Mawwhat?? Ersatz Dhakai Bakharkhani (BBB November 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Dhakai Bakharkhani; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) November 2014

The BBBabes are travelling to Bangladesh and while there, making ghee and mawa (aka khoya). Well… most of the BBBabes are making ghee. One of us is lazy and is simply using melted butter. :lalala:

Dhakai Bakharkhani My motto is: Always put off for tomorrow what could easily be done today.

And suddenly, tomorrow has arrived!! I don’t know why it takes me by surprise every time. :lalala: (Sigh… late again.)

This month the BBBabes have been making Bakharkhani. Or is it Bhakarkhani? Or maybe it’s Bakar khani?! Or perhaps Baqerkhani. That’s the beauty of translating a Bangladeshi word into Western spelling. There are so many permutations!

However it’s spelled, it’s generally agreed that the actual bread is wonderful. And some people claim that it’s a healthy snack too!

It is a healthy dish, which contains some good nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
About Bakarkhani,

One of the things required for making this flatbread (heh – that’s one way of getting out of spelling it), is mawa. Or khoya, if you prefer, as T does.

BBB Dhakai Bakharkhani diary:

7 October 2014 09:27 Whoohoooo!! I’m very excited to try something new from the Indian subcontinent! How thrilling – even though I’m terrified to be making mawa and ghee. This sounds similar to paratha and we adore parathas.

8 October 2014 11:24 I have to admit that I’m terrified of making mawa – I remember watching people boiling milk in big copper cauldrons on the streets in Benares and being amazed. The only time I’ve ever boiled milk is by mistake when making cocoa (I can hear my mum now cautioning, “Don’t let it boil! The cocoa will get a skin”)

Bakarkhani in Dinajpur, the town I am from, is a doughy, thick bread with morobba pieces. Bakarkhani from Sylhet or Chittagong is paratha like bread soaked in syrup. The legendary Old Dhaka bakarkhani is firm, puff pastry like biscuit. During the preparation of legendary Bakarkhani, it is very important to repeat the ghee and flour spreading process twice for each fold i.e. spread ghee, sprinkle flour, spread ghee sprinkle flour and then fold. Over baking will destroy the flavor and layers of bakarkhani, so be cautious and keep an eye.
Lail Hossain, With a Spin | Bakarkhani

The layering part sounds okay though. I think I can handle that.

12 November 2014 00:15 When Aparna told us about this bread, I imagined I was going to make it really early. But no. I really should know myself better by now; I haven’t even fully read the recipe yet. (I’m not proud of this….)

I’ve done a little internet searching about making homemade mawa and see lots of recipes using a crockpot or a microwave oven. But we don’t have a crockpot or a microwave oven…. I’m getting nervous about having to reduce milk on the stove and am thinking about trying a method of using powdered milk to make mawa that I saw on YouTube.

12 November 2014 17:02 I don’t know why, but suddenly I’m expecting major failure with this bread. So I’ve decided to make just half the recipe.

mawa I’m too lazy to make ghee. And every time I think about making all that mawa, I started to shake. So I decided to make only the amount necessary AND to use the powdered milk shortcut. I put a tablespoon of milk into a pyrex bowl with a little sliver of butter and stuck it in the toaster oven to heat until it just started to bubble (maybe 2 minutes). Then I added 4 tablespoons of milk powder and mixed it in.

It looked correct…

To check, I summoned the resident expert to taste a tiny bit. Here’s the result:

he: it looks good! [tasting the tiny amount I gave him] it tastes exactly as I remember!
me: so it’s okay?
he: it’s great! [reaching forward to get some more]
me: Hey! [snatching away the bowl] If you want any more, I’ll have to make it again! This is exactly the right amount for the bread.

Ha! So there it is; it turns out that making mawa is incredibly EASY! And it takes no time at all! Especially if you cheat like I did…

It turns out that I’m not the only cheater:

If and only if you have time and if you want to then you can make traditional homemade khoya which is easy but very time consuming. If someone ask me to choose one then I will go for Instant mawa as it is quick and easy to make. I made mithais using both traditional and instant mawa and I don’t see any difference between them. Then why go for lengthy process when you have this quick recipe.
-Kanan, Spice Up the Curry, Instant khoya recipe | how to make quick and easy mawa

Now I have to wait for the mawa to cool so I can crumble it. Then I’ll mix the dough, roll it out, put it into the cylinder tonight and roll the discs out tomorrow morning. I hope this isn’t a misake to let the dough rest overnight rather than 10 to 15 minutes….

17:32 Sudden change of direction! I’m going to mix everything tomorrow morning first thing. We’ll have bakharkhani for elevenses. (Ha. Anything to wiggle out of doing something scary….)

13 November 2014, 09:37 I just took the small amount of mawa out of the fridge to bring it up to room temperature. Hmmmmm… it’s QUITE dry. Shall I say rock-like? If it’s still in the same condition, I’ll add a little milk and melted butter to soften it up so I can crumble it.

I was just reading about bakarkhani on the internet and see that according to Wikipedia, “Bakerkhani is made by kneading together flour, ghee, in some cases cardamom, sugar and salt with water.”. Ooooohhh! I like the idea of adding cardamom!

I searched further to see that Shireen Anwar ( puts rosewater into his mawa and egg, yeast, poppy seeds and cardamom into his bakarkhani. Another recipe calls for no sugar. Another calls for adding sesame seeds. Another recipe calls for adding a little corn starch and the recipe on calls for baking powder, yeast, raisins, sunflower seeds, but I’m a bit suspicious of any of the recipes that call for much more than mawa, flour, ghee and water….

Still, I really do like the idea of adding a bit of cardamom! Yes! I’m going to do that.

11:03 Finally, the dough is kneaded. And it’s smooth as silk. Slightly knubbly silk…. That’s right, I had a tiny bit of difficulty. Of course, I did.

As usual, I didn’t really pay full attention to the part that said to add the water gradually. I added half the water, knowing that would be safe. It was. Even though I had added half the FULL AMOUNT of water, forgetting that I was dividing the recipe in half. :stomp:

Then I sloshed in a little more onto the dry section at the bottom of the bowl. Oops. Too much. At least it wasn’t soup though. And it allowed me to more easily find all those big lumps of mawa that had refused to crumble.

So I added another quarter cup of all-purpose flour. And then was worried that I might have to add more water. (Yikes. There’s nothing like a vicious circle, is there?) Luckily, I stopped myself from adding the water and simply kneaded, kneaded, kneaded, still constantly finding little bits of mawa and crushing them between my thumbs.

12:16 Dhakai Bakharkhani Rolling the dough out was a dream. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Folding it over was easy too. Or at least, the first fold was.

For the final folds, I tried to do it the same way that the woman on the YouTube video did. But I couldn’t manage to do it evenly. So I just bundled it all together as best I could and rolled it up.

And then, in spite of the instruction to wait 10 minutes to let the log rest, I went ahead and divided it into six pieces. By cutting it with the dough scraper rather than pulling off the pieces.

Oh oh.

Rolling out the discs was not so simple. The layers wanted to separate. Majorly. But I finally made each one submit to be disc-like and put in the three cuts to each one. Into the oven they went on the top shelf (to prevent burning on the bottom). I set the timer for 15 minutes, just in case they got done sooner rather than later.

Cleaning the buttery board wasn’t so simple either. Because it’s November, our kitchen is cold again. The thin layer of butter had pretty much solidified by the time the discs were in the oven. (Thank goodness for vinegar and hot water….)

They took FOREVER to bake! After 15 minutes, I set the timer for another 10 minutes. And then, because the discs were still quite flabby and blonde on top, I turned them over (they were beginning to be gold on the bottoms) and set the timer for another 10 minutes. And then another 5 minutes.

At last they seemed ready and onto a footed wire rack they went while we brewed coffee. They were a little dense but they smelled great!

Sigh. My bakarkhani don’t look anything like Aparna’s! They look more like green onion cakes.

Dhakai Bakharkhani But they tasted good…. They went perfectly with big cups of milky coffee.

I think I could have safely added a bit more cardamom to the dough. The cardamom flavour was barely evident. It was only there when we really thought about it.

They tasted good, even though the discs didn’t look correct – I tried to get rid of the layering the way that the video lady seemed to but my layers refused to disappear. Maybe I put in too much flour?

But ultimately, it didn’t really matter, did it? It’s the flavour that counts. :-)

Many thanks for the stretch, Aparna!

Here is the BBB November 2014 Dhakai Bakharkhani recipe. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Dhakai Bakharkhani Bread
adapted from Lail Hossain’s recipe for Bakarkhani Bread at Honest Cooking

makes 5 Bakharkhani


  • 4 Tbsp skim milk powder ¹
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted ²
  • 1 Tbsp 2% milk


  • 1¼ c flour ³
       » 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
       » ¼ c 100% whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp cardamom seed, ground finely 4
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp mawa
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cups water (more OR less as needed)
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, melted (for layering)
  • unbleached all-purpose flour (for layering)
  1. mawa: Put milk and butter into a heat proof bowl and put it in the toaster oven until the milk is just starting to bubble. Remove it from the oven and stir in milk powder until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. mixing the dough: Put flours, salt, cardamom and sugar into a medium sized bowl and whisk together.
  3. Crumble the mawa. If you were foolish enough to make the mawa the night before, try not to curse too loudly that you didn’t bring it up to room temperature before trying to crumble it. Use your fingers to mix the largish lumps into the flour mixture.
  4. Add melted butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour. Add half the water and mix well. If there is still flour in the bottom of the bowl, add a little more water. Curse yourself when you add too much water and get out the flour container again to add a little more. Try not to continue in a vicious circle of “oops too much”.
  5. Kneading Use your hands to knead, knead, knead, knead. Be irritated that the mawa lumps refuse to get smaller. Crush them between your thumbs. Knead some more until the dough is smooth. Put the dough into the bowl, cover it with a plate and leave it on the counter for half an hour, or so, to rest.
  6. Rolling Spoon some melted butter onto the board and spread it around with your hands. Put the dough onto the board and spoon a little more butter onto the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a very thin rectangle that is the same dimensions as the board.
  7. Layering Spoon a small amount melted butter onto the rectangle and spread it around with your hands. Scatter a little bit of flour down and spread that around evenly. Spoon another small amount of butter overtop; scatter a little more flour and spread it around with your hand. Fold the rectangle in half. Repeat the buttering/flouring twice. Fold the rectangle in half again. Repeat the buttering/flouring twice. Roll the final rectangle jellyroll-style into a cylinder. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat Put a rack on the top shelf of the oven and preheat to 350F.
  9. Shaping Divide the cyclinder into 6 even pieces. I used a dough scraper to cut the pieces but the BBB recipe says to pull them off with your hands. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll it flat into a disc. Place the discs on a parchment papered cookie sheet. Use a knife to make three center cuts in each disc.
  10. Baking Bake the discs for 30 minutes until they are light, crispy and golden.

Serve the discs warm with tea or coffee.


1.) Mawa/Khoya The BBB recipe calls for “1 litre full fat milk (2% will also do) – makes approximately 3/4 to 1 cup mava” by bringing it to a boil then turning it down to medium heat and cooking it for at least an hour, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. I’m lazy. So I chose to use the powdered milk short cut I found on the internet.

2.) Butter The BBB recipe calls for Ghee (clarified butter). Again. I’m lazy. So I simply used melted butter. But, please take a leaf out of Aparna’s book:

Ghee is nothing but clarified butter and […] is quite easy to make your own at home. Melt 500gm of unsalted butter and let it cook until the milk solids in the butter start turning golden brown (do not burn them) and the liquid fat is a golden colour. You should get a rich aroma from it.
Let it cool to room temperature and then decant or strain the golden liquid into an airtight jar. This keeps for ages.
-Aparna, BBB recipe

3.) Flour The BBB recipe simply calls for flour. I just couldn’t help myself from adding a little whole wheat flour.

4.) Cardamom The BBB recipe calls for zero cardamom. I decided to add some after seeing the Wikipedia article on Bakharkhani.

Bread Baking Babes Mawwhat?? Ersatz Dhakai Bakharkhani (BBB November 2014)

Aparna is the host of November 2014’s Bread Baking Babes’ challenge. She wrote:

the BBBs have been baking for a while and baked their way through a variety of breads from across the world, choosing a bread wasn’t exactly easy. That was until it struck me that I could look for a bread that was from the Asian subcontinent. After a lot of searching, I found a bread that I hoped would be different, challenging and fun for all of us to bake. May I present the Bakharkahni, a layered and very rich bread, made somewhat in the manner of puff pastry?
I must warn you that it is very rich in calories, and a bit of work, but should be worth the effort.

A bit of work, she says…. :-)

Well, it is that. But it is also worth the effort… we know you’ll want to make Bakharkhani too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 November 2014. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ November bread:


When I was searching around for various ways to make mawa, I came across this wonderful plea for help:

im due 2 get married in a 6 mnths and my fiances mum wants to inspect my cooking… dnt get me wrong i can cook n that but im from sylhet and my b/f is dhakaya so we have diff cuisines. his mum putz yoghurt n cocnut in2 EVERYTHING!
so i wnted 2 impress her and asked what her fave food was. he mentioned a few things and i can make em no sweat. but der was 1 thing i cnt make..n thats bakhar khani.
– mrs-choudhury, Discussion Forum, bakhar khani!! helllp!!! (

I LOVE the internet!

Alas, a few of the malicious bots are still hammering away so still no commenting allowed. :stomp:



edit 25 February 2015: I finally have commenting allowed again! Whoohooooo! (read more here about the hoops I jumped through)


This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, Indian, posts with recipes on by .

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