Weekend Cooking: Khaliat Nahal (Beehive)
25 Nov 2017

Weekend Cooking: Khaliat Nahal (Beehive)

25 Nov 2017

To me, cooking is a way to destress after a long week slogging at the office.  Making bread, however, is what I find most enjoyable.   When a bread recipe appeared in Saudi Food Eman’s Facebook feed, I knew I had to try it ASAP.  I mean, bread stuffed with cream cheese and drizzled with syrup? Sign me up!

Because I was adamant about using my breadmaker for this, I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe.  I didn’t notice that the recipe uses a lot more yeast relative to the flour (which was really silly in retrospect, but ah well that’s how we learn), so after letting the Dough cycle run its full course, my dough literally looked like foam.  While I managed to save the dough by adding more flour, the bread turned out heavy and had a strong yeasty taste.  At this point, I still didn’t realize that the cause was my overproofing the dough. I instead blamed it on the plain flour I used, and switched to bread flour for my second attempt.

While the dough was a lot less wet this time around, and the bread was a lot fluffier, the yeasty flavor remained.  Finally it dawned on me that I was using the same amount of yeast but a little more than half of the flour compared to my roti paung recipe.  Since the whole point of using a ton of yeast is to cut down prep time, I must have been letting the dough sit for far too long.  I then realized waiting for my normal breadmaker Dough cycle to fully finish isn’t suitable for this recipe, so I simply let the machine do just the kneading and took it out right after, without resting the dough.  True enough, this dough rises so fast, the earlier rolls doubled in size by the time I finished working on the last few.

The results? Lovely rolls which were bite sized and fluffy, with no unpleasant yeasty taste.  I also loved the amazing combination of exotic flavors and textures.  Creamy cheese inside fluffy bread, topped with crunchy, herby black seeds (habbatus sauda) then drizzled with sweet syrup infused with the distinct flavor of saffron.  I just couldn’t stop eating this.

Try it out!

Khaliat Nahal (Beehive)


For the syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

For the dough

  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) water
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) oil
  • 300 grams (about 2 1/3 cups) bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder OR non-dairy creamer
  • 11 grams (1 tablespoon) yeast
  • 12 pieces Kiri cream cheese spread
  • 1 tablespoon black seeds (habbatus sauda)


Make the syrup.  In a small saucepan over medium high heat, add the sugar.

Add 3/4 cups water…

…and saffron.

Bring to a boil for a few minutes, stirring, until the mixture is slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.

Stir in the honey.  Set aside to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl or your bread maker pan, add 3/4 cups water.  For accuracy, measure the total weight of your flour, yeast, milk powder and sugar, and weigh enough water to make up 60% of that amount.  For example, for 300 grams of dry ingredients, you’ll need 180 grams worth of water.

Add the yeast…

…bread flour…

…the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar…

…milk powder or creamer…

…and oil.

Mix using the dough hook attachment of your electric mixer for 5 minutes, or by hand for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  If using a bread maker, start the Dough cycle and wait for the knead cycle to finish, about 30 minutes.

Divide a piece of Kiri cheese into four equal sized pieces.  Repeat for another 7 more pieces.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan 160 degrees C).  Place the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Using a knife or a dough cutter, divide the dough into four equal sized pieces.

Roll each piece of dough into logs…

…and divide each log into eight equal sized pieces.

Repeat for the remaining big pieces of dough.

Working with a piece of dough at a time, flatten the dough on your palm.  Place a piece of cheese in the center.

Wrap the dough completely around the filling and seal.  Form into a smooth ball.

Place in a 12-inch round baking pan, leaving some space in between each roll to allow for further rising.  Cover and let rest until doubled in size, another 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, add the remaining cheese.

Add some hot water and stir, until the cheese is completely diluted.

Brush the cheese mixture generously on the rolls.

Sprinkle with the black seeds.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake, until golden brown, 20 minutes.

Ladle the syrup over the rolls.  You can also serve the syrup on the side.  Serve warm.

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