Jachnoon

Breakfast as we know it, takes a different turn on Saturday, for traditional Jews. Shabbat breakfast is almost always food that was cooked overnight in the oven or on low heat on the stove. Or it was entirely cooked before Shabbat and warmed up in the oven that is on all day. Nothing is freshly cooked. Not that it matters much. Most Shabbat breakfasts I’m familiar with are so yummy and special, that it makes me look forward to Shabbat, just to be able to enjoy these dishes.

Jachnoon is of a Jewish Yemenite origin, and was brought to Israel by Yemenite immigrants. It is a baked rolled dough with honey and butter. Being so well integrated into Israeli homes, Jachnoon is now considered an Israeli dish.

Jachnoon pot is a simple tin pot with no handles and a tight lid that wraps around the top of the pot. In the U.S you may find it in some Israeli/kosher stores. However, any ovenproof pot with a lid, about 2.5 quarts in size, is good.

1kg (2 ¼lb) all-purpose white flour
120g (5oz) honey
4 tsp salt
3 cups water
½ cup oil
200g (8oz) very soft butter

In a mixer bowl, mix flour, honey, and salt, using a spoon. Add two cups water, give another stir with the spoon, then mix for about 3 minutes, using the hook attachment, to form a smooth, soft dough. The dough should not be firm, it should sag. If the dough is dry or stiff, add another ½ – 1 cup water.

Cover a large tray with oil. Divide the dough into 12 pieces by pulling dough the size of a small apple (with oiled hands) and pinching it off the large dough mass, one piece at a time. Knead each piece in your hands into a ball, then place it on the oiled tray after rolling the ball in the oil. You may need more than one tray to accommodate all the balls. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes.

Jachnoun balls resting

Generously butter a work surface. Place one of the dough balls on the buttered surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, then keep spreading it outward using your hands, and open it to form a paper-thin, round shape. Using your hand, spread about one tablespoon very soft butter on the stretched dough.

Fold the right side of the dough to the middle, then fold the left side on top of the right one (like an envelope). Do not worry if you have some holes in the dough. You will end up with a long strip of folded dough. Butter the top of the strip.

Starting at the bottom, roll the strip of dough upwards while slightly pulling the edges outwards.

Place the rolled dough on the bottom of the pot adjacent to the wall. Repeat the process with the other balls and arrange them close to one another in one layer in the pot. When the first layer is full, cover it with parchment paper and create a second layer on top.

Optional: If you have room left in the pot after placing in all the rolls, you can add eggs. Wrap about 5-6 eggs in tinfoil. Cover the Jachnoon with parchment paper, then place the wrapped eggs on top. Cover the pot with the lid. No room left in the pot for the eggs? No worries. Place the tinfoil wrapped eggs on the oven wire next to the Jachnoon pot. Just make sure the eggs are well sealed in the tinfoil, to avoid steam from escaping.

Preheat oven to 220F. Place in the Jachnoon pot and the eggs in the oven before you go to bed and bake overnight (10-12 hours).

Jachnoun ready

Serve it the following day for brunch, with a nicely browned egg, grated fresh tomato salted, and spicy z’houg.

For the Jachnoon to taste best, eat it with your hands!!!

Jachnoun served

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