> Skip to content

Recipe  •  1 April 2024



Learn how to made a traditional Balkan baked treat.

Somewhere between a fancy hotel dinner roll and a croissant, kifli are a vital part of Balkan baking. The union of butter and sesame drifting out of the gaps in the oven gives me the same olfactory memory as my best friend's mum, Bhapinder, toasting her infamous chapatis, or the warmth coming from the tortilla factory near my house in Brooklyn. It's precious how these familiar smells can spark so much affection, no matter the cuisine.

Makes: 12 rolls


  • 700ml (3½fl oz) full-fat milk
  • 7g (¼oz) packet fast action yeast
  • ½ tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 450g (1Ib) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 700ml (3½fl oz) full-fat plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs plus 2 yolks
  • 90g (3¼oz) butter at room temperature
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Gently heat the milk until it's lukewarm to touch - be careful to not overheat it or it will kill the yeast. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm milk in a jug. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 10-15 minutes or until frothy.

  2. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and pour over the yeast mixture. Stir to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Gradually add the yogurt, 1 of the whole eggs and 200ml (7fl oz) lukewarm water and bring the dough together with your hands.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worksurface and knead for 70 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and a tea towel and place in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.

  4. Turn the dough out onto the worksurface once more and knead for a further 70 minutes. Set aside.

  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350° F/Gas 4). Place a deep baking tray in the bottom of the oven and half fill with hot water; this will create steam and perfect the texture of the bread.

  6. Divide the dough in 2 and roll each half into a circle measuring around 28cm (11in). Mix 40g (1½oz) of the butter with the remaining 2 whole eggs and brush this all over each dough circle.

  7. Cut each circle into 6 even triangles and add a dollop of the remaining butter to the centre of each triangle.

  8. Carefully roll each triangle from the outside of the circle towards the centre to make a shape similar to a croissant. Ensure they are as tightly rolled as possible - they tend to try to pop open when they bake, so use a little extra egg to seal if needed.

  9. Transfer the kifli onto a well-oiled baking sheet and brush with the egg yolks, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Feature Title

Join Spasia Dinkovski on an evocative journey across North Macedonia
Read more

More features

See all recipes
Cucumber, Pickled Wild Garlic Oil, Thick Yogurt, Walnuts, and Honey

A healthy and mouth-watering traditional North Macedonian dish, packed with flavour.


Learn how to perfect a delicious burek. You can swap out the minced meat for any other ingredients!

Double Chocolate and Hazelnut Quinola

Who said delicious dessert had to be unhealthy?

Baked Spiced Aubergine with Hummus Mint and Pomegranate

A scrumptious eggplant with a marinade packed full of flavour.

Chermoula Chicken with Papaya

A delicious chicken with a tasty traditional North African marinade.

Fitwaffle's Lemon Cheesecake

Finished with whipped cream and plenty of lemon zest this easy no-bake cheesecake is one to whip up on warm summer days.

Fitwaffle's Cinnamon Swirl Mug Cake

Fans of cinnamon rolls will love this easy mug cake from Fitwaffle, made in the microwave this simple sweet treat is ready in minutes.

Fitwaffle's Cookies and Cream-Stuffed Brownies

These moreish chocolate brownies have a hidden layer of Oreo cookies in every bite, adding an unexpected but very welcome crunch.

Fitwaffle's Chocolate Egg Cheesecake

Perfect for a low-effort Easter dessert, this no-bake cheesecake can be whipped up in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to be served.

The Best Swedish Meatballs

These Swedish meatballs are made from scratch, full of flavour, and smothered with a rich and creamy sauce everyone—even your picky eaters—will like. Try them served over over egg noodles or rice for a warm, hearty meal.

Creamy Zuppa Toscana

This is a hearty and creamy soup made with bacon, sausage, kale, and all sorts of delicious seasonings. It's the perfect combination of flavours that will warm you up on a chilly day.

Roasted corn and elderflower iced tea

You can get Korean roasted corn tea from Asian supermarkets or online – it tastes a little like drinking popcorn.

Looking for more recipes?

See all recipes