Olive Oil & Za’atar Rolls

Erez Komarovsky

2½ hours

20 rolls

Olive oil and za'atar rolls

Photography: Matan Choufan

Photography: Matan Choufan

These spelt and olive oil rolls from chef Erez Komarovsky are inspired by pampushki, Ukrainian milk and butter rolls commonly served with borscht. When they’re still hot from the oven he brushes them with fresh hyssop and olive oil instead of the traditional sunflower oil and dill.


  • 2.2 lb / 1 kg white spelt flour + for dusting 
  • 2½- 2¾ cups / 600-650ml water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast / 25-30 grams
  • 2 tablespoons cane or demerara sugar
  • ½ cup / 120ml mild olive oil (such as Koroneiki)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • For greasing and baking
  • ½ cup / 120 ml mild olive oil (such as Koroneiki)
  • Coarse salt
  • For the hyssop glaze
  • 1 compressed cup fresh hyssop leaves
  • 10 garlic cloves 
  • ½ cup / 120ml olive oil


  1. Place all the ingredients for the dough, except for the salt, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead on medium speed into a uniform and pleasant dough (add the 2½ cups water and, if necessary, gradually add a little more until the dough reaches the desired texture). Add salt and continue to knead at the same speed for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Knead the dough, folding it several times, and return to the bowl. Cover and and let rise for 30 minutes. 
  3. Divide the dough into 20 balls and place on a floured work surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
  4. Grease a wide, 15-inch / 40-cm or round siniya pan (or any other ovenproof wide pan, you can divide into two pans if needed) with a little olive oil. Knead each ball separately, reshape to a ball and place in the pan, arranging them in a single layer relatively close to each other. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Place an empty pan in the bottom third of the oven.
  6. Brush the rolls with olive oil and sprinkle a little coarse salt on top.
  7. Place the pan in the middle shelf, throw a handful of ice cubes in the empty pan (to create a humid environment inside the oven) and immediately shut the oven door. Bake for 15 minutes. 
  8. Reduce to 350°F / 180°C and bake for another 20-15 minutes, until the rolls are golden and the crust is crisp.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare the hyssop glaze: Crush the hyssop leaves and garlic to a coarse paste. Mix in the olive oil.
  10. Once the rolls are out of the oven, brush them with the hyssop glaze. Serve hot.

Related recipes