Soft & fluffy honeycomb bread (khalat al Nahal) is a Yemeni bread stuffed with cream cheese and soaked in honey syrup. This delectable bread pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or karak tea and makes a sweet breakfast or anytime snack!

Khaliat Nahal in Arabic translates to “beehive.” It’s a buttery brioche bread shaped into small balls and baked closely together in a honeycomb pattern. You may have stumbled across this delectable treat in one of your favorite Yemeni coffee shops and want to recreate it at home. Rest assured, this homemade version is 1000x better than any cafe bread. It’s super soft, fluffy, and full of flavor.

My special honey mixture is a delicious hybrid of simple syrup and honey and soaks into the bread for the perfect amount of sweetness. Pair these delicious Yemeni honeycomb buns with a strong cup of coffee or my Adeni Karak tea for a sweet breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up snack.

What you Will Need:

To make this tasty bread, you will only need a few pantry staple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Here’s what you will Need:

  • Milk: any milk will work. Be sure to warm the milk in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until it is lukewarm. This will help the bread rise faster.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works perfectly. Bread flour is another great option if you have access to it.
  • 1 Egg: separated, the whites will be used in the bread and the yolk is saved for glazing the bread. If you don’t like egg glaze, add the yolk to the bread batter as well.
  • Butter: used to add a rich flavor and texture to the bread. It can be subbed with oil of choice if needed.
  • Sugar: 2 Tablespoons of sugar are used to add a slight sweetness.
  • Sesame and Black Seeds: Honeycomb bread is traditionally garnished with a mixture of sesame and nigella seeds. You also just use sesame seeds alone if needed.
  • Cream cheese: My favorite stuffing is cream cheese but feta, Nutella, or any other type of creamy cheese will work!
  • Honey Syrup: A mixture of simple syrup made with sugar and water and finished with a few tablespoons of honey.

How to Make Yemeni Honeycomb Bread?

Making honeycomb bread is an easy 3 step process.

  1. Make the dough: Make the dough by combining all the dough ingredients in a dough mixture or kneading by hand. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Stuff the dough: After the dough has risen, divide the dough into tiny balls and stuff each ball with cream cheese. Arrange on a greased pan and set aside to rise.
  3. Make the syrup: While the bites are baking, make the simple syrup and then pour it directly onto the hot buns.

What is Yemeni Bread Made of?

Yemeni bread is an important delicacy in Yemeni cuisine that you will find in many Yemeni desserts such as khaliat al nahal (honeycomb bread), Bint al sahn, Yemeni brioche buns, and Honey cake. It is made of fluffy brioche-like bread using milk, flour, eggs, butter, and sugar.

Where does honeycomb bread get its name?

Honeycomb bread Khaliat Nahal in Arabic translates to “beehive.” It’s a buttery brioche bread shaped into small balls and baked closely together in a honeycomb pattern thus the name.

Can I use wholewheat flour to make honeycomb bread?

To make this bread a little more wholesome and healthier, some people prefer to opt-in for wholewheat flour. To make using wholewheat flour, sub 1 cup of flour for whole wheat or whole grain flour.

What other things can I stuff honeycomb bread with?

Although this delicious pull-apart bread is stuffed with cream cheese, it can be stuffed with many different fillings. A few more of my favorite fillings include feta or mozzarella cheese, Nutella, nuts, raisins, or cranberries. For a savory version, stuff the bread with olives, zataar, jalapeno popper, spinach, or cheese & garlic.

What type of pan to use?

This recipe will fit perfectly into a large round 12-14” pan. A pizza pan will also work. I suggest starting in the middle arranging outwards. This recipe will also fit into 2 small 8-9” pans. It will also fit into a 9×13 baking dish. I sometimes like to make the recipe in small round tin foil pans and store them in the freezer or give to the neighbors.

How to Store Honeycomb Bread

After the honeycomb bread has completely cooled, cover with plastic wrap or foil or place in an airtight container.

If you will consume them within the next 2 days, simply leaving them on the counter at room temperature works best. You can also transfer to the fridge for another 4 days.

To Freeze honeycomb: After arranging the balls onto the plate, wrap with plastic wrap then foil, and freeze until ready to bake, when ready to bake, thaw for 1 hour at room temperature then proceed with the recipe as instructed.

More Delicious Middle Eastern Recipes

5 from 2 votes

Honeycomb Bread

Soft & fluffy honeycomb bread (khalat al Nahal) is a brioche style Yemeni bread stuffed with cream cheese and soaked in honey syrup. This delectable bread pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or karak tea and makes a sweet breakfast or anytime snack!
Prep1 hour 15 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Servings 32 balls

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ¼ oz packet yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (or oil)
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3 cups flour, plus more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz cream cheese, sliced into 32 pieces
  • Sesame seeds or nigella seeds, for garnish
  • Egg wash, 1 egg yolk + 1 Tablespoon milk

Simple Syrup

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Instructions 

  • Make the dough: In a large bowl or in a stand mixture with dough attachment, whisk the milk, sugar, yeast, butter, and egg white (set the yolk aside in the fridge it will be used as glaze). Mix in the flour, and salt. Knead by hand or using your stand mixer for 3-5 minutes or until elastic. The dough should feel a little tacky but not sticky. If it is still sticky, add another 1-2 Tablespoons of flour. Cover and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 32 mini pieces. They may seem small but they will rise and double in size. Cut the brick of cream cheese into 32 equal pieces. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan, or a 14-16 inch round pan, or 2 small (8-9’’) cake pans and set aside.
  • Spread a dough ball into a round flat circle and add the cream cheese to it. Close the ends, ball it up, and place it into your tray. Repeat with the remaining balls and arrange in the tray. Cover and allow the balls to rise until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Make the egg wash by whisking the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon milk. Brush the top of the dough balls (If you don’t like egg wash you can skip this step or just use milk). Sprinkle a light layer of sesame seeds and/or nigella seeds.
  • Pre heat oven to 375℉ and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with honey mixture.
  • Make Honey Syrup: While the balls are rising, make the Simple syrup/honey mixture. Add the water and sugar to a small sauce-pan and bring to a boil or medium-high heat. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the honey.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1ball, Calories: 103kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 75mg, Potassium: 37mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 159IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: bread, honeycomb, yemeni
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