Aparna always comes up with interesting breads for the “We need to Bake”. This time it was KHALIAT NAHAL ( HONEYCOMB BUNS OR BEE’S HIVE BUNS ).These are cute little buns structured in the form of a Bee Hive. The whole grain health bug has caught me too. I have started making an attempt to use whole grain though I haven’t been able to completely make the switch.
The original recipe called for 2½ cups all-purpose flour. I have substituted it with 2 cups of whole wheat flour and reduced the milk to ¾ cup instead of 1. While baking with low protein flours like Whole Wheat, adding Vital Wheat Gluten really helps. Since its purely gluten it goes a long way to improve the elasticity of the dough and rising. The wheat buns were a little dense which was expected,thanks to the flour!!.But if you are used to eating wheat breads you wouldn’t be disappointed with this one. I believe they are traditionally made sweet and glazed with honey flavored syrup. I am more of a savory person so ended up baking the Savory buns. While thinking about filling, Caramelized Onions were the first to cross my mind. They are my favorite!!! I love this bun, the filling in every bite balances the flavor and the taste of the buns.
The below mentioned recipe makes 18 small buns which is good to go with a 9” round pan. Usually cream cheese is used as a filling; but there are plenty of other choices like feta cheese/paneer(cottage cheese)/cheese. And for the Sweet ones: Chocolate,dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut are great options.
Incase you plan to make the sweet one, here is the recipe.Sugar Syrup/ Glaze : 3/4 cup sugar;1/2 cup water;A pinch of saffron; 1 tablespoon honey; 1 teaspoon lime/ lemon juice. 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. 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. I plan to try the sweet one next time.
- ¾ cup lukewarm milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 teaspoon vital wheat gluten
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 tablespoon milk for brushing the dough
- 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
- For the filling:
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Mint leaves, a few
- 1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice
- 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. Run a couple of times to mix well.
- 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. 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.
- 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. 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. 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. 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 350F for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.
- For the Filling – Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions until pink. Add the sugar which will help to caramelize them. When they are almost done, add the salt; pepper and mint leaves. Mix well.
Thanks Aparna for the recipe.