Rongyos kifli – Hungarian croissant

Rongyos kifli is actually a Hungarian croissant, a quicker, simpler and rustic version of the classic French croissant. It’s crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, the flaky layers shatter as you bite into it. Rongyos kifli is made with a yeast leavened dough that has been laminated with butter, but lamination is carried out not by folding, but stacking layers onto each other.

The original recipe of rongyos kifli was published in 1840. In that recipe the dough was folded, but later housewives tended to laminate the dough by preparing separate layers and placing them onto each other. The butter is softened so it can be spread on each layer evenly. Rongyos kifli is always bent into a crescent shape.

This recipe will yield 12-16 Hungarian croissants depending on how big pieces you want to make. Rolling out the layered dough needs a large work surface, kitchen counter won’t be enough, it’s recommended doing it on a big table.

Rongyos kifli - Hungarian croissant
Rongyos kifli – photo: zserbo.com

Ingredients:

  • 170 ml (~2/3 cup +1 tbsp) milk
  • 50 g fresh yeast (5 tsp dry yeast)
  • 20 g (~ 1 2/3 tbsp) sugar
  • 600 g (~4 3/4 cups +1 tbsp) all purpose flour
  • 140 g (~1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) yogurt
  • 5 g (~1 tsp) salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 g (3/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp) butter, softened
  • 1 egg for the egg wash

Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm milk.

Sift flour in a bowl, add yogurt, salt, two eggs and activated yeast. Knead by hand or in a stand mixer until smooth. If the dough is a bit sticky, add a little flour to get the right consistency. Cover and place it in the fridge for 50 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Form balls and let them rest for 5 minutes. Roll out the first piece into a 25 cm / 10″ circle. Spread 1/7 of the butter on top of the dough and set aside. Roll out the next dough ball into a circle of the same size, put it on the first layer and spread butter all over. Repeat until you have a laminated dough of 8 layers stacked onto each other and separated by butter (the last layer isn’t spread).

Roll out the dough into a thin circle and cut into 12-16 parts. Roll up the triangles and form them into a crescent shape. Place them onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Make sure the tip of the croissant triangle is placed under the croissant. Cover and let the croissants rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F. Brush slightly beaten egg on top of the croissants and bake them for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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