Baking our Cinnamon Boolkas


We recently shared some photos of our gorgeous cinnamon boolkas! When we were bombarded with messages asking for the recipe, we decided to share it with you!

This recipe is so special to us because it has been passed down from family. From a young age, I can always remember my grandma Rita’s boolkas, these delicious cinnamon buns have their roots in our Jewish South African heritage.

For me, boolkas always remind me of my family, traditions & sharing in special occasions together.  It is one of the reasons baking means so much to me, it is an experience more than just mixing a few ingredients together, it is a celebration of memories that are made from the smells, tastes & the family & friends we share these delicious foods with that help us to continue to create more memories.

Until I moved over to San Francisco, far away from my grandparents, it was always my grandma’s job to make our family her delicious boolkas. Now, on the other side of the world, I set myself the challenge to do her proud by making them here at SoBakeable & I think she would be so happy with the outcome! We’re making new memories in the SoBakeable kitchen all rooted from her delicious recipe.

With her permission, we’re so glad that we can share this recipe with our SoBakeable Community & help you create more beautiful & delicious memories with your family & friends.

Boolkas are like cinnamon buns, made of soft dough, sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar, wrapped tightly, & topped with farfel (crumble topping).

These boolkas are extra special because they are made with fresh yeast. I have tried to make them with dried yeast & they were just not the same! The fresh yeast makes the dough so soft in texture & so easy to work with, as my grandma says, the secret is “not to make the dough too stiff.”

Fresh yeast can be hard to come by, but here in San Francisco, we buy our fresh yeast at Rainbow Grocery. If you have trouble finding it, try my grandma Rita’s trick – ask your local bakery if you can purchase a small amount of the yeast they use for bread baking. They’ll often just give it to you free of charge.

The Recipe:

This recipe makes about 20 – 24 boolkas.

For this recipe, your dough will need to be left overnight to rise, so be sure to start a day ahead.

Medium size bowl
Large bowl
Muffin Pan
Rolling Pin
Round cookie cutter (the size of the base of your muffin pan)

Day 1:

1 fresh yeast cube (42g or 1.48oz)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
A little warm water

To prove that the yeast will rise, crumb the yeast cube in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with the sugar, flour & enough warm water to form a soft paste. Leave in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.

250g/ 8.82oz butter
1 can of evaporated milk (354ml/12oz)
1⁄2 cup milk
6 1⁄2 cup flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs


In a pot melt the butter. Then add the evaporated milk & the fresh milk. The mixture should be lukewarm (be sure it is not too hot & not too cold).

Add this mixture to the yeast mixture.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Make a well in the center & add the eggs & the yeast/milk mixture.

Stir the dough with a wooden spoon until it is mixed well and thoroughly combined. Cover with a  dishcloth & a heavy towel and leave in a warm place to rise overnight. Make sure your bowl has enough headroom for your dough to expand, or alternatively split your dough into 2 bowls, leaving enough space for each to rise.


Day 2:

Extra butter/oil for greasing

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cinnamon

Add the sugar & cinnamon to a small bowl. Mix together until combined.

85g/3oz butter
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup flour

Using a pastry blender or your hard, mix the butter, sugar & flour together until crumbs form. It should look like a crumble topping.

1 extra egg beaten

Preheat your oven to 190C/ 375F.

Butter, oil or spray your muffin pan so that your boolkas won’t stick.

To begin with, cut off a piece of dough & roll it out thinly. Using your cookie cutter, cut out about 20-24 circles. These will be the bases of each of your boolkas. Line your muffin pan with 12 & then set the others aside to line your muffin pan once each batch is done baking.


Split your dough into 4 pieces. Each piece should make about 12 boolkas.

Roll each piece of dough out thinly, into a rectangle shape. Sprinkle your cinnamon sugar mixture evenly & generously across your entire rectangle of dough. Starting from the narrower end of your rectangle, roll the dough up like a swiss roll. Then, using a sharp knife, slice into pieces about the height of your muffin pan. Place each piece on to of the bases you placed into your muffin pan earlier. Place your boolkas in a warm place & allow to rise to double the original size.

Once doubled in size, brush with a beaten egg & sprinkle with your fearful crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden in color.


Continue until all of your dough has been used up.


Enjoy this delicious treat!


This makes a lot of boolkas! We like to share them, but you can also freeze them once cooled to room temperature & take them out next time guests pop around!

Chloe & the SoBakeable Team

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