Yemenite Honeycomb Bread (Khaliat Al Nahl)

"Honeycomb bread (khaliat al nahl) is a popular Arabic bread usually filled with cheese and covered with a sugar syrup. It can also be filled with savory fillings and no sugar syrup if you choose. The bread looks really nice when finished and it is easier than it looks to prepare. It is important to let the dough rise enough on the final rise so that the bread is very soft. Found on Queen of Sheba. Prep and bake times includes rise times. Personally, I'd use more cheese I think. 8 oz's cut into 48 pieces isn't going to be very much."
photo by Mary F. photo by Mary F.
photo by Mary F.
Ready In:
48 small buns



  • 3 12 cups bread flour
  • 14 cup warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened yogurt
  • 12 - 23 cup warm water
  • 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.

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