What Is Kifli?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Kifli is a Hungarian bread that is rolled into the shape of a crescent, much like a French croissant. The dough is leavened and made from flour, water, eggs, warm milk and sometimes sour cream. Once baked, kifli can be dipped into soups and sauces or cut in half for sandwiches. Some recipes call for kifli to be coated in sesame seeds or baked with a filling of meat and cheese or just cheese. The name "kifli" also can be used to refer to a number of holiday sweet cookies and pastries that do not have any relation to the croissant-like roll.

The rolls are made from leavened dough, meaning that the first step in making them is to activate the yeast. This is done by adding powdered yeast to a mixture of warm milk, a little flour and some sugar. Once the slurry starts to bubble, it is ready to be used.

The yeast is added to the flour for the dish, which is usually common white flour. Oil, egg whites, sour cream and baking powder are added to the flour and mixed until mostly smooth. After the dough has come together and is a cohesive mass, it is transferred to a floured surface.


The dough requires kneading to develop the resilient texture expected in most baked breads. When the dough has a smooth and silky surface texture, it needs to be set aside and left to rest. Over this period of time, the yeast will create gases that cause the kifli to rise, sometimes doubling in volume.

The risen bread is returned to a floured surface and kneaded again. This step removes large and unwanted air bubbles from inside the dough. The completed dough is then divided into small, equal parts, depending on the desired size of the kifli. Each of the pieces is rolled into a flat circle and cut from the center into triangular wedges.

An individual wedge is taken by the edge opposite the point and slowly rolled until it takes the form of a cylinder that tapers down on each end. The log is bent into a crescent shape and placed on a baking sheet. At this point, sesame seeds can be sprinkled on top. The rolls are baked until done and can be served warm.

One variation is known as sonkas kifli. This involves creating a mixture of meat, usually ham, and cheese along with an egg that is used to bind the ingredients. The filling is placed inside the bread as the dough is being rolled into logs. When the baking has finished, the cheese and ham will have melted into the dough, providing a savory treat.


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