The hotter the weather gets, the more we find ourselves thinking about a good cut of Maltese bread with tomatoes, olives, tuna and whatnot!
It’s easy to just go buy bread, but today we will challenge you with a recipe to bake Maltese bread at home…
Making the Starter Dough (Tnissila or Tinsila) – sour dough
• Half a sachet of active dry yeast
• ¼ cup lukewarm water
• 1 tsp sugar
• 2/3 cup strong bread flour
- Mix all ingredients and form into a ball (it must be soft and elastic) and store in a warm place for about 6 hours (if cooler temperature, leave it overnight). After this time you can refrigerate or freeze the starter dough ready for next time.
- Reactivate the starter dough (the day after when baking the bread)
• Take half of the starter dough and squeeze it between finger tips in lukewarm water;
• Add 15g active dry yeast
• 1 tbsp sugar, cover and let the yeast to fermentation (frothy)
- The other half of the starter dough – add to it 100g strong bread flour and enough lukewarm water until a soft elasticated dough is formed. Allow to rest in a warm place for 6 hours and store in fridge for next time.
MAKING THE BREAD
• 600 strong bread flour
• 2 tsp sea salt (fine)
• The starter dough mixture
• Additional lukewarm water to form the dough
HOW TO DO IT
- Knead until elastic and smooth (about 10 minutes)
- Store in a medium sized bowl, cover with cling film and wet tea towel for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size
- Kneed the dough and fold the edges inwards to the centre while turning the bowl anticlockwise for five turns. Cover again and place in a warm place for another 1 hour
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into pieces of your liking
- To make the bread, fold the edges between hand palms towards the centre underneath forming a ball of you preferred size
- Place onto a well floured baking tray (place the balls apart for rising space), cut a slit on the top of each of the bread ball and sprinkle flour on top.
- Cover and store in a warm place until the balls double their size. Sprinkle additional flour and bake into a pre-heated oven 250°C for about 45 minutes (depending on the size and form of the bread)
- Allow cooling on a wire rack; covered with a clean cloth.