Homemade Pav (Buns)
Updated: Mar 21
Pav bhaji is the king of street foods in Mumbai, a sweet, savory, and spicy treat all in one! Mixed vegetables are boiled and mashed up in a spicy masala and served with butter and hot soft buttered pavs (buns). When I would make this dish in the past, I would buy the pavs and there would always be a problem- not soft enough, tasty enough, or just not cooked properly Pavs so I decided to take matters into my own hands. So after many trials I chanced on to this foolproof recipe; it yields soft, tasty, well-risen pavs/buns every time. Head on to my Bhaji Masala recipe making it a perfect accompaniment to my homemade Pav/Buns Recipe.
Here's a short video on how its made https://youtu.be/gZe7-W0ZvY0
Tips for the best pavs:
Activating yeast: This is the most crucial and important step when baking bread- yeast forms the backbone of the bread so double check that it's not expired. For this recipe, I use dry bakers yeast which has to be activated before it can be added to the recipe. Make sure that the yeast is active before using otherwise all your hard work could go to waste!
Lukewarm water: The temperature of water is important. Anything too hot will kill the anything too cold will not activate it.
Sugar: Sugar is what feeds the yeast so don't worry about your bread becoming too sweet.
Preparing the dough: Combine the wet ingredients slowly into the dry ingredients and knead it for 5-10 minutes for the best texture.
Proofing (also called proving): This is a crucial step in the preparation of yeasted breads and other baked goods to allow the dough to rise before baking. During this rest period, yeast ferments the dough and produce gasses, thereby leavening the dough. Be patient- bread making is an art and process!
Environment: It is best to leave the dough in a warm and humid environment to rise. If you are in a hurry or if you're in a cooler climate, the dough can be proofed in an Instapot:
Grease the Instapot pot and transfer the dough
Cover it with a plate or glass cover (not the metal cover)
Let the dough rest until it has risen or doubled in size and adjust the pressure to 'Less'
Alternatively, if you don't own an Instapot, you can proof the dough in the oven:
Warm the oven to 100 C (200 F), turn the oven off, and place the dough in the warm oven (no peeking!)
Let the dough rest until its risen or doubled in size
Second proofing: After the dough has risen from the first proof, knock the air out and knead it again. Shape it, cover with a wet towel, and leave it to rise a second time (this usually takes half of the first proofing time)
Egg: If you want to get the pavs nice and brown on top, I recommend brushing them with an egg wash (egg+water) before baking. For a vegetarian version, just brush with milk.
Pan: You can use either a glass or foil pan, so long as it's the right size. If the pan is too big, the buns will expand sideways during rising and you will not achieve the necessary upward rise for proper pull-apart bread. For this recipe, I used a 9-inch baking pan.
Baking: Once the bread has finished baking, unmold it immediately from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack, otherwise it will turn moist and remain moist at the base due to heat condensation. Brush with some butter and Enjoy!
Home Made Pavs
Prep time: 3 hours
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Serving: 16 pavs (buns)
For yeast activation:
Active dry yeast: 2 1/4 Tsp
Sugar: 2 1/2 Tbsp
Water: 3 Tbsp
Milk: 3 Tsp
For the pav dough:
Flour (all-purpose): 3 1/2 cups
Baking Powder: 1 Tsp
Salt: 1 1/2 Tsp
Butter: 50 gm or half a stick of butter
Oil: 2 Tbsp
Water: 1/2 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup
Egg-wash/milk: for basting
1. Activate the yeast: Mix the water and milk and warm it in the microwave for 40 seconds. Once that's done, add the sugar, and stir to dissolve (check the temperature- it should be lukewarm, not too hot.) Add the yeast and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not foam or bubble up, discard it and start the process again.
2. To start the dough, combine the water and milk and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds and add the oil and butter. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix well.
3. Add the activated yeast to the flour mixture and slowly add the wet ingredients (not all at once.) Mix until fully incorporated. You can add a small amount of flour a teaspoon at a time if needed until a smooth, non-sticky dough forms.
4. Cover the dough with a plate or wet towel and keep in a warm, humid place for at least 2-3 hours until it has risen and doubled in size.
5. Once it has finished the first proofing, divide the dough into equal parts, shape into balls and place them in a greased pan. Cover again with a plate or wet towel to prove again, around 30-45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, preheat the oven to 200 C (400F).
6. Brush pavs with egg-wash or milk and bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy warm with butter and spicy bhaji! Check out my bhaji recipe too.
For a printed version of the recipe click here: