Qagħaq tal-ġbejniet are soft fluffy buns with a crunchy crust that are filled with a cheesy and herby mixture!
Who can ever say no to bread? And to stuffed bread? On this blog I have already previously shared my recipe for braided ġbejna bread, however this time it is slightly different. These small savoury qagħaq are made from a fluffier dough, which results in a light soft crumb with a slightly crunchy crust!
Fill it up!
Each qaghqa is filled with a mixture made from a cheese and herb mixture. You will need:
Ġbejniet – traditional Maltese sheep milk cheese gives a tangy salt aroma to the qagħaq. If you don’t have this cheese on hand you can either use feta, grated halloumi or shredded pecorino romano. Ideally, no soft cheese is used in these qagħaq.
Parsley – fresh flat leaf parsley is the best, in my humble opinion. Slightly chop it up roughly and I suggest that you use a lot of it! I prefer to have more parsley than the actual cheese here, as the herb leaves such a lovely earthy aftertaste.
Chili flakes – a bit of heat does wonders! Use as much as you like!
Pepper – the pepper can be omitted if you will be using peppered Ġbejniet. However, use good quality freshly cracked pepper for a more pungent kick!
Making the bread
These qagħaq are one of the easiest breads you can make. All you need is flour, yeast, water, milk, olive oil, salt, and sugar. After kneading well the dough, the waiting game begins as you have to let the dough rest; first for an hour and then, after shaping and filling the qagħaq, you let them rest again for 30 minutes.
The milk in this recipe makes the qagħaq fluffier, however you can substitute the milk with water. Or else, you can also use dairy-free milk.
If you like this bread, you can also try this slightly different bread – Qagħqa tal-Appostli – Maltese Apostle’s ring bread
The smell of fresh bread
These bread is ideally enjoyed the same day that they are baked. However, if you have some leftover qagħaq simply warm them up before serving or toast them slightly. You can freeze these qagħaq individually for about 3 months.
- 500 g bread flour or plain flour
- 4 g sugar 1 tsp
- 10 g salt 1 1/2 tsp
- 7 g active dry yeast
- 15 ml olive oil
- 100 ml water lukewarm
- 250 ml milk lukewarm
- 50 g butter
- extra sesame seeds/nigella seeds/poppy seeds
- 100 g ġbejniet cheese
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- handful of fresh parsley
- In a small bowl mix together the lukewarm water, milk, yeast and sugar. Set the mixture aside until it froths. This usually takes about 15 minutes.
- In a mixer or in a large bowl, mix the flour and the salt together and make a well. Add the olive oil and the yeast mixture in the well.
- Start kneading or mixing the dough in the mixer. If you are going to knead the dough by hand it should take you about 20 minutes. Whereas with the mixer the dough should be done in 10 minutes. The dough should be sticky, so don’t add any extra flour to it.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let it proof for about 1 hour. After this resting time it should be double in size.
- Chop the ġbejniet and mix with the parsley, chili flakes and pepper. Set aside
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Once rested, punch the dough down and divide into 10 pieces. Open each piece of dough flat to about 20 cm and spread some butter over it while opening it with your hands.
- Spread some filling horizontally in the middle of the opened dough. Roll the dough into a log with the filling in the middle and join both ends together. Place on the baking tray. Brush the ring with some water, sprinkle the sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Bake the qagħaq for about 30 minutes until they have a nice golden brown colour.
- Let it rest before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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!
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