Rachel’s Hobz Malti (Maltese Bread)

I mentioned my interest in Maltese bread to a Maltese colleague of mine. He asked some relatives for recipes and this one came back from a friend of a friend called Rachel – an Anthropologist who spent some time studying the lives of Maltese bread makers.

Rachel's Hobz Malti (Maltese Bread)
I'm attaching recipe....proportions can vary according to taste so I've provided a kind of average. You can play around with it though. The ingredients and methods are very simple. Its time you need mainly. This is how I remember them making it.
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Ingredients
  1. 1kg Plain flour
  2. 2 heaped tsp sea salt
  3. 2 glasses Water
  4. Dried yeast (this depends on the make, and the room temperature – on average 1or 2 sachets of dried yeast.)
  5. "Mother dough" (also known as sour dough add a fist sized piece of leftover dough from the day before. If you don’t have any you can increase the dry yeast slightly.)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth malleable ball of dough that is not sticky (water-to- flour proportion may need to vary according to the weather – and use some of the flour to sprinkle over the work surface).
  2. Leave it to rise for 2 hours.
  3. Knead the dough again and leave to rise again for another 2 hours in a warm dry place.
  4. Shape the loaves into the sizes and shapes one would like.
  5. This amount should make 3 medium sized loaves (with a small piece reserved for the next baking).
  6. The top of the loaf could be scored with a sharp knife before baking.
  7. It is common for loaves to be marked/scored with a cross (known as tas-salib) or with a slice on the side (tas-sikkina)
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes at 250º C or until medium brown (the smaller the loaf the less it will need)
Notes
  1. All proportions are variable according to preference and taste. In fact each baker (ghaggien) normally boasts that he has his own recipe. The salt may be increased slightly, but go slow on the yeast. Re yeast – its best to follow instructions of packet you buy. However, remove a small amount as you are also adding the mother dough which contributes to the fermentation (and gives Maltese bread its particular flavour). If you keep some mother dough for the next day, store it in a cool dry and dark place and cover with a tea towel.
Balagan Recipes http://balaganrecipes.info/

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