Two kiflis, the left one is salted
Course Dessert
Place of origin Austria, Hungary, Serbia
Region or state Balkan, Central Europe
Serving temperature Baked
Main ingredients Wheat flour
Cookbook: Kifli

Kifli (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkifli], meaning "twist", "crescent") is a traditional European yeast roll made into a crescent shape.[1][2] The pastry is called kifli in Hungarian, rohlík in Czech, Kipferl in Austrian German, кифла/kifla in Serbian, "kifla" in Croatian and Bosnian, corn in Romanian, рогалик/rogalik in Russian, рогалик/rohalyk in Ukrainian, кифла in Bulgarian, кифла in Macedonian, rožok in Slovak and rogal in Polish. In Danish and Swedish, it is called giffel.


Kifli are made by cutting sheets of soft yeast dough into triangular wedges then rolling them into crescent shapes which are then baked. Kifli differs from the French croissant (again meaning "crescent") in that it is made from a plain, bread-like dough (thus being more akin to a roll than to pastry) and being both thinner and longer. They may also come in different sizes, some of them equalling in weight a small bread loaf.



When they come out of the oven, the rolls can be left plain or given a water brushing to make them shiny, or can be given an egg wash and sprinkled with either poppy seeds or caraway fruits mixed with coarse salt. The latter variety is often made into a straight shape, instead of curved like a crescent. Kifli is eaten like bread or rolls, usually made into a sandwich, sometimes plain or with butter like a fresh baguette. Often, especially for breakfast, the topping is jam or honey, or they may be used for dunking.


This is the same as the regular style, but the dough may contain butter or other shortening and/or milk. It is sweeter than the regular variety and is therefore especially well suited to be eaten with jam or honey, as is often done for breakfast with coffee, hot chocolate or milk. This might also be an accompaniment for drinks like Doogh or Kumis.


There are a couple of sweet rolls that carry the name "kifli" to describe their shape but they are eaten at the end of a meal or with an afternoon tea or coffee and have nothing to do with kifli which, if the word is used on its own, always means the regular or fine varieties described above.

  • vaníliás kifli is a small soft cookie made from a dough of ground nuts, instead of flour. It is usually made with walnuts but almonds are more often used outside of Hungary. Once baked they are rolled in vanilla flavored confectioners' sugar before allowed to cool.
  • bratislavské rožky, diós kifli, mákos kifli, also known as Pozsonyi kifli (Pozsony is the Hungarian name of Bratislava, capital city of the Slovak Republic) are crescent-shaped sweet leavened pastries filled with a sweet walnut or poppy paste. They are a variety of beigli, very similar in flavor but different in shape and size.


The Kipferl has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century (first recorded as "chipfen").[3]

A common culinary myth claims that when Christian forces freed Buda from Ottoman occupation in 1683 the bakers of the town celebrated the victory the next day by selling freshly baked bread rolls made into a crescent shape. Another culinary legend claims that the Kipferl was invented in Vienna after or during the siege of the city by the Ottoman Turks.

Some in the Arab world hold to an alternate Muslim origin story for the kipferl. In this account, the croissant is thought to originate from the feteer meshaltet, a flaky, layered pastry known to the Egyptians since the Eighteenth Dynasty (c.1292 BCE or earlier). During the Mamluk period (1250–1517 CE), a crescent-shaped variant of feteer meshaltet called "feteer halali" (crescent feteer) emerged and spread to Europe and France, where it became known as the croissant.[4][5][6]


An early 1990s Hungarian pop group, Kifli, was named after this bakery specialty.

See also


  1. Kifli
  2. definition Archived 2009-07-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Kipfel, entry in their Deutsches Wörterbuch
  4. عبدالقادر, اسراء (June 8, 2017). "حكاية أكلة.."الفطير المشلتت" من قرابين لآلهة الفراعنة لأكلة "الصباحية"". اليوم السابع. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  5. Amira (May 24, 2013). "Egyptian Feteer Meshaltet". Amira's Pantry. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  6. Marzouk, Sarah (February 12, 2017). "A Brief History of Fiteer, Egypt's Pizza-Like Pastry". The Culture Trip. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
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