Saturday, December 14, 2013

Khaliat Nahal - Honeycomb buns - We knead to Bake 9

With this post I would have caught up with the members of the We Knead to Bake group who have tried all of the eleven breads so far and shared them. We are all working on our twelfth bread for December and will post that on the set date as was with every month of the year, the 24th.
Our bread baking experience has inspired more members to join and we are also taking it into the year 2014. Aparna, our mentor has graciously accepted to guide us through. I am sure this has kindled your curiosity and you are looking forward to more wonderful breads.
By September, I did not have to excuse myself  from baking the bread as my house was fully functional and I was very much back in routine. Then we took our vacation and flew home; that followed by some important festivals and all that I forgot to post this recipe albeit even if not on schedule. During the following few weeks, my daughter suggested that we try various fillings and so this bread had become a regular feature.
Khaliat Nahal can be made with sweet as well as savoury fillings. What is special of this bread is that it is filled, baked and then covered with sugar glaze, typical of the Middle Eastern confectionery. the glaze is not for the savoury buns though.
The Arabic word Khaliat al Nahal translates to Bee's Hive in English. These buns are baked in a round pan, closely placed to bring out the shape that resembles the bee's hive. Traditionally, the filling for this bread is a small piece of plain cream cheese. I have filled them with cheese and sauté ed bell pepper for the savoury version. for the sweet version we did two different fillings, one that of sweetened grated coconut and the other of chopped dates with walnuts. The ideas are as varied and you may use any filling of choice.
The recipe given by Aparna would make 18 small buns and would have to be baked in a 9" round cake tin. I had halved the recipe and made both versions that I baked in smaller tins, each having 9 buns on my first trial. For the dates and walnut filling session I worked out so as to yield 12 buns and baked in a 71/2" round tin.

Khaliat Nahal - Honeycomb/ Bee hive buns

(for 18 buns)
1 cup luke warm milk
11/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar for the sweet bread (omit for savoury bread)
1/4 teaspoon salt (for the sweet bread)/ 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt (for the savoury bread)
40 grams butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk for brushing the dough
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds (optional for savoury bread)

For the filling:
Sweet cocnut filling ( For 18 buns)
1 cup of freshly grated cocnut
1/3 cup sugar (reduce if you do not like the buns too sweet)
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon ghee/ coconut oil

Savoury filling ( this is for 18 buns)
3 medium bellpeppers
1/2 cup processed cheese
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Sugar syrup/ Glaze
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
A pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lime juice

Melt 40 grams of butter in a pan and allow it to cool to room temperature.
For the sweet bread, place 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar and the melted butter in a bowl/ the bowl of your processor.
Mix them well.
Combine the warm milk and the yeast in a small bowl. allow it to proof for about 10 minutes.
Add this to the flour mix and knead either by hand or using the processor until you achieve a smooth and elastic dough. this dough shall not be sticky.
Add just as much required of the remaining 1/2 cup all purpose flour and knead to achive the above consistency.
Shape the dough in a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl, turning it around to coat the dough with oil on all sides.
Cover and allow it to double in volume for about an hour.
For the savoury bread, do not add the sugar to the dough. You may want to add a little sugar to the yeast for it to proof.
Proceed as given above and allow the dough to rise.
While the dough is rising, prepare the fillings and keep ready.

Place a heavy bottom or non stick pan on the stove. Add the sugar and the coconut and cook. the sugar will melt and the moisture in the coconut will allow them to combine well. Do not cook it until dry. Allow for it to stay moist, so that you are able to gather it in a soft ball.
Add the cardamom powder and give this a toss with the ghee.
Remove from the heat and keep aside to cool.

For the date and walnut filling, I chopped them both somewhat fine and gathered in a loose ball. 

Wash and chop the bell peppers in fine pieces.
Heat the oil in a pan. Stir fry the peppers in the oil and sprinkle very little water, if absolutely necessary.
Add some salt and the garam masala. Cook until the peppers are just about soft.
Remove from the heat. Allow to cool and mix with grated cheese. I had on hand Amul processed cheese which I grated and used with the above.

Once the dough has doubled, turn it on to your work surface. The dough will be quite manageable that you will not need flour dusting on the surface.
Roll the dough in a long strip and cut out 18 small equal portions.

Flatten each piece in a circular shape, place a small amount of filling in the centre and cover with the dough. Roll this in small balls. Arrange them in a circular pattern in your baking dish eaving very little space in between.
Once all the dough has been filled, rolled back and arranged, cover the tray and allow the buns a second rise for bout 30 minutes to 40 minutes.
Brush milk on the top of the buns.
Bake this in a pre heated 180 Degrees C/ 350 Degrees F oven for 25 minutes until they are done and nicely golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven, cool and transfer on to a wire rack.
Make the sugar syrup ahead while you have put the dough for the first rise only, in order that the syrup is cool when you need it.
for this, put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. turn the heat down and allow it to simmer until it thickens a bit.
Remove from the heat and add the juice of lime and the honey and mix well.
Allow this to cool completely.
Once the buns are on the wire rack and still hot enough, pour the sugar syrup over them. It will be easy if you place the wire rack with the buns over a plate to allow the syrup that will drip to collect in it.
For the savoury buns, if you are using the sesame seeds, sprinkle them on top soon after brushing with the milk just before they go into the oven for baking.
Check this post in Aparna's My diverse Kitchen and head to the other members' posts following the links.


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.