For October’s We Knead to Bake Aparna had selected Khaliat Nahal or Honeycomb Buns . Khaliat al Nahal (also known as Khaliat Nahal) translates as Bee’s Hive in Arabic. This is because the buns are baked close to each other in a round pan where they form a honeycomb like pattern. They’re traditionally made sweet and glazed with honey flavoured syrup, though savoury versions are also made.
This recipe makes 18 smallish buns, and if you want fewer you can halve the recipe to make about 9 or 10 buns. For half the recipe, use a 6” or 7” round cake tin to bake the Honeycomb Bread. You can also bake them individually in muffin tins if you prefer, except they would not have their characteristic “honeycomb” pattern.
Traditionally, the filling used in this bread is a small piece of plain cream cheese but here choice of filling is entirely up to you. You can make it sweet or savoury.
This is by far the softest bread I have ever made !!! And the kids really loved it … The bread disapperared real fast :)
My little one was so impatient to have the bread that he couldn’t wait till my photosession was over :)
Hubby too was real impressed but he wanted it to be a savoury filling the next time.. And I obliged by baking him a savoury version with chicken keema filling the next day :)
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar (for sweet bread)
- 3/4 to 1 tsp salt (for savoury bread) OR 1/4 tsp salt (for sweet bread)
- 40gm butter, melted
- 2 tbsp milk for brushing the dough
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds for sprinkling on top (optional; only for savoury bread)
FOR THE FILLING
1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice, either sweet or savoury
Savoury – cream cheese OR crumbled feta cheese OR crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese, flavoured according to your choice. You can also use any other savoury filling that you want. I used a combination of crumbled paneer, herbs, chilli flakes, a little garlic and chopped spring onion.
Sweet – cream cheese (traditional filling), or any other filing of your choice like chocolate, dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut filling, etc.
Sugar Syrup/ Glaze:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- A pinch of saffron
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp lime/ lemon juice
- Make sure your melted butter has cooled down a bit before using it. Put 2 cups of the flour, salt, sugar (if making the sweet bread only) and melted butter in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well.
- Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and keep for 5 minutes. Add this to the processor bowl and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky. Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need to get this consistency of bread dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat completely with the oil. Cover and let it rise till double in volume, for about an hour.
4. Turn the dough out onto your work surface. You won’t really need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it is. Cut it into 2 halves. With your palms, roll out each half a “rope” about 9” long.
8. Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.
9. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Don’t use the sesame seeds for sweet bread, only for the savoury one. Bake the buns at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top.
10. If you’re making the sweet version, make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed.
11. When the sweet buns come out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top of the “Honeycomb”. The bread should be hot and the syrup/ glaze should be cool. If you want your Honeycomb Buns to be less sweet, just brush the syrup/ glaze over the top. ( I skipped the honey in the recipe as kids do not prefer honey’s taste )
12. Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.
Here’s a good video to watch in case you think you need it. http://xawaash.com/?p=6593#sthash.WYkAg0DL.dpbs