Kubaneh Bread – Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls

Kubaneh Bread – Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls

This recipe for Kubaneh Bread – Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls – is not from the Cooking with Adrienne book but I am sharing it for the Food For Thought campaign.  First, because I know Adrienne would love it and second, I thought it would be the perfect thing to bring to a caregiver of someone with FTD dementia like Adrienne has.  So often the caregiver is swamped by the needs of their loved one that they forget to feed and nourish themselves.  Food is love.  I hope you will help support the Food For Thought campaign to #EndFTD by donating at the link.  Every bit goes to help support caregivers and sufferers of FTD dementia.

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I had to do a little testing before I was happy with this recipe for Kubaneh Bread from the New York Times Cooking website, but we served it to friends yesterday with Tzatziki and Grated Tomato and it all disappeared so I think we have finally got it right!  We all agreed that while the Nigella Seeds are traditional the Za’atar spice blend added a lovely lemony taste. And you could actually go to the sweet end of the spectrum and use cinnamon!


Kubaneh bread was traditionally cooked overnight in a low slow oven on Friday to be served on the Sabbath.  But this recipe has been adapted to cook in 30 minutes.  The texture should be golden brown on the outside but soft and full of air inside.  There is a similarity to croissants as the butter is incorporated by laminating it into the dough.  But unlike croissants the process is quick and actually a bit messy, but easy to master. It is delicious served with the Grated Tomato below or the Homemade Hummus.

Kubaneh Bread

Kubaneh Bread with Grated Tomato

October 2, 2017
: 8
: Easy

This easy to assemble butter and egg dough has elements of brioche and croissants but is much more forgiving than either of those.


  • 475 g White all-purpose flour
  • 20 g salt (kosher)
  • 45 g Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15g active dry yeast
  • 225 g (ml) water at room temperature
  • 150 g soft unsalted butter, cut into 1/4”slices
  • 2 tablespoons Za’atar or Nigella Seeds(optional)
  • Step 1 Using a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix the flour, salt, sugar, egg, water and the yeast. Mix at slow speed until thoroughly combined and then turn up to medium high and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is very elastic.
  • Step 2 With the machine running add 30 g of the butter in small pieces allowing each piece to combine with the dough before adding the next. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes or until the dough is very elastic. Remove the bowl from the stand and work the dough into a ball. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for about 30 mins.
  • Step 3 Stage 2
  • Step 4 While the dough is resting butter a 9 inch spring form pan, or ceramic cast iron baking dish. Prepare a dinner plate by smearing it with butter.
  • Step 5 With lightly floured hands turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces by cutting the ball of dough in half and then cutting each piece in half again and again.  Use a kitchen scale to weigh each piece to make sure they are all the same size. Set them aside on the buttered plate and cover with plastic film.
  • Step 6 Spread about 2 tablespoons of soft butter on your work surface. Place a piece of the dough in the centre. Cover the palms of the hands with more butter and without lifting the dough off the surface flatten and smear the dough out until it is quite thin. It should be approximately square and about 12 inches across. The exact shape is not too important nor does it matter if it is a bit torn in places. Sprinkle some Za’atar (or Nigella seeds) on the flattened dough.
  • Step 7 Fold the left half of the flattened dough to the centre and then the right half over that (like folding a letter) so that you have a strip of dough about four inches wide and a roughly a foot long three layers thick. Starting at the bottom of the bottom of the strip (nearest to you) roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Then take a large sharp knife and cut the cylinder neatly in half horizontally and place the two halves together in the centre of the springform pan with the cut ends upwards. Repeat this process with the remaining 7 pieces re-buttering your hands and the worktop with each roll. Arrange the buns round the first one. They should not fill the pan at this stage. Cover the pan and leave at room temperature for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.(In colder climates you may need to allow several hours or overnight to accomplish the rise)
  • Step 8 Stage 3
  • Step 9 Preheat the oven to 180c (350F). Melt some of the butter in a ramekin and gently brush on top of the buns. Bake for thirty minutes or until the top is golden brown and the buns at the centre are as puffed up as the buns at the edges.
  • Step 10 Allow to cool and then remove and serve with the grated tomato below, or hummus, olive oil etc … enjoy!
  • Step 11 For the Tomato:
  • Step 12 1 ripe tomato, coarsely grated
  • Step 13 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Step 14 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Step 15 Grate the tomato, then season with olive oil and salt.

4 thoughts on “Kubaneh Bread – Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls”

  • Two comments:
    1. When dividing the dough into eight pieces use scale to weigh each piece to make sure you have divided it accurately. If you don’t do this they can come out in all sorts of different sizes which will magnify as they prove and affect how they cook.
    2 At the end of step 7, you say the buns will double in size in about an hour. In the colder climate of the UK I find they need overnight to do this so you must be patient because the process will depend on how active the yeast is and the ambient temperature. I have also had excellent results using a sourdough starter instead of the yeast; you will know from experience how your starter performs and judge the time the rolls will take to rise accordingly.

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