Buttery Rolls with Ricotta Cheese Filling (Kifle)

The recipe for these rolls comes from a Serbian blog called foodforthought; there are English translations but I hope to simplify the recipe for you. They are incredibly tasty and not difficult to make. I used ricotta cheese for the filling but you can also use crumbled feta if you want a stronger flavor. Since my son doesn’t like cheese, I left half of them empty– those soulless vessels were delicious as well. Have you ever noticed how every bread or roll recipe tells you to “let cool completely”? I really don’t get that… why would you want to eat homemade rolls cold? My advice is eat them while they’re warm… even if you have to burn your tongue- they’re worth it!

3-4 cups all-purpose flour
2 t instant yeast
14 oz. milk, warmed
2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
2 T corn, canola or vegetable oil
2 egg yolks
1 t salt
1 stick of butter, room temperature
ricotta or feta
1 egg white, for glaze

In the bowl of a mixer, place 3 cups flour, the yeast and salt. Stir to combine. Add the milk, oil, sour cream and egg yolks and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together, adding more flour if necessary (the bare minimum needed). Divide the dough into 6 roughly equal parts and form into balls. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the first circle of dough into a 9″ or so circle (you don’t have to measure- no one is going to come along and whack you on the knuckles with a ruler if you aren’t precise….). Set aside and spread the circle of dough with some of the butter- you are going to need to ration the butter so that you can keep repeating this process with the remaining dough. Roll out the next piece of dough just like you did the first and stack it on top of the buttered round. Butter this circle of dough as well. Keep repeating this process until you get to the last piece of dough. This last piece will not have butter on top of it. You should have a stack of 6 dough circles with butter in between them.

 Lightly flour the top and roll out this circle very thin- about 1/8″. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the circle into 16 wedges. Place a little feta cheese or ricotta along the outer edge- the base of the wedge and roll it up very tightly, pulling the dough as you do so to make more layers. Place them on a baking sheet and let them rise for a couple of hours until nice and puffy. Brush each roll with the beaten egg white and bake at 400 for around 20 minutes until golden.

Note: you can make them up to the point of forming the crescents the night before and put them in the fridge well-covered before letting them rise the next day. Give them several hours longer to come to room temp. and then to rise before baking.

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