Yemenite Honeycomb Bread (Khaliat Al Nahl)

READY IN: 3hrs


  • 3 12
  • 14
    cup warm milk
  • 2
    teaspoons yeast
  • 14
    cup sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon salt
  • 6
    tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1
  • 2
    tablespoons unsweetened yogurt
  • 12 - 23
  • 8
    ounces cheese (kiri cheese or 8 oz. cream cheese cut into 48 pieces)
  • 1
    tablespoon milk, for the wash
  • sesame seeds (both white and black seeds)
  • 2
    cups sugar
  • 1
    cup water
  • 1
    tablespoon honey
  • 1
    tablespoon orange blossom water


  • Activate the yeast by adding it to ¼ cup warm milk. Then add in the sugar, salt, flour, yogurt, egg, butter, ¼ cup sugar, and water. Add the water in slowly and stop when the dough is smooth but not too sticky to work with. Knead for about 15 minutes until smooth.
  • Let the dough rise for about 1 hour in a warm place. If it is cold in your house, try placing in the oven (not turned on).
  • Grease a 14 inch round baking pan or 2 smaller baking pans if you prefer. Separate the dough into 48 equal sized pieces. I do this by first splitting it into 3 equal pieces then splitting each piece in half to make six, then in half again to make 12, 24, 48 etc.
  • Cut the cheese into 48 pieces also. I used 12 kiri cheeses which I cut each into 4 smaller pieces. Take a piece of the dough and flatten it out. Then place a piece of cheese inside. Pinch it closed with your fingers and roll it into a smooth ball.
  • Place it into the prepared pan. Continue with the rest of the dough until you have finished. You need to leave about ½ space between the dough balls to allow room for them to rise. Cover and let rise until doubled in size for 1-1.5 hours.
  • Paint the tops of the dough with 1 tablespoons milk. Then sprinkle black and white sesame seeds on top. Place in preheated 375 F oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • In the meantime prepare the sugar syrup by heating 2 cups sugar an 1 cup water over medium high heat. Let it boil for 5-10 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoons of orange blossom water. (You can also substitute the flavor of your choice).
  • Remove the buns from the oven and pour the sugar syrup on the top.