I love breads of all kinds and I’m always happy to try local breads when traveling. In Malta I didn’t expect I would fell so much in love with one of their bread: Qagħaq tal-Ħmira, sesame, anis, spices rings. We had one the very first morning when we were at the Birkirkara market, and after that I wanted to have some always, but there not that easy to find actually. Pastizzi were good but these little Qagħaq tal-Ħmira were just perfect. It has a perfect balance between sweetness and not, between richness and not, between spiciness and not. The balance of clove, anis seeds, citrus zest and sesame is perfect and that was the most difficult to recreate actually. But after 3 attempts I think I’ve nailed it and can share my recipe now. We love them so much and just to be sure I tested a fourth time, they were perfect, so there will many many more times!!!
– 200g of flour
– 25g of butter
– 25g of sugar
– 3g of dry yeast
– a pinch of salt
– 1 cup more or less of tepid milk
– 1/2 tsp of clove powder
– 1 tsp of anis seeds
– 2 tsp of citrus zest (official recipe says lemon and orange, I used what I had: yuzu, natsumikan…)
– sesame seeds for the toping
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, add the milk slightly warmed little by little while kneading. Stop adding milk and kneading when the dough is smooth. Add the clove powder, the anis seeds, the zest of citrus. Knead just to mix well. Leave for an hour or two in a warm places. When the dough has grow a bit and is warm and fluffy, cut in 4 pieces. Make a ball of each piece and shape like a bagel: squeeze the center of the ball with your thumb and make a hole, roll around your fingers to make the hole bigger about 4-5cm wide. Roll the top in sesame. Leave to prove for 1 to 2hours.
Bake at 180deg for 15 to 20min depending on your oven. Must be slightly golden but still soft.
Enjoy warm or cold, with jam, butter, cheese… or nothing…