Monday, 23 September 2013

Khaliat Nahal - Middle Eastern Honey Comb Bread - Sweet and Savoury Versions

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. Traditionally, the filling used in this bread is a small piece of plain cream cheese. I have used some Cheddar Cheese in one batch and made the other batch without any filling

You can choose to do any filling of your choice. As I mentioned before, a cream cheese filling is traditional. But you can play around with options. I sued Cheddar cheese. You can use veggies or Paneer as well. As for the syrup, traditionally as soon as the bread comes out of the oven, pour the prepared syrup. I wanted to make an all in one bread. So I kept the stuffing neutral - just cheese. No spices. I made the bread with a little salt and a little sugar. Not as sweet as the sweet version. And served the sugar syrup as a dip along with some soup. So both in the same bake right?

Sugary Goodness! This one is a bread bite with sugar syrup poured all over. It was soooo good. I would highly recommend trying the sugar syrup with this bread.


For the dough
Lukewarm milk 1 cup
Fast acting Instant yeast 1.5 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp *
Strong White Bread Flour (or all purpose flour) 325gms (2.5 cups)
Salt 3/4 tsp *
Butter, melted and cooled 40 gms
Milk for brushing the dough 2 tbsp
White sesame seeds for sprinkling on top 2 tbsp

Note : If making as just sweet bread, use 3tbsp of sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt. I made it with 1 tsp sugar and 3/4 tsp salt.

For the filling
Cheddar Cheese - about 80gms, a very small bit per bread. I stuffed only 1/2 the above recipe.

Sugar Syrup/ Glaze
Sugar 1/4 cup
Water 3 tbsp
Saffron a pinch
Honey 1 tsp
Lemon juice 1/2 tsp

Method of Preparation

1. Add flour (reserve 1/2 cup and add as required), yeast, sugar, salt and butter in the mixing bowl. Mix well. If using active dry yeast, proof it using the warm milk.

2. Add the milk and combine till well kneaded. Add the reserved flour as needed. I used the whole 2.5 cups of flour.

3. 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. Work with 1 half keeping the other covered. 

5. With your palms, roll out each half a rope. The size of each piece and the number depends on what size tray you are using and how many circles you are going for. I made mine in 2 small 7" sandwich tins. So each portion I divided into 19 small balls. It will be very small balls. Once baked it was the size of a small lemon. 

And oh, I weighed the dough, divided into half. Then just divided the weight with 19 to get the weight of each portion. Was easier that way for me.

6. Flatten each ball and add a piece of cheese or any stuffing of your choice. Cover and make into a ball. Roll it within your palm.

7. Place the balls in a baking tray in a pattern. I did one in a centre, 6 around it, then placed another layer on the top, trying to align with the middle and top.

8. Let it rise for a second time for about  30 min.

9. Brush on the top with milk. Sprinkle some sesame seeds.

10. Bake for about 25-30 min till the top is browned.

11. Let it rest for 5 min and then cool on a wire rack.

Serve with some soup or drenched in sugar syrup

Sugar Syrup : To make the syrup, in a pan heat the sugar and water with the saffron till warmed and sugar is dissolved. Switch off and add the honey and lemon juice. 

 It is baked as part of the group 'We Knead to Bake'. We are baking a bread a month with the recipes from Aparna and having a blast! Here is this month's link


  1. Softy and very attractive honey comb buns..

  2. We loved them at home too and these look so cute and yumm.

  3. what gorgeous bread :) you have done it so well :) looks so soft too

  4. You have made it so well Roshni. I just cannot my eyes off the bread. It indeed looks like a honey comb to me.

  5. That looks super awesome..... wonderful recipe dear