Kubaneh (Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls) Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Meir Adoni

Adapted by Tejal Rao

Kubaneh (Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls) Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour (plus 1 hour to proof)
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The Jewish-Yemeni bread kubaneh was traditionally cooked in the residual heat of the hearthon Fridaynight, low and slow, ready to be eaten on Shabbat morning. At his restaurant, Nur, the chef Meir Adoni adapted a recipe that requires less than 30 minutes. You'll need a stand mixer to aggressively knead the basic yeasted dough, but afterward the fun of this bread is shaping it by hand, one bun at a time. With generously buttered hands, spread each piece of dough into a big, sheer sheet, then roll it up like a log and swirl it into a bun. Don't worry about a few rips and creases here and there in the dough as you spread it. Keep laminating, creating fine layers of fat as you roll and swirl, and those will give the baked kubaneh additional volume, texture and a rich, buttery flavor that make it one of the world's great breads. —Tejal Rao

Featured in: Before Croissants, There Was Kubaneh, a Jewish Yemeni Delight

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Yield:4 to 6 servings

    For the Bread

    • 2tablespoons (30 grams) soft butter, plus ½ pound (226 grams) soft butter for greasing pan and shaping buns
    • 1cup (225 grams) water, room temperature
    • 3tablespoons (45 grams) fresh yeast, or 1 tablespoon (15 grams) instant yeast
    • 3⅓cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour
    • ½cup (90 grams) sugar
    • 1tablespoon (15 grams) kosher salt
    • 2eggs
    • 2tablespoons nigella seeds (optional)

    For the Tomato

    • 1ripe tomato, coarsely grated
    • 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • ½teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

453 calories; 11 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 77 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 16 grams sugars; 13 grams protein; 419 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Kubaneh (Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls) Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Prepare a 9-inch springform cake pan by buttering it and placing it on a sheet tray. In a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix water, yeast, flour, sugar, salt and 1 egg (reserve the other egg for egg wash) on low speed. Once they’re combined, turn up to medium-high, and knead for 10 minutes. With the machine running, add the 2 tablespoons of butter a bit at a time, waiting until it’s fully incorporated before adding more. Continue to knead until the dough balls together and becomes very elastic, or 5 more minutes. Remove the hook, cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

  2. Step


    Use lightly floured hands to turn dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Cut in half, and again, and again, until you have 16 even-size pieces. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. Spread 2 tablespoons of soft butter across your work surface, and place a piece of dough in the center. Cover the palms of your hands with another tablespoon of soft butter, and without lifting the dough off the counter, use your fingers and palms to flatten and smear the dough out, until it is smooth and thin and sheer in places, or approximately 12 inches in diameter. The exact shape doesn’t matter much, and neither do some small rips here and there in the dough. Sprinkle some nigella seeds over the dough, then roll the dough into a long, skinny log: starting from the end farthest away from you, push the dough toward you with 8 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.

  3. 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 buns have almost doubled in size.

  4. Step


    Preheat the oven to 350. Whisk remaining egg with a tablespoon of water, then gently brush the egg on top of the buns. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the buns at the center are as puffed asthe buns on the edges. In the meantime, grate the tomato, then season it with olive oil and salt. Allow the kubaneh to cool for a few minutes, then serve with the tomato on the side.



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Cooking Notes


This one is the best as it shows the pastry tearing & how to handle it:

yummy chick

this is one recipe where a video of the rolling process would be tremendously helpful


I imagine many of us do not have a standing mixer. How long should we mix and later knead by hand?

Margaux Laskey, Staff Editor

Step 3 of the recipe has been updated to call for using butter as needed for your work surface and hands. As you work, you will likely use less butter each time you roll out the dough. We hope this helps!


This was the most beautifully composed food article I have ever read.


The arithmetic doesn't work. If 3 T of butter is needed for first roll and 2 T needed for the remaining 15 rolls, 1/2 pounds of butter isn't enough. The recipe should read: 2 T butter for dough, plus 1 T butter for greasing pan, plus 33 T of butter for laminating. This is 36 T of butter, 4 1/2 sticks or 1 pound plus 4 T.


It's 16 rolls, and only 1 tbsp for the hands at the beginning of the rolling. I'm in the middle of making them now. Trust me, you won't need an additional tbsp for the hands each time! The video is very helpful by the way.


That is the sexiest video I have ever watched.

Paul Holtz

This bread was fun to make and delicious. The many comments asking for video are overthinking it. The mixer does at least half the work, and no you certainly don't need two tablespoons of butter to shape every roll (and they don't need to be shaped like a snail). Just roll each one up and throw it in the pan---I even used a grill pan.

The recipe is forgiving, and I only wish I'd had nigella seeds. I used a cheese grater to grate grape tomatoes, and the results were lovely.


These were delicious and beautiful going according to the recipe but kneading by hand for 10 minutes. They were too sweet for our taste. Next time I would try with much less sugar.


If my original submission gets published, I made an error in the math. Actually It's 30 grams (2TBSPs) of butter used to make 1 roll. Since there are 16 rolls the total amount of butter called for is 480 grams plus 15 grams to grease your hands. Which makes for a total of 495 grams. Plus, the 30 used in the first stage.


The recipe says "buttering your work surface and hands each time AS NEEDED" (emphasis mine), not "as before". For subsequent rolls, less butter will be needed, because your work surface and your hands will still be greasy from the previous roll. The initial, larger amount of butter "primes" the "equipment" (i.e., your work surface and your hands).


If you're using 2 tablespoons of butter each time you work with one of the 16 pieces you're going to need 2 lbs. of butter above the 2 tbsps. that go into the dough mixture. I think someone misread 2 as 1/2.
Yemenite food is some of the most delicious around, masterful use of spices. Los Angeles had a good one called The Magic Carpet for years but it closed with no replacement. But nothing like the Yemenite food in Israel. Malawach is another great Yemeni bread, like Indian paratha.


I found lots of videos at youtube, mostly in Ivrit (Hebrew), which show the technique. The butter is melted, the dough is very soft & loose, almost pourable. No-one seems to beat for as long as this recipe recommends. Maybe it's the need to produce it quickly. There seem to be special covered tins of various sizes for baking them.


Wonderful recipe. Just follow the directions, it will be self-explanatory once you're doing it. Nigella seeds a must. I'll cut the sugar a bit when I make it again. Tomatoes are starting to be ripe and flavorful, so really a lovely summer combination.


This is amazing and easy. No video needed, just roll it with your fingers the long way in towards yourself and then “snailing it” will be obvious. Make sure your hands and surface are nice and buttery and you can’t go wrong. Don’t miss the nigella seeds!! You can get them online if you can’t find them. My rolls barely needed to be torn, they were so light and fluffy that they just fell off the roll, which is gorgeous and impressive looking to boot.


I can't wait to make this! I found a youtube video of the, "stand mixer free" version. I think I'll try both.. ;o)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpsc1IJXEBM

Donna Gresh

the half pound of butter called for is two sticks. I used one stick (plus the initial 2 T) and that was plenty to spread and form the disks. And the author's 9 inch springform must be larger than my 9 inch springform :), as there was *no way* I could fit the 16 rolls in. I ended up putting three in the center, and 11 around the outside, with two more on their own in another pan.


I've made this recipe three times now, and it is always a hit. I do not have a dough hook for my stand mixer so I knead by hand - requires more time, but that's okay. Definitely watch a few videos to get a feel for the process. This is the first yeast-based from-scratch bread I've made, and I'm very pleased. Sauteed some shallots in butter and added that in lieu of nigella seeds. YUM!


Texture of the baked bread was very dense, never rose to expected fluffiness. Baking took very long to turn to a golden color. By then the outer rim was very hard. The shaping method was good, and fun with child companion. I'd try the shaping method again,with a different dough.

Aviva Garrett

These rolls are remarkably good, and for a bread, they are surprisingly easy to make. It took a few rolls to figure out how to roll them out, but then it became very easy. My only feedback is that it took us about 3 hours from start to finish, not the 2 hours indicated by the recipe.


I've tried this recipe three times now and the dough doesn't rise. Used Active dried yeast & instant yeast. Even left it overnight to rise and it didn't. No one else has had this problem based on the comments so I don't know what I am doing wrong???


I toasted the Nigella for 3 minutes and it was very tasty. And in the Indian grocers, Nigella is known as kallonji.


Was delicious as is, would maybe roast the nigella seeds next time. And can´t wait to try this with some gremoulata mixed into the butter.


Delicious! I had to fiddle with a little bit of course. I have a great source for whole-wheat bread flour so used 1 cup of that instead. No nigella seeds so I substituted barrel cactus seeds (black) as I live in Tucson. Also used my trusty cast iron skillet. Great texture and mouth feel even though the bread didn't rise as high as if I had used all white bread. The YouTube links were helpful and voluptuous, esp the one Deb shared https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxX-avIil8E


I have to complain about a recipe that says it takes less than 30 minutes, and then it says:
Combine ingredients and knead w/mixer for 20 m. Continue to knead for 5 m. Let rest for 20 m. (That's 45 m) Cut into 16 pieces, roll out & combine into buns (this will take at least 20 m, so: 1 h 5 m.) Let rise for 1 h. (2 h 5 m) Make egg wash, brush over buns (apparently this also takes less than a sec) Bake 30 m.
This will take min. 2 h 35 m, and let’s be real, it’s going to be 3 h.


Yes, any recipe using yeast takes time to develop that goodness we all love and enjoy. Expect to spend some time. You're not working like a galley slave, you're just doing the incremental work of making yeast bread.


I followed the instructions as written, without worrying too much about exact amounts of butter in the rolling out. It's GORGEOUS and I only wish I had a dinner party going on so we could all tear it apart while it's warm.


This recipe is truly forgiving. I am not a great baker. but this bread was such a satisfying activity. The dough came out just as described from my stand-mixer, and spreading, laminating, and rolling the dough was a cinch. My six year-old ended up rolling a few and they were indistinguishable from mine at the table. These came out precisely as pictured: warm flaky buttery goodness. And that tomato sauce! This is sure to become a staple at our house.

Sheepish Jen

This is amazingly delicious! It is slightly time-consuming, but really not difficult. When you read that you have to push the dough out to a 12-inch diameter, you may think about pizza dough and how it loves to shrink back. But no, this dough yields instantly to the touch and spreads out with your buttered hands beautifully. The nigella seeds are worth adding. And the simple tomato sauce enhances the bread in beautiful, umami ways! Half of it was one within minutes of serving -no leftovers!


I love how the bread turned out. I made 0.8 of the recipe in an 8-inch pan. I used 40 grams of sugar and 5 grams of salt. That is, about half of the amount of sugar called for in the recipe and about a third of the amount of salt called for. I also only used 1/8 pound, and I was trying really hard to use as much butter as possible. I think the bread turn out great. very soft, buttery. But it was quite time consuming to flatten the dough.

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Kubaneh (Yemeni Pull-Apart Rolls) Recipe (2024)
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