use the topping mixture recipe again – so good!
Personally, I felt there was too little salt in the parsley oil, and used a little over 1/8 tsp instead of just a pinch. It’s a good recipe, easily made with kids (especially if you use a mortar and pestle instead of a knife), and made our whole house smell great.
I’m making this Ukrainian garlic bread a TC simply because my family loved these buns so much. They liked the firmer texture and the lovely hit of garlic that wasn’t overpowering. I can see why these would be good with borscht.
This Ukrainian garlic bread will not disappoint. Not only does it make a beautiful presentation, it is relatively easy to prepare and best of all it tastes great.
Yes, a sponge is required. However, it’s easy to throw together and essentially does its magic in the fridge (nearly doubles in size, looking airy, wet and glossy when done with an unusual aroma) while you sleep! The prep for the following day was well explained in the recipe and easily executed due in part, to the dough, which was wonderful to work with. Glistening, golden brown, nicely risen and ready for that bath of the infused parsley-garlic oil.
I did not use all of the infused oil as it was a tad too much in volume. Also, I would suggest finely chopping the parsley and garlic before basting in order to avoid biting into a large piece of the crushed raw garlic. The bun itself had a slight crunch on the outside with a slightly dense, tender crumb inside, making it perfect for dunking into our homemade Borscht soup which was served.
Of note, although the recipe recommends serving the buns immediately, I did not serve them until almost two hours after coming out of the oven. They were still great despite the wait. This recipe is a definite keeper which I will use often to accompany all sorts of dishes!
This Ukrainian garlic bread was absolutely delicious—crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. These were not like your typical dinner rolls; I liked them much better in fact. I did not use all the flour as stated and added it by the tablespoon on day 2. I recommend adding it slowly so that you don’t have a dry dough. I would only make one change and that would be to cook the garlic in the sunflower oil just to temper it a bit; I love garlic but it was *very* strong. If you do leave it raw, don’t plan on any sort of date night— in fact, don’t be in public anywhere….
Originally published March 30, 2022