Kubaneh is a traditional Yemeni bread, traditionally baked overnight in a special lidded aluminium pot. According to Orthodox Jewish law, you’re not permitted to cook from sunset on Friday to sunset the following day, so this lovely bread was born out of necessity, which in turn became a ritual. The end result is beautifully rich in texture.
I first encountered kubaneh bread on my military service in Israel when I went to stay with a friend one weekend (so that I wouldn’t be too far away from the base) whose grandma was an expert in traditional Yemeni cuisine. I’d experimented with bread making once or twice before, but I had never seen anyone dipping their hands in melted butter and thinly spreading it over the dough. This was exciting! Even more exciting was waking up early the next morning to the heavenly smell of buttery fresh bread, running down to the kitchen to lift the lid of the pot and tasting kubaneh for the first time.
When we opened The Palomar, we knew we needed a bread that was perfectly suited to plate-mopping, so I came up with this fluffy version of kubaneh. Luckily for us (and you), it needs only 30 minutes’ baking. You don’t need special baking proficiency to make this bread — just be fearless!
As kubaneh baking pots are not something to be found in every home, you can use 4½-inch baking rings instead to make individual loaves, or 2 lb loaf pans, each measuring 11 x 5 inches for larger ones.