Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Khaliat Nahal{Honeycomb Buns} ~ We Knead to Bake #9

Having missed the last month's bake,I was eager to know what Aparna would challenge us to bake this month.Though the name sounds a bit complicated,the recipe is quite simple.A plain dinner roll kind of buns,filled with a sweet or savoury filling and baked in a round pan which after baking resembles a honeycomb,hence the name.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns
Khaliat Nahal translates as Bee's Hive in Arabic,owing to the appearance of the buns.The buns are baked closed to each other in a round pan where they form a honey comb like pattern.Traditionally,these buns are made sweet with a cream cheese filling and covered with a sugar syrup or glaze after baking,which is typical of many Middle Eastern confectionery.

The recipe makes 18 small sized buns,you could easily halve the recipe to make 9-10 buns and bake in a 6' or 7' round tin.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns
The filling is entirely up to your choice.I was intrigued with the idea of a sweet filling and the pouring of sugar syrup after the buns are baked so went with that.Keeping in mind the middle eastern origin,I used a coconut-nut filling which is a family favorite of ours.Remember Dilkush buns?

The day I decided to bake these buns was incidentally one of the warmest days in a while here,so the only problem I faced was the dough getting risen fast.and I mean real fast.As I was filling the buns one by one and placing in the pan,I could feel the earlier ones already beginning to rise hence you can see my bread has risen in a lopsided manner:)
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns
The texture however was absolutely wonderful.Soft,airy and pillowy these buns were finished in a splash.I love buns with sweet fillings and this one has become a favorite now,especially owing to the ease of making the simple dough.Only thing I would do next time is probably refrigerate the dough after the first rise,that'd delay the rise as I finish off with the filling.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns
Khaliat Nahal (Honeycomb Buns or Bee’s Hive Buns)
Recipe source - Aparna
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, apricots or 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

Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
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. Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
Run a couple of times to mix well.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
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. 
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need to get this consistency of bread dough. I used all of 2 1/2 cups of flour for mine.
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.

Meanwhile,make the filling.I just went with a free hand with the ingredients,you can add more/less nuts or sugar according to your choice.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
In a pan add about 1 tbsp ghee and saute cashewnuts and raisins(about 2 tbsp full).
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
Mix in about 2 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp grated coconut and saute for a minute.Add 2-3 seedless dates chopped fine.Keep aside to cool.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
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. 
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
With your palms, roll out each half a “rope” about 9” long. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
Take each piece 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. 
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
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.
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.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns 
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.
Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Buns
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. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.


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