Light, fluffy and deliciously buttery — Kubaneh is the epitome of beautiful breads and a Shabbat favorite.
What is Kubaneh?
Kubaneh is a yeast bread often enriched with milk, eggs or both and nigella seeds. Brown butter is infused into the dough when it’s rolled out into a thin, rectangle similar to strudel dough, and then rolled up to create layers upon layers of light and buttery dough. There are some versions that do not roll up the dough as much or at all, but rather take balls of the dough, dunk them in brown butter, flatten it out into a circle and fold and tuck the sides to create a buttery ball of dough. I’ve made Kubaneh several different ways but my favorite is rolling up the dough to create at least 6 to 8 layers and many small pieces to create a beautiful round loaf.
History, Origin and Popularity
It is originally from the country of Yemen and brought to Israel from the Yemenite Jewish community. Kubaneh is traditionally eaten for breakfast or brunch on Shabbat and baked overnight from the residual heat of an oven turned off. Yemenite Jews brought the bread to Israel and it’s become popular in Israel and the United States.
How It Is Prepared & Served
Kubaneh is traditionally baked in a covered tin, sometimes with whole eggs with the shell that slow cook with the bread. Alongside the eggs, a grated tomato salsa and zhoug (a spicy sauce comprised of coriander, chili peppers, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice) are common accompaniments.
Kubaneh (Yemenite Brown Butter Bread)
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 egg large
- 1 cup whole milk warmed
- 1 pkg instant yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp table salt
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- In small frying pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook until amber browned, swirling the pan occasionally. Immediately remove from heat and pour into heat-safe bowl.
- In large bowl, mix together the egg, milk, 3 tablespoons brown butter, yeast and sugar until combined. Add the salt and nigella seeds. Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time, stirring with each addition.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 7 to 10 minutes. Clean out the bowl and pour remaining oil in bowl and grease the bowl. Add the dough, flipping to coat with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ hours.
- Grease a springform pan with 1 tablespoon of brown butter.
- Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Reserve 2 tablespoons of brown butter for each dough ball and working one dough ball at a time, lightly grease countertop and hands with brown butter. Using palms of hands, stretch the dough ball into a thin rectangle, sprinkling more brown butter as needed to help stretch the dough until it's almost see through, approximately 12 x 20 inches. Drizzle remaining brown butter over dough and carefully roll up the dough lengthwise like a cinnamon roll, to form a long rope.
- Cut the dough rope into 4 equal pieces and place in springform pan. Continue until all the dough is arranged. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes. Note: After 20 minutes, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool for 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy with eggs, grated tomato salsa and zhoug.