Fluffy but dense, crunchy but easy, Maltese bread (aka Il-Ħobż tal-Malti) is a Mediterranean deal with that takes persistence however is definitely worth the effort. Baking the long-lasting bread could appear intimidating for freshmen, however with the proper substances, approach, and a few suggestions and tips, anybody can grasp this satisfying loaf.

I’ll present step-by-step steering on methods to make Maltese bread at dwelling. You’ll be taught to realize the right doughy inside encased in a shiny, crispy golden crust. With just a few notes, you’ll be biting into heat, do-it-yourself Maltese bread very quickly!

How to make maltese bread: your simple guide

Desk of Contents

Components for Il-Ħobż tal-Malti

To craft Maltese bread, you’ll want only a handful of easy substances.

Let’s check out the constructing blocks of this recipe.

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet (2 1⁄4 teaspoons) dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon superb sea salt
  • 1 1⁄4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Use both white or complete wheat flour or a mix. An excessive amount of flour will make the dough dry and difficult, too little will forestall it from holding its form.


Test the expiration date earlier than utilizing. Bloom the yeast in heat water earlier than mixing to activate it.


A teaspoon of salt must be sufficient. An excessive amount of salt might make your bread dry.


The hydration degree vastly impacts the ultimate texture. Intention for a excessive ratio, round 65-70%. This quantity of water produces a smooth, fluffy texture.

Olive Oil

Olive oil (additionally referred to as Ħobż biż-żejt) imparts a definite, wealthy taste to the bread. It additionally contributes to the feel of the bread, making it extra tender and moist. It will possibly assist in making a smooth crumb and a crust that’s crispy however not too laborious.


Sugar is a supply of food for yeast. That is essential for the event of the bread’s texture.

How to make maltese bread: your simple guide

Gear Wanted

Having the proper kitchen tools could make all of the distinction. As an enthusiastic dwelling baker, I’ve collected my justifiable share of baking instruments over time.

Listed here are some key tools you’ll have to craft crunchy, fluffy Maltese bread.

Mixing Bowls

You’ll want at the very least two mixing bowls – one for mixing the dough substances and one other for letting the dough rise. I favor utilizing sturdy, light-weight chrome steel or glass bowls that may stand up to frequent use. Plastic bowls might retain odors and harbor micro organism over time.

Baking Sheets

For baking Maltese bread, rimmed baking sheets work finest. The raised edges present help because the dough rises, stopping it from spreading too skinny. Remember to line the pans with parchment paper for straightforward removing as soon as baked.

Mixing Utensils

An extended-handled wood spoon means that you can completely incorporate substances collectively when mixing the dough. As soon as fashioned, use a plastic bench scraper to cleanly raise and portion the dough.

Kitchen Scale

Weighing your substances promotes consistency and correct measurements batch after batch. Digital kitchen scales present precision all the way down to the gram.


Monitoring the inner temperature of bread because it bakes prevents over or under-baking. Immediate learn thermometers ought to register 185°F – 210°F when inserted within the thickest a part of a loaf.


An oven that maintains a good, regular temperature is paramount for correctly baking bread. Convection ovens promote air circulation for crustier loaves. If utilizing a normal oven, keep away from opening the door excessively throughout baking.

Making the Starter Dough (Tnissila or Tinsila)

The muse of nice Maltese bread lies within the starter dough, recognized regionally as Tnissila or Tinsila. This pre-fermented dough varieties the bottom upon which the ultimate bread dough is constructed, lending enhanced taste, texture, and rise to the completed loaf.

As an enthusiastic dwelling baker, I’ve experimented extensively with totally different sorts of sourdough starter over time. In my expertise, getting the fermentation course of proper is essential to baking Maltese bread that’s gentle, ethereal, and deliciously tangy. Let’s break down the steps for making a easy, versatile Tinsila.

Kickstarting Fermentation

The important thing participant in Tinsila is yeast. To get up the dormant yeast and get fermentation going, we create a starter sponge.

  1. First, dissolve a packet of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar right into a half cup of heat water. The sugar feeds the yeast, whereas the tepid temperature helps speed up their progress. Let this combination sit for 5-10 minutes till foamy, confirming the yeast is lively and able to social gathering.
  2. Subsequent, beat in a cup of flour – I favor unbleached all-purpose. This varieties a thick, batter-like sponge speckled with bubbles. You’ll discover the irresistible candy, yeasty aroma as fermentation kicks into excessive gear.
  3. Cowl the sponge and put aside in a heat space to rise for an hour or so earlier than mixing your last dough. This offers the yeast a head begin to produce fuel and taste compounds that can carry by to your baked bread.

Extending Fermentation

  1. As soon as your starter sponge has doubled in dimension after an hour, it’s prepared to combine into the ultimate Tinsila dough. This extends fermentation even additional, permitting the yeast to provide further bubbles and tangy flavors.
  2. In a big bowl, combine the bubbly sponge with 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few cup of tepid water. Prove onto a clear floor and knead the shaggy dough for 5-7 minutes till clean and elastic.
  3. Resist the urge so as to add extra flour – a smooth, sticky dough ends in the lightest texture. Place the kneaded Tinsila dough into an oiled bowl, cowl with plastic wrap, and put aside to rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Judging the Rise

As unseen microbial magic takes place, your Tinsila dough will slowly develop in dimension. However how have you learnt precisely when it’s prepared to make use of?

I counsel doing the “dent take a look at” – gently poke the dough with a floured finger. If the indentation slowly fills again in, fermentation is in full swing. But when it stays indented, fermentation is slowing and the starter is able to use.

At this level, you’ll discover the dough is crammed with bubbles and has a tangy, candy aroma. Now we are able to combine the completed Tinsila right into a last bread dough for baking. This starter gives the muse for taste growth and rise, whereas additional yeast ensures sufficient leavening.

In spite of everything this ready, I do know it’s tempting to hurry the prep. However enable me to guarantee you – resting and fermenting the dough is time nicely invested. Whilst you impatiently watch the clock, the yeast performs its magical work, rewarding your persistence with the right rise and tantalizing style.

How to make maltese bread: your simple guide

Baking Your Il-Ħobż tal-Malti

Crafting the right loaf of Maltese bread requires finesse relating to baking. From oven temperature to timing, a number of key components impression the ultimate texture and style. After years of experimentation, I’ve honed an artisanal baking methodology that balances a young, ethereal crumb with a crisp, caramelized crust.

1. Preheating the Oven

Having an oven that maintains a good 425°F temperature is crucial when baking bread. Fluctuations as small as 25 levels can imply the distinction between a triumphant rise and a squat, dense loaf. For optimum warmth circulation, place the oven rack within the middle place. When you’ve got a baking stone, slide it onto the decrease third rack to radiate warmth.

2. Scoring the Dough

Earlier than sliding the risen dough into the new oven, rating ornamental slashes throughout the highest utilizing a pointy lame or blade. Scoring permits the bread to correctly develop so the crust doesn’t tear randomly. Angle the cuts about 1⁄2 inch deep on the diagonal or in artistic designs for an artisanal presentation.

3. Monitoring the Bake

Initially, you’ll discover the dough quickly rising as a result of “oven spring”. Resist opening the oven door prematurely or this rise might collapse. Observe by the window as an alternative. The dough will seem billowy and puffed, filling the pan earlier than settling into its last dimension.

After 20 minutes, rapidly rotate the pan 180 levels for even browning. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle – as soon as it registers 200-210°F, your bread is prepared after a complete of 30-35 minutes of baking time.

4. Growing the Crust

A trademark of nice Maltese bread is a deliciously browned, crackly crust. This exterior crunch comes from moisture quickly evaporating, permitting pure sugars to caramelize for an appetizing aroma and chestnut coloration. Count on just a few blackened bubbles right here and there!

5. Cooling and Slicing

Permitting the bread to completely cool earlier than slicing prevents gummy textures because the crumb condenses. As laborious as it’s, wait at the very least one hour after baking earlier than slicing.

How to make maltese bread: your simple guide

Closing Steps for Maltese Sourdough

When baked to perfection, Maltese bread showcases a gorgeous distinction of textures – crusty, chewy, and tender. This signature texture stems from the next:

  • excessive hydration dough
  • prolonged fermentation time
  • clever scoring earlier than baking. 

Because the loaf hits the blazing warmth of the oven, moisture evaporates quickly from the floor. Sugars and starches caramelize to kind the appetizing brown exterior. But the inside retains sufficient moisture for a moist, cloud-like texture.

Rustic Look

Visually, Maltese bread has an old-world, artisanal aesthetic with its free-form form and rustic presentation. Keep away from fussing over good symmetry.

As a substitute, embrace cracks, irregular bubbles, and flour flecked on the floor. These marks of handcrafted care solely improve the great thing about your do-it-yourself loaf.

How to make maltese bread: your simple guide

The Artwork of Ħobż tal-Malti

In the end, Maltese bread is a labor of affection. Whereas time-consuming, its fluffy and crunchy deliciousness make the wait worthwhile. Mastering this iconic Mediterranean loaf requires high quality substances, correct approach, and most of all—persistence. However with just a few easy suggestions, anybody can obtain bakery-worthy outcomes.

So don’t be intimidated. Bake fluffy, golden Il-Ħobż tal-Malti at dwelling and savor the journey from mixing to that first satisfying chew.

How To Make Maltese Bread: FAQs

Why is Maltese bread so good?

Maltese bread is made with high-gluten flour and is historically baked in a wood-fired oven, which supplies it a crisp crust and lightweight, ethereal texture that’s scrumptious. The sourdough starter additionally contributes advanced flavors.

Is Maltese bread sourdough?

Sure, genuine Maltese bread makes use of a sourdough starter that has often been handed down for generations. This offers the bread its attribute tangy, advanced taste and permits it to rise very nicely.

What are the various kinds of Maltese bread?

Frequent kinds of Maltese bread embrace ħobża, a spherical white loaf; ħobż tal-Malti, a thicker, crustier loaf; ftira, a flatbread; and ħobż biz-zejt, a bread baked with olive oil for added taste and softness.

What’s the historical past of Maltese bread?

Bread-making in Malta dates again centuries when bakers used wood-fired ovens on account of lack of electrical energy. Sourdough methods allowed the bread to rise nicely in Malta’s scorching local weather. At present, Maltese bread stays a cultural staple celebrated for its distinctive style and texture.

What’s Maltese bread referred to as?

It’s also referred to as Il-Ħobż tal-Malti.


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How to make maltese bread: your simple guide

For the Starter Dough (Tnissila or Tinsila)

  • 1 packet dry yeast (2 1⁄4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup heat water
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Bread Dough

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (further for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon superb sea salt
  • 1 1⁄4 cups water (tepid)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Mixing bowls
  • Baking sheets
  • Mixing utensils
  • Kitchen scale
  • Thermometer
  • Oven

Making ready the Starter

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in heat water.
  2. Let sit for 5-10 minutes till foamy.
  3. Beat in 1 cup of flour to kind a sponge. Cowl and put aside in a heat space to rise for about an hour.

Making the Bread Dough

  1. Combine the risen sponge with 2 cups flour, salt, and about 1 cup of tepid water.
  2. Knead on a floured floor for 5-7 minutes till clean and elastic. The dough must be smooth and barely sticky.
  3. Place in an oiled bowl, cowl, and let rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). If utilizing a baking stone, place it on the decrease third rack.
  2. As soon as the dough has risen, form it right into a loaf. Rating the highest with ornamental slashes.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating midway by, till the inner temperature reaches 200-210°F (93-99°C). The crust must be golden brown.
  4. Cool for at the very least one hour earlier than slicing.
  • Creator: Natasha Krajnc
  • Prep Time: 2.5 hrs
  • Prepare dinner Time: 35 minutes
  • Class: bread
  • Delicacies: Maltese


  • Serving Measurement: 1 slice
  • Energy: 160 kcal
  • Sodium: 230 mg
  • Fats: 2.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Key phrases: Maltese sourdough bread

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