Sourdough ladi pav (dinner rolls) step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
What is ladi pav
Ladi pav or pav bread is light and fluffy dinner rolls that are made with plain flour. Pav means bun and ladi in this case means 3-4 pav bread arranged together in a row. These delicate buns are perfect for pav-bhaji, vada-pav, misal-pav, and so on – which are the famous street foods of Mumbai. I have earlier shared how to make ladi pav with baker's yeast. I have written about my sourdough journey here. I always prefer the sourdough version of ladi pav.
Rich dough gives the perfect texture of ladi pav
To get perfectly soft ladi pav, it is important that the dough has a good amount of fat in it. There are six ingredients that go into making this dough.
Sourdough starter: This is the key ingredient to make sourdough ladi pav. Make sure the starter is active and bubbly.
Flour: Make them with plain flour (or all-purpose flour). Bread flour may also be used but low protein flour works best here. Bread flour may make these rolls a bit chewier than what you would get when plain flour is used.
Milk: For the best-tasting ladi pav (rolls), use whole milk. This will make the rolls soft and fluffy. Light milk works well too; however, I have never tried them with non-dairy milk.
Butter: Butter not only adds a great flavour to ladi pav, but it also makes dinner roll soft.
Sugar: Sugar is food for the wild yeast in your starter.
Salt: Salt is a key ingredient in making these rolls tasty. Don't skip it!
Shaping ladi pav
Shaping this dough can be trickier when compared to shaping dough made with dry yeast, as this is a high hydration dough. I try and add a minimal amount of flour while shaping. However, if you are unable to shape the rolls, add some flour and knead for 3-4 minutes before shaping. Also, make sure you dust your hands with some flour before shaping.
For most Indians, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of ladi pav is pav bhaji. But these versatile rolls can be served in many other ways. They are great for dunking in curries. Use them to make sliders and sloppy joe, or mini-burgers. Lightly toast them, spread butter and jam, and serve them up for breakfast! Making garlic bread? Use these rolls! There are a plethora of ways to serve them up.
Freezing ladi pav
Ladi pav is freezer-friendly and can be frozen for up to three months. To freeze them, let them cool completely. Then place them in freezer-safe bags and freeze them. They can be thawed either in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 2-3 hours. You can reheat them in an oven or OTG. The ladi pav will retain their freshness if they are frozen the same day they are baked.
- They are much healthier than the dinner rolls made with baker's yeast
- This is a no-knead dough. You don't have to work on the dough for a long time or use a stand mixer to get perfectly soft dinner rolls
- They are freezer friendly
Tips to get soft sourdough dinner rolls
Choose the right ingredients to get the best rolls.
Make sure the milk is just lukewarm - not cold and definitely not hot. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast in the starter
Do not skip second proofing even if you choose to bake them the same day. The best way to second proof is to shape it and place it in the refrigerator overnight. If you prefer not to do it, let them rest in a warm spot for 1-2 hours
Brush warm rolls with butter to get the perfect glossy look
Tips and tricks
Shaping these rolls is difficult when compared to shaping the dough made with yeast, because of its high hydration. I prefer not to use a lot of flour while shaping. But if you are unable to shape them, add some flour and knead for 3-4 minutes before shaping
Activate the sourdough starter the night before you plan to make the dough (or early morning on the same day).
It is important to note that the time taken for the starter to activate depends on many factors. For example, the ambient temperature, the nature of the starter itself, etc. If your starter activates at a much faster rate, you can activate it the same day you are making the dough. Or, you can use either less starter or cold water to slow down the activation.
Keep an eye on the bulk fermentation time – once the dough is almost double and has bubbles, put it in the fridge. As the amount of starter is high in this bread, remember that it may ferment more quickly when compared to regular sourdough.
Put the dough out of the fridge first thing in the morning to do the second proofing the next day. Shape it once it comes to room temperature and then, let it sit in a warm spot until it rises.
You can choose to bake the bread on the same day if you like. But I always prefer to keep the dough in the fridge overnight and bake the next day. If you choose to bake on the same day, activate your starter the previous night and start the dough early in the morning. That way, you will be able to do the second proofing by afternoon and bake in the evening.
Brush the dinner rolls with butter while they are still warm.
These sourdough dinner rolls are:
- healthier than regular dinner rolls / ladi pav
- perfect pairing with pav bhaji
- freezer friendly
Step by step instructions
1. Warm up the milk with butter
2. Add activated starter, salt, and sugar
3. Add the flour and knead
4. Knead the dough well
5. Perform stretch and fold at 30 minutes interval
6. The dough builds strength as you perform stretch and fold
7. Dough ready for bulk fermentation
8. Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation
9. Dough after bulk fermentation
10. Pinch out a lemon-sized ball of dough, roll it into smooth balls, and place it onto the baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough
11. Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight
12. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden
13. Brush with some butter
Sourdough Ladi Pav (Dinner roll)
- Make sure your starter is active and bubbly
- Combine milk and butter in a sauce pan and warm it up. The milk should be just lukewarm, 30-32 degrees celsius, which is sufficient to melt the butter. Don’t overheat the milk
- Combine the warm milk with starter, salt, and sugar
- Slowly add the flour and combine well making sure there are no dry flour bits. Knead it gently for 4-5 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoon flour if needed
- Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Perform four sets of stretch and fold at a 30 minutes interval. Wet hands, grab a portion of the dough, and slowly stretch it taking care not to break it, and fold it towards the centre over the dough. Keep turning the bowl and repeat the process until all parts of the dough is covered. Carefully flip the dough and round it up. This completes one set of stretch and fold. Repeat this process four times at an interval of 30 minutes. See the pictures below or the video here to see the technique
- Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation until it is almost double and has bubbles on the top
- Once the bulk fermentation is done, shape the dough
- Pinch out a lemon sized ball of dough, roll it into smooth balls, and place in the baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough
- Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. At this stage, you can choose to bake directly without placing the dough in the fridge
- Next morning, remove the shaped dough from the fridge and let it sit in a warm spot for 1-2 hours (until it comes to room temperature)
- Preheat the oven at 180 C (360 F)
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden
- Cool it in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving