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Baked overnight, this traditional Yemenite Sabbath bread transforms in the oven. White bread dough, coiled in a round, caramelizes during a long, low bake and stays moist thanks to a special thin metal baking tin with a tight-fitting lid referred to as a jachnun or kubaneh pan. The result is a complexly sweet bread with a light brown interior and tender, golden brown crust. A stock pot or large saucepan may also be used in place of a jachnun pan; see Note for more information.

Camille Cogswell

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Recipe Summary

active:
45 mins
total:
3 hrs 40 mins
Yield:
12
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk together 2 1/2 cups warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl or large measuring cup until dissolved. Let mixture stand until foamy, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Pour yeast mixture into a very large bowl, and add flour mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms, about 1 minute.

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  • Transfer dough to a very lightly floured work surface (use just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to fingers and work surface), and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Pinch off a small piece of dough, and, using fingers, gently stretch until dough piece is almost translucent without tearing. If dough tears, continue to knead, 2 to 3 minutes, checking after 2 minutes to test dough before kneading an additional 1 minute. Lightly grease a large bowl with 1/2 tablespoon butter; place dough in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at warm room temperature (about 75°F), free from drafts, until doubled in size, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  • Using hands, spread 3 tablespoons butter in a thin, even layer on a clean work surface into a 2-foot square. Place proofed dough in center of butter square. Grease hands with 1/2 tablespoon butter to avoid tearing dough. Pat proofed dough into a flat disk. Working from center of dough disk with buttered hands, gently spread and push dough outwards using circular motions to form a thin, even 2-foot square. (Dough should form a thin sheet on top of the 2-foot-square butter layer.) Using hands, spread 3 tablespoons butter into a thin, even layer on top of the dough square.

  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Grease the inside of a 24- to 26-centimeter jachnun pan or a 10- to 11-inch 5-quart lidded oven-safe saucepan or stockpot with remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter; set aside. Roll up buttered dough square into a tight 2-foot-long log; coil log to form a tight spiral, with even rings. Carefully transfer dough spiral into prepared pot, seam side down. Cover with lid, and let rise at warm room temperature (about 75°F) until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour. Before baking, ensure lid is fully sealed. If using stockpot, wrap entire pot and lid in aluminum foil to ensure pot is airtight.

  • Bake in preheated oven until bread is deep golden brown with the aroma of molasses, about 8 hours (avoid opening oven or lid while baking). Uncover and transfer pot to a wire rack, and let bread cool in pan 30 minutes. Remove bread from pot, and let cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Make Ahead

Kubaneh may be made up to 2 days ahead. Let cool completely, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Slice and toast before serving.

Notes

For the best results, bake the bread in a sealed thin aluminum tin (jachnun pan) or stainless pot so it heats evenly while baking. Avoid using a thick metal pan (such as a Dutch oven) or covered casserole dish. Purchase a jachnun pan from Amazon or superkacher.com.

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