Bryndza Cheese Crescents

Last year I explored the history behind kiflicki, an ancient name for yeasted rolls that originated in the old Kingdom of Hungary centuries ago. Slovaks were part of the kingdom alongside other nations like Hungarians, Romanians, Croatians, Bosnians or Rusyns, so you’ll find variations on kiflicki in all these cuisines, albeit under slightly different names.

My search for kiflicki produced a recipe for Slovak maslové rožky or Butter Rolls with Poppy Seeds, which I now want to take further by implementing a unique Slovak cheese called bryndza. You can read about history of bryndza in A Taste of Slovakia book, where you’ll also find a few more recipes using the cheese as the main ingredient.

Don’t despair if you can’t get bryndza in your country. Replace it with any piquant cheese (preferably sheep’s milk) of crumbly or cream texture (Feta, Roquefort, or certain cottage cheeses).

bryndza cheese crescents

Bryndza Cheese Crescents
Makes 16

  • 500 g bread flour
  • 300 ml milk
  • 21 g fresh yeast*
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 125 g bryndza cheese (or any soft cheese)
  • 1 egg (yolk and white separated)
  • a pinch of salt and sugar for the dough
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill (optional), stalks removed
  • various seeds to sprinkle on top 
*If you can’t get fresh yeast, use the dry or instant one (21 g fresh = 7 g instant)

Method:

  1. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make sure you stir it well into the flour, so the salt doesn’t come in direct contact with yeast at the next stage.
  2. Heat the milk over a low heat until warm. Add a pinch of sugar and stir. Transfer half of the milk into a glass. Crumble the yeast into it and stir until it dissolves. Add a pinch of flour to kick-start fermentation and stir again. Cover the glass and leave in a warm place.
  3. When the yeast has risen up to the brim, pour all the contents of the glass onto the flour. Add the egg yolk, the cheese cut into pieces, the oil and the remaining milk.dough for bryndza crescents
  4. Knead by hand or in a food processor until you achieve a smooth, elastic dough. Cover with a dishtowel and leave to rest in a warm place for an hour.
  5. When the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it onto a floured rolling board.dough for bryndza crescents
  6. Divide the dough into halves and make two balls. Roll out each ball into a circle until the dough is about 5 mm thick. With a pastry wheel, cut each circle into quarters, then each quarter into halves, so you’ll end up with eight equal segments. You can scatter the chopped dill on the dough at this stage. With or without the dill, roll each segment in, starting from the outside, as seen in the photos below. Bend the rolls to make crescents. Dust the board, the dough and your fingers each time the dough feels too sticky to work with.
  7. Put the crescents on a baking tray (depending on the size, you’ll probably need two of them) lined with a piece of baking parchment. Glaze with the egg white and sprinkle with the seeds of your choice. I used ground caraway seeds, sesame seeds and paprika.
  8. Put in the oven preheated to 180ºC and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crescents turn golden brown.
  9. Take out of the oven and let cool down. Serve with a mug of buttermilk.
    bryndza cheese crescents
    Bryndza Cheese Crescents

    Bryndza Cheese Crescents can replace breadrolls at breakfast or snack time. Put your favourite spread on top, dip them in a sauce or dressing, or serve with a salad of fresh summer vegetables.

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