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)
- 1 kg Plain flour
- 2 heaped tsp sea salt
- 2 glasses Water
- Dried yeast this depends on the make, and the room temperature – on average 1or 2 sachets of dried yeast.
- "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.
- 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).
- Leave it to rise for 2 hours.
- Knead the dough again and leave to rise again for another 2 hours in a warm dry place.
- Shape the loaves into the sizes and shapes one would like.
- This amount should make 3 medium sized loaves (with a small piece reserved for the next baking).
- The top of the loaf could be scored with a sharp knife before baking.
- 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)
- Bake for about 40 minutes at 250º C or until medium brown (the smaller the loaf the less it will need)