Kubaneh Bread

This is chef Nir Mesika’s version of a traditional pull-apart Yemenite Jewish bread.

Recipe by Nir Mesika

Makes one large loaf or several smaller ones

Ingredients & Instructions

750g AP flour (6 cups)
115g white sugar (5/8 cup)
30g dry yeast (3 Tbsp)
25 gr Kosher salt (4 tsp)
375 ml lukewarm water (1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp)
2 eggs
50 gr unsalted butter (3 1/2 Tbsp), plus extra
1 Tbsp heavy cream

Prepare either a large dutch oven of several 6-inch clays pots by buttering and placing on a sheet tray.

In a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix water, yeast, flour, sugar, salt and 1 egg on low speed. Once fully mixed, turn up to medium-high, and run for 10 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add the butter. Continue to knead until the dough becomes elastic ball (about 5 more minutes). Remove the hook, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, Divide the dough into 16 small evenly-sized portions. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and set aside.

Spread a thin layer of butter onto your work surface and place a piece of dough in the center. Put some butter onto the palms of your hands and use your hands to flatten the dough until it’s approximately 12 inches in diameter.

Then roll the dough into a long, skinny log: starting from the end farthest away from you, pull the dough toward you with your fingertips until it gathers up into a thick enough piece to begin rolling it, then roll it all the way toward you. Wind the log up into a snail shape and place it in the center of the prepared pan.

Repeat the process for the remaining 15 pieces, buttering your work surface and hands each time as needed, and continue arranging the finished buns loosely around the first. Cover the pan with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until the dough has almost doubled in size.

If you want to bake the bread in smaller pots just make sure you don’t fill them more than halfway with the rolls. A 6-inch flower pot should fit about 4 for example.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the remaining egg with a tablespoon of heavy cream, then gently brush the mixture on top of the buns. Optionally sprinkle some sesame seed on. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean.

Allow the kubaneh bread to cool for a few minutes, then serve with some fresh tomatoes and jalapeño on the side.

Spicing it up

Try adding this spice blend The Spice Companion for a delicious twist. Add it to the mixer along with the flour.

Black & yellow
2 Tablespoons black cumin, toasted and coarsely ground
1/2 Tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and coarsely ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder