Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pitka "Kifli" ( Butter bread)

Pitka Kifli1

In Bulgaria we celebrate the first steps a child takes and honestly to me, that's a big of deal. Making the first steps, the beginning of the "exploration" phase in the child's life, it's huge and it deserves a celebration.

We celebrate it as a "coming of age" thing, but earlier version. All the relatives get invited, the oldest woman in the household ( or an unmarried one) makes a special bread ( pitka or pita) to be used as a part of the tradition. 

The mother provides a large, brand new sheet, that we put on the ground. On one end of the sheet she places different objects, symbolizing different professions ( a pen for a writer, a paintbrush for an artist etc). The mother of the toddler rolls the bread on the sheet ( in front of the child) and the child is supposed to run after it, until it reaches all the objects. Whatever she( or he) picks first, that's going to be her( his) profession. 

After that all the older children in the family grab a piece of the bread and run as fast as they can to all the neighbors and friend of the family. For that piece of bread they are given sweets and money in return. It's all good fun, until you have a child like my daughter- she caught the bread, sat on the ground and started eating it. :-) LoL

Anyway, this is a recipe that is often used for this tradition ( but not always) and I got it from an online friend called Morena. I am sharing it with you not because of this tradition but because it is absolutely delicious bread. As a matter of fact I made it for the " Turn Off TV night" at our school today and by the time I came back to check on was all gone, so it must have been good. :-)

Pitka "Kifli" 
( Butter bread or "The bread of the hundred times", as some call it)

You will need:

300 ml milk
5 tbsp yogurt
4 tbsp oil ( preferably olive or sunflower)
2 tsp dry yeast
3 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
6 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg for brushing


Preheat the oven at 350 F and grease a 9 inch( or 10 inch) baking pan*. 
- If mixing with a mixer or by hand
1. Sift the dry ingredients together. 
2. Mix the eggs, sugar, milk, yogurt and oil together. 
3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture little by little until you get a kneadable and pliable dough. Let it rise for 15-20 minutes.

- If mixing with a breadmaker:
1. Mix the eggs, sugar, milk, yogurt and oil in the kneading pan. 
2. Add the dry ingredients, then add the dry yeast last. 
3. Mix on the longer dough program of your machine. 

 4. After the first rise, get the dough and hit it on the counter a 100 times. You can use a table or some place else that you've cleaned beforehand. Grease the surface, so  the dough doesn't stick. It sounds bizarre, but believe me that simple thing makes the difference in the taste.

5. Make three balls out of the dough and roll out each one of them on a dough sheet with a rolling pin. Each sheet has to be wider than the bottom of the pan you are going to be baking the bread in. 

6. Brush butter on top of each sheet then put them one on top of the other, like cake layers. Then cut them in 16 pieces ( see the picture).
Pitka Kifli22  Pitka Kifli23

 7. Roll each triangular piece in a crescent shape. When you roll all of them, place them in a circle in the greased pan.  
Pitka Kifli25
8. Let the dough rise until it reaches the end of the baking pan, then brush with the egg and put it in the oven. 
Pitka Kifli27
9. Bake for 40 minutes on 350 F or until golden on the outside and completely baked on the inside. 

Pitka Kifli3

10. When it's ready take it out of the oven, cover it with a wet piece of cloth and let it stand for at least 5 minutes then take it out of the pan.  Let it cool down for at least 40 minutes before cutting. 
* Sometimes I use a spring form for baking and it works wonderful, because it's easy to take the bread out without breaking it. 




  1. Wow a net tradition. :) which profession did this predict for your kids?

  2. Well, Kalin grabbed the calculator and paintbrush at the same time, so I figured an architect maybe. :-) Ellie got the screwdriver, which was hardware engineer. LoL By the way I got the screwdriver when I was little too. :-)

  3. My husband is Bulgarian a few years ago we had traditional Bulgarian Christmas and Easter Dinner w/my in-laws. This year they are back to Bulgarian and it's my turn to continue the tradition and it would be nice for the kids too. I'm debating of making Kozunak or Pitka but I'm leaning towards to Pitka just because my husband is not into sweet at all not like me. Thank you for the very informative recipe, I'm looking forward on making this on Sunday.

  4. Yoyi77, I am really glad you like it! Just on a side note, you know that Bulgarian Easter this year is on April 15th, right? If you are looking for traditional dinner to serve, lamb is very popular around Easter ( the months of April and May) in Bulgaria. Here is a recipe you can use:
    I hope that helps,

  5. Thank you for the information, it sure helps. We are celebrating it this Sunday following Roman Catholic Calendar because my kids and I are. So it's somewhat halfway, more like our family tradition and my husband is okey w/it. But the most important thing is it always evolves w/the family, that's what I liked in Bulgarians and exactly the same as my heritage, I'm Filipino. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful blog looking forward for more :-)

  6. You are very welcome! Have a very happy Easter! :-)

  7. is it okay to eat cold and not warm? as in does it still taste good. brining it in to fourth period for a bulgarian project

  8. do you have a website about this little tradition that it performed with the bread. pictures of the table with all the tools , or just the tradition in general. need it tonight so i can be all done for my bulgarian project!! I just can't find any pictures. Serving the bread to my classmates tomarrow!!

  9. What is the name for this tradition that is done? Can't find anything about it!! Need to..

  10. Hi Anonymous, yes, it does taste good cold as well. There are many different kinds of breads that you can do with the Bulgarian tradition, it is not this one in particular, have that in mind. This bread is made for many other occasions( or just as everyday bread) as well.
    The tradition is Proshtapulnik, and no, I have no pictures that are public and can share with you. However, if you Google the tradition, more information will be available for you to review. Please, have in mind, that pictures and content on Internet are not free for use, even if they are for a school project and you have to ask for a permission to use them from the author. Give credit where credit is due as a common courtesy is also a nice way to recognize somebody's time and effort put in such a project. Good luck with the project, I am sure your classmates and teacher will be impressed.


  11. Hi Annie,
    This post is wonderful - thank you very mnuch for the recipe! I am Romanian and we have a similar tradition when the baby turns 1. Our tradition refers to "the first cutting of the hair". On the baby's 1st birthday, we also make a "colac" (looks like a braided bread), if it's a boy, we break the bread over his head with family and friends and the godmother simbolically cuts a lock of hair. If it's a girl, the godmother raises her three times towards the upper part of a doorframe and makes wishes for her wellbeing, happiness, beauty and then we break the bread. The godmother then offers the tot a tray filled with objects (pen, mirror, Bible, ball, comb, jewellery, maybe a musical instrument, a flower) and whatever three objects the baby picks, those are said to mark his/her path in life... So wonderful to find similar customs in neighbouring cultures! :-) All the best and again thank you for this recipe! Roxana

  12. Hi Roxana, this is really awesome! I also have a bread called colac and we also celebrate the first haircut of a baby! How cool is that! Thanks for stopping by,

  13. ciao, nn so ma qui nn ci sono forni che anno a 350!!! come si fa?? io di questi forni a dire il vero nn ne ho mai visti un massimo si 250....ciao grazie

  14. Questa temperatura forno รจ in Farenhight, non Celsius. Forni europei sono in gradi Celsius, forni americani sono in Farenhight.
    350F sarebbe di 180 gradi Celsius. Spero che questo aiuta.


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