This moth for WE KNEAD TO BAKE Aparna set us a relatively easy bake KhaliatNahal (Honeycomb Buns or Bee’s Hive Buns).
The bread that can be made sweet or savoury. It is typical of Middle Eastern confectionery that it is filled and then covered with sugar syrup/ glaze which is typical of Middle Eastern confectionery.
As usual Aparna has been through and has said that,” Khaliat al Nahal (also known as KhaliatNahal) 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.”
The Yield is 18 smallish buns, in case you halve the recipe then 6” or 7” round cake tin to bake. These could be baked individually in muffin tins but then the “honeycomb” pattern is lost.”
Traditionally, the filling used in this bread is a small piece of plain cream cheese but Aparna gave us a choice of filling, sweet or savoury.
I had made a mixture of paneer, onions, garlic and Italian seasoning and was thinking of adding salt at the last moment. Then the sleeping brain cells woke up and I realised that adding salt and then poofing the mix with onions will give me soggy bread so I hurriedly changed my stuffing.
KhaliatNahal (Honeycomb Buns or Bee’s Hive Buns)
For the dough:
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 1/2 tsp active 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) sweet or savoury
I made the Savoury version so I used
½ cup crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese,
2 Cauliflower florets
1 red capsicum that had seen better days
Red chilli powder
Just mix and set aside.
- Melt the butter and then collect all your ingredients. By the time you collect your ingredients the butter will cool down.
- Mix 2 cups of the flour, salt and melted butter in the bowl.mix well.
- Add the sugar and milk and heat to lukewarm then add the yeast. Stir well. Set aside for 10 minutes or till you see the bubbling yeast.
- Add this to the flour mixture and knead till you get a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky. Adding as much needed of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need to get the consistency of bread dough. I needed all of 2 1/2 cups of flour.
- Shape the dough in a ball and l 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.
- Grease a 9” round cake tin.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface in my case the kitchen platform.
- I did not need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it was.
- Cut the dough into 2 halves. Then use your palms and roll out each half a “rope” about 9” long. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.
- Now take 1 of the 18 pieces and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre.
- Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into a round ball.
- Place in the cake tin. Repeat with the rest of the balls .
- Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.
- Cover the cake tin 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 the buns. (Not 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.
- Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.
- Serve them warm with tea/ coffee
We had ours with Vary ache Soup.
Now this bread can be made sweet too. If you want to make the sweet version then the fillings are traditionally cream cheese or any other filing of your choice like chocolate, dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit, sweetened coconut filling, etc.
You will need the Sugar Syrup/ Glaze to pour on top of the bread.
Sugar Syrup/ Glaze:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- A pinch of saffron
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp lime/ lemon juice
Aparna says, “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.
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.
Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit then serve.”
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