Letterbox companies, gambling and tax avoidance are the bread and butter of this small European Union country. In this episode of Baking Bread, DW's EU correspondent Georg Matthes bakes traditional Maltese bread.
In the multimedia series "Baking Bread," EU correspondent Georg Matthes bakes 28 loaves from 28 EU countries and spices his baking instructions with typical anecdotes about each land. This time, he bakes traditional Maltese bread.
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And here is how you prepare Hobz tal-Malti – Malta's famous sourdough bread:
1. Prepare the sourdough the evening before baking. Mix the starter (made the evening before), lukewarm water and flour. Cover and leave to rise overnight at room temperature.
2. The following morning, mix all the ingredients with the sourdough and knead for nine minutes using a food processor. The dough should remain a little moist but come away from the bottom of the bowl.
3. Grease a bowl with olive oil and add the dough. Leave to rise for about two hours at 26°C until it has doubled in volume. Fold the dough twice: 50 minutes and 80 minutes into the resting time. Drizzle with a little olive oil both times.
4. Preheat the oven to 250°C and place a cast iron pan at the bottom.
5. Sprinkle a pizza peel with plenty of semolina.
6. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and gently shape it. Do not knead it again. Just fold it a little and then tip it out onto the pizza peel.
7. Place the bread on the hot baking stone and pour a glass of water into the cast iron pan.
8. Bake the bread at 250°C for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 20 minutes.
9. During the final five minutes of baking, open the oven a couple of times to let some air in. This will help create a nice crust.
10. The bread should be crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Maltese people like to eat it while it's still warm, drizzled with olive oil.