Khaliat Nahal/Honeycomb Bread - Step by Step

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Average: 4 (6 votes)
2 small or 1 large

This is one of the most delicious Arabic breads ever! Khaliat al Nahal (known by many as Khaliat Nahal) simply means Bee's Hive. This is due to the bread's resemblance to a honeycomb and for the sweet, honey-flavored topping it's glazed with.

It's a 'softer_than_cotton' type of bread, with some cheese filling in every bun, and a sweet glaze on top. I did a lot of experimenting with various different recipes to finally come up with my own master, no-fail recipe.

Ingredients for Glaze/Syrup
1 cup
3/4 cup
1 tbsp.
pinch of saffron
Ingredients for Bread
3 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour
1 cup
2 tbsp.
milk powder
1/2 cup
(might use less)
3 tbsp.
4 tbsp.
4 tbsp.
melted butter
1 1/2 tsp.
instant yeast
1/2 tsp.
portions/triangles of cheese spread
(I used The Laughing Cow, but you can use any available to you, like Kiri or Al-Marai, etc.)
egg for egg wash before baking
(for egg wash before baking)

First prepare the glaze/syrup.

Boil the sugar, water and saffron together for a few minutes until it is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the honey. Mix and set aside to cool completely.

For the Bread:

Sieve the flour, then add milk powder, sugar, yeast and salt. Then add the oil and butter and the egg, and mix together. Now add all the milk. Start kneading together and gradually add the water a little at a time. You might not need it all, so add it sparingly until your dough is nice and soft. Knead for a good 8-10 minutes. The more you knead it the softer the buns will be.

Touch a bit of oil with your fingertips and apply all over the ball of dough. Cover in a bowl and set aside for 40mins to an hour for it to double in size.

Punch it down, and break off tiny bits of dough. You should get about 40 tiny pieces out of this. Take each piece of dough, and stretch it out with your fingers, then add a small piece of cheese in its center. Bring the edges together and form a ball so that the cheese is completely enclosed within the dough. Repeat this with all the dough.

Grease your pan/pans with butter. Place the balls of dough in a 'honeycomb' pattern. Try to get them close to each other so that there are no or very little spaces in between.

Cover the pans and set aside for a second rise, about half an hour.

Now apply egg wash on the balls, preheat your oven to 180 C and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the bread is nice and golden on top.

Remove from the oven and pour your syrup all over the hot bread. Remember that the syrup needs to be cool and the bread needs to be steaming hot straight from the oven. Turn it out and place on a rack to cool and for the syrup to glaze slightly.

1.  If you want to cut down on the sweetness, use less syrup or instead of pouring it onto the bread, just apply it using a brush on the tops of the bread. :)

2.  If you do not like cheese, you can use chocolate instead in the center. Just cut any good quality chocolate bar into cubes and use them instead. Even nutella works but might be a little bit messy during closing it into the dough, unless you solidify it a bit first. ;)

PIC 1:  After kneading the dough and letting it rise, shape the tiny balls with bits of cheese in their center as per the recipe. Then place them in a greased pan like so. Try to get them as close to touching as possible.

PIC 2:  Let them have a second rise, they will have bulked up slightly after the second rise as you might notice. Apply the egg wash then bake as directed.

PIC 3:  This is how they will look after baking. Note how much they have expanded and filled out inside the pan.

PIC 4:  Apply the glaze/syrup and let the bread cool slightly on a rack.

FINAL PIC:  I've cut into one so you can see the cheese filling inside. Also note the feathery layered softness of the buns, literally melt_in_your_mouth GOOOD!

Serve and enjoy!


Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes you can leave them empty. Read this note on how to activate dry yeast: Yeast

Salam. I wanna try dis bread 2morrow Inshallah but i wonder if I could make it widout any filling inside b'coz I m searching 4 a bread recipe 4 some time & it seems 2 b d 1 I hav been luking 4.wht do u suggest? Also,I hav dry yeast,so wht should I do 2 activate it?

i made this recipe the other day and i remember when i first had it in oman my husband family made it so delicious and soft but when i make it it turns out a bit hard nice but not as soft i wld like it to be. i followed the recipe step by step i didn't add or put any less flour or any of the ingredients but i need to know were im going wrong :( inshallah my next attempt will be better

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Try and knead the dough longer next time. Make sure it is very soft and sticky. The softer the better, and do not overbake. That tends to toughen up the bread.

Great receipe, the bread turned out ultra soft and this is the first time i`ve attempted any sort of bread baking.Tasted great i used feta cheese instead of laughing cow and the sweet syrup and salty cheese was a lovely combination.
just one problem though, the dough balls wouldnt stop rising in the oven(turned in to baps!),even though i let them rest for half an hour before putting them in the oven,any reason as to why this happened?
Would love it if there were short video clips for these receipes.
lovely website, with delicious receipes waiting to be attempted!!=)

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Thanks for the awesome feedback! The over-rising could be from the brand of yeast you used, maybe it was more powerful than other yeasts. You can try and reduce the amount of yeast slightly and see if that helps.

Salam I tried it with dry yeast but there is some fault . Does yeast need to be fermented for a long time to make the daugh rise

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, did you activate the dry yeast in warm water before using?

Salaam.. This is my first attempt to baking.. I baked da bread according to the instructions.. N after done it looked good from da top... But as i broke da pieces.. Da bread dat was stuck wasnt baked at all.. Nw i have broken da pieces n baking it againupside down.. Can u plz tell me y dis must have happend?.. Jazakallah

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, sounds like something was amiss with your oven settings! This is a very tried and tested recipe and gives awesome results always. Try checking the temperature and heating of your oven, does it heat evenly all around? Did you preheat it before baking? What kind of dish did you use for the bread?

I used da regular dish dat comes wid da oven.. N da bread dint turn out to be soft.. I wonder y..i was so excited about da baking but my efforts dint bring good results..

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Did you preheat the oven? And how long did you bake the bread for? It sounds to me like the bread was overbaked. This recipe yields very soft results!

I've just realised I put 1 and a half tablespoons instead of teaspoons of yeast. Lol. Do you think I should bother baking it or will it not turn out right?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

That's alright, the dough will just rise a little faster than what you anticipated, :)

can i keep it in the fridge overnight and bake it the next morning?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes you can but I prefer to bake and store then warm it up when serving.

thankyou for this amazing recipe

How should we store the leftovers?? Fridge or room temperature??
The bread turned out great alhamdulillah.
What you r doing is sadaqa jariya!! Sharing ur knowledge. May Allah protect u from evil eyes Aameen.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Thank you so much!! If it is being stored for just a few hours, then at room temperature is fine. Otherwise cover and refrigerate, then just warm them up before serving.

U told us to pour the sugar syrup on top of the buns and then take them out for cooling.
Isn't that going to be too sticky, and the syrup will be dripping everywhere?
But if u leave them in the pan with the syrup on top, I can imagine the buns just sticking to the pan, and then u will also not be able to take them out and put them in another dish.
So what is the right way to do it?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

You can take the buns out on a rack and drizzle the syrup over them, whichever works best for you.

Hi Fauzia
I have but the mixture with yeast but it isn't rising. Its been half an hour? Also the mixture is sticky and now proper dough form.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Very strange, the yeast sounds like it is not good. Have you used it before in any other yeast-recipe?

salam sis. If V can make this bun without cheese?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes you can make it without the cheese or even with a different filling.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes, always preferable to use warm milk when kneading dough.

should i be useing warm milk ...?saw somthing lyk tht in a comment f fb..:)

This looks so good! I want to make it but I don't want to buy any powdered milk since I will only use it for this recipe. Is there any way I can do the recipe without it? I have regular milk and evaporated milk, as well as all the other ingredients.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can leave out the powdered milk and use some regular milk in its place.

yammy ilike this fauzzy gige thae rcpy for arabic lang

Cn u suggest me the names of the instant yeast?? Plz

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

SAF instant yeast.


If I use dry yeast instead of instant yeast, will the quantity to be used remain same?

Amna Mustafa's picture

One request will you please post your recipies in URdu as well...

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

I do not speak nor understand Urdu. Sorry!

Salam alaykoum sister, i've tried this recipe and it came out very nice.
I just had to turn it around to cook so bottom properly, it must be my oven!
Delicious even my children likes it! Jazak'Allah kheir for sharing your knowledge in the kitchen :-)

Can this about be made on stove?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture


Unaiza Ijaz's picture

This Recipe is ...."Oh MY God!!!!"so lovely!!! :D

Salam walykum fauzia i made khaliat nahal first time it came out so good my all family loved it with cup of tea.
Many thanks to you

Assalamu alaikum sis, I tried ur honeycomb bread, Masha Allah it was so yummy..............
I added cheese in some choclate in some peanut butter in some n few without any filling All were yummy. Thanks.

Salam,i wanted to ask if i make

This a few days earlier should i freeze it or let it be in fridge,
Would it be fresh if i refrigerate or freeze it? Tia

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, bake and then wrap it well and freeze.

And how to defrost it,should ibput it in oven for sometime?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Defrost it overnight in the fridge or leave it out (well covered) until it thaws then yes you can heat it in a warm oven.

Salaam. If I don't want to use all purpose flour can I use whole wheat flour in ur recpies.i so want to try few of them but all called for all purpose flour. Thanks. Other thing is corn starch and corn flour same thing?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, using whole wheat flour on its own is OK although the results will not be as light and fluffy. Whole wheat flour is dense and heavy so the breads will be a bit heavy in comparison. If you can, I would recommend you mix the two flours.

Can I omit the milk powder in this recipe if I don't have any? Cant wait to try it.

Also, just a suggestion, if there can be an option for receiving an email after new comments are posted so its easier to come back and check for responses. Just a thought. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes! Its always fun trying something new from your site.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can omit it. I will look into your suggestion, I believed that is how the fan gets a notification, through the email address used on registering. But will check this inshaAllah.