Saturday, October 29, 2011

Anna Sultana's Hobz - Maltese Bread l Quick Cheese Pizza


Like I said, maybe Carmela just popped into
a good Italian bakery for a few loaves of
Italian bread.
In New York, Italian bakeries are a dime a dozen compared to Maltese bakeries.
Ma had no choice.
If she wanted a taste of home, she had to bake it herself.

And so can you.

Don't get excited by the number of loaves.
Hobz loaves are small.
Orange-size balls of dough can only get so big.
Well, good things come in small packages.

A small hint:  While kneading the dough, dip your hands in water to give the 
dough a smooth elastic finish.


                        Hobz

Makes 7 - 9 loaves 

In a small bowl, pour
1/2 Cup warm water (@ 110º F)
Sprinkle over the water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
Let stand about 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.

In a large bowl combine
2 teaspoons salt 
6 Cups flour
Make a small depression in the center.

Combine in a small bowl
1/3 Cup milk
1 1/2 Cups warm water (@ 110º F)
dissolved yeast/water mixture

Pour liquids into flour/salt depression.
Mix the flour with the liquids.
Make sure to knead in all the flour.
Knead until it is smooth and the sides of the bowl are clean.
Don't forget to occasionally dip your hands in water.

Cover dough with a towel and let rise in a warm place, about 3 hours.
Pull out orange-size balls and form into smooth balls.
Place them on a towel.
Cover with another towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Roll one piece into a 1/4-inch thick circle.
Place it back on the towel.
Repeat with remaining balls.
Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 475º 
Place dough directly on hot racks in oven.
As soon as dough rises into a mound (2 to 5 minutes), place under broiler 
for a few seconds until lightly browned.
Cool.
Hobz freezes well.

Slice and serve, just like regular bread.

****
Or you can make a quick Cheese Pizza

In the side of a Hobz, slice a pocket 
In the pocket arrange slices of
fresh tomatoes
cheese (mozzarella is nice)
Sprinkle with
oregano
Place Hobz on a baking sheet.
Bake in a hot oven until the cheese is melted.

2 comments:

  1. Hi I'm a Gozitan living in Ireland and I'd like to try your recipe for the Maltese hobza as it looks very tasty. When you say to place the dough directly on the hot racks, won't the dough melt through the rack? Will it hold its shape or is it better to put on a baking dish or something of the sort?

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  2. Hi, Judy,
    Nice to meet you. Ireland! We Maltese do get around!!
    The bread dough is solid (not like a pancake batter), and the contact with the hot oven grill will give it more of a traditional toasted crust. if you prefer it less crusty, use a baking dish. Hobz is at its best fairly fresh, so if you're not going to eat them within a day, freeze the extra loaves. They can get hard.
    Hope you had a nice Festa di San Guzepp!
    Sahha, Margaret

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