Khameer challah (Emirati challah)

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Khameer challah (Emirati challah)

Khameer bread is a Middle Eastern flat bread. In the UAE, it is quite sweet and is made with the spices that are representative of the tastes of the region: cardamom and saffron. I have used the spices from the Khameer recipe to give a new flavor to the challah classic. Give it a try – its most delicious!


5 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar (preferably brown - you can also use silan)

1 teaspoon salt

1 heaped tablespoon dry yeast

1 cup water

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon saffron threads

Black and white sesame seeds


Mix the flour, sugar, cardamom powder, ¼ teaspoon of the saffron threads, and salt in a large bowl.

Activate the yeast by placing a large mug in the following order: 1 teaspoon sugar, the yeast and fill it up with tepid water. Leave for 10 minutes, When the yeast has frothed and bubbled, add it to the flour mixture. Leave it for a few more minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix eggs and oil. Soak the remaining saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of water and add most of it to the egg mixture (leave some for the glazing). Then add it to the flour and yeast mix. Using your hands, swirl the mixture around until it binds into a dough. Add a bit more flour to your hands to help it bind (not too much). For a light dough, limit the amount of flour. Don’t worry if it’s still a little sticky.

Once the dough has formed, knead it for about a minute and then place it back in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it to rise in a warm kitchen for about 3-4 hours.

When it has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl.

At this point, preheat the oven at 175 degrees centigrade.

Divide the dough into two portions. Divide each portion into a further 3 balls and roll out to equal length. Plait each of the three strands of dough so that you have two braided loaves.

Mix the remaining saffron mixture with a drop of honey and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then glaze the challah.

Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.

Place on a greased baking tray and leave for another 15-20 minutes until you can see the dough rising again. Then bake until golden brown.

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