My husband’s family has some Romanian ancestry. One of the family’s favorite holiday recipes is kiefla is a Romanian sweet bread filled with yummy pecans. It is a Christmas tradition to eat kiefla in my husband’s family, so I guess I should not have been surprised yesterday when I asked him what he wanted to have for Christmas breakfast that kiefla was his reply. 🙂
I have eaten kiefla lots of times over the years, but this was my first attempt at making it. I was a little reluctant because when it comes to making bread dough rise, I prefer my bread maker. It’s just so easy. However, I agreed to make it and guess what…it turned out great! You should definitely give it a try…it’s not just a Christmas recipe!
Here’s how I did it:
Here’s what you need:
Kiefla Dough Ingredients
2 3/4 c milk
1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2 pkg dry yeast
6 (ish) c flour (I will explain below)
1 pinch baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
Kiefla Filling Ingredients
1 pound finely chopped pecans
3/4 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
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How to Make Your Kiefla
In a saucepan, scald the milk, then pour it into a large glass or metal bowl.
Add butter and sugar.
Stir and then let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm.
Next stir in the egg yolks, then add the dry ingredients.
The dough should be soft-not too stiff, but not very sticky. If it is too stiff you can add a tiny bit of warm water or milk to soften it up. Only add a tiny bit at a time-you can always add more, but once you have added liquid, you can’t take it out.
If the dough is too sticky, like the picture below, add a tsp or so of flour at a time until it is a good consistency. (I think all total I probably used closer to 7 c flour, but it is better if you start w/ 6 cups and add more if you need it than for you to over do it.)
Miss M was helping me bake and while I was taking pictures of the steps of making kiefla, she decided to photobomb… 🙂
Once the dough is prepared, warm your oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off.
Lay a clean dish towel over the top of the bowl and place it in the warmed oven so that the dough can rise (this will take about an hour). It should nearly double in size.
While the dough is in the oven rising, crush your pecans.
Then just prepare the nut mixture (see nut mixture directions later in this recipe) and then set the mixture aside…easy peasy!
Once the dough has risen, flour your hands and a wooden board or counter top (so that the dough doesn’t stick).
Divide your dough into four sections.
Roll out one section at a time into a long narrow rectangle-ish shape. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it will need to roll up uniformly after you spread the nut mixture on it, so try to keep the width pretty equal all the way across. Once rolled out, the dough should be roughly 1/4 inch thick. Spread about 1/4 of the nut mixture on each rolled out piece of dough.
After the nut mixture is spread out on the dough, roll the dough to make one long loaf (it will be a little smaller than a loaf of french bread, but similar in shape).
Once it is rolled, just pinch the edges closed so that it looks a lil’ something like this…
Place two loaves on cookie sheet that has been prepared with cooking spray.
Brush the top of each loaf with beaten egg (one egg will take care of all four loaves).
Place the loaves in the oven and then preheat the oven to 325 (the idea being they will rise a touch more while the oven preheats….don’t think that step is too critical though because my oven heats up in only a minute or two). I usually bake two loaves at a time. Seriously…you can’t wait to try it now, can you? We’re almost there!
*Baking time will vary. My oven always cooks fast and it only took 15 minutes. My mother-in-law bakes it for 45 minutes. You are familiar with how your own oven cooks…just check it frequently the first time you make it.
When it is done, the top should be browned-ish (due to the egg on top it’s sort of a brownish-orange, I guess. The underside of the loaf should be browned. This recipe makes four loaves.
I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas. We’ve enjoyed a nice little Christmas day at home today. The extended family Christmas shin-dig isn’t til Saturday-so for today our mid-day meal was easy. I made a beef roast in the slow cooker for French Dip Au Jus Sandwiches and my husband made sweet potato fries to go with them. We are getting ready to have Grasshopper Dessert now, and then a little later tonight we will have Butterscotch Haystacks for a bedtime treat! Merry Christmas!
See you next time!