Peppered ġbejna bread is a pillowy soft bread with a light crunchy crust that is filled with tangy peppered Maltese cheese.
Since I’ve recently travelled to Malta to spend some time with my close family, I made it also a mission to eat and enjoy as much as I can the traditional Maltese cuisine. One of the foods I enjoyed, almost daily, is the Maltese cheese ġbejna. I was practically eating it with all of my meals! No discrimination was done between fresh, dried, plain, peppered or with herbs. I managed to enjoy a piece of them all.
Last week, I have already shared a recipe which includes the fresh version of this cheese, soppa tal-armla.
For this week, I wanted to experiment further with this cheese and create something new for me. So, I came up with the idea of incorporating a peppered ġbejna in this light fluffy bread.
The recipe here below can be easily made without the cheese, however, why would you want that? Cheese always makes things better! The bread on its own has a light and a sweet aftertaste, so if you actually want to omit the cheese, I suggest that you increase the amount of salt.
As the bread on its own has a sweet and delicate taste, it works amazing with the tangy and peppery cheese. I have opted to form and shape this bread into a braid, so that the cheese becomes evenly spread throughout the loaf and so that each bite bursts with flavour.
Serving the bread
Ideally, this braided peppered ġbejna is served warm so that the cheese is all melty and gooey. However, it can also be enjoyed after, when it’s cooled. Another way to enjoy this bread is to slice the bread up, toast it on both sides and spread some butter on top. It’s such a flavourful treat!
Peppered Ġbejna braided bread
- 400 g plain flour 2 1/2 cups
- 100 g peppered ġbejna or any hard cheese
- 300 ml water lukewarm 1 cup 2 tbsp
- 45 ml olive oil 3 tbsp
- 11 g active dry yeast 1 sachet
- 12 g sugar 1 tbsp
- 6 g salt 1 tsp
- sesame seeds optional
- Start by activating the yeast in the lukewarm water together with the sugar. Let them activate for about 15 minutes until foamy.
- In a large bowl add the flour and salt, and mix together.
- To the flour, add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Start mixing everything together in the bowl until you get a shaggy dough.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work top and knead the dough for about 15 minutes, until you get a smooth dough. Let the dough rest in a warm place for about an hour.
- Grate or dice the ġbejna cheese and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 390°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough into three equal parts.
- Roll out each dough strand into a long rectangle and fill the middle with the ġbejna cheese. Close the edges on itself and roll into an oblong. Repeat the process for the three strands.
- Braid the three strands, by securing the three strands at the top and bottom. Optionally, you can tuck in both edges under the braid for a secure braid and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- Brush the braid with some oil or butter and bake for about 20 minutes, or until you get a nice golden colour on top.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list down below so to receive the recipe updates straight to your mailbox!