The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Switzerland

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turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

Hello from Switzerland

Hi, I'm relatively new to Fresh Loaf and am really impressed with the activity and interaction of the members of this site. 


I live in the Switzerland and have a software business here with my husband (http://beancounter-ems.com). We also do translations and have met some wonderful people in the hotel and restaurant business as a result.


I also have a biscotti business with my sister near Boston. The internet and Skype make this possible as I do all the administrative work for the business, she does the production and sales, which we have been doing for five years now. We use mostly our family recipes originating from Italy as they have been in the food and restaurant business since my grandparents emigrated from Italy in 1894. http://pturo.com


I write a blog called Piacere - Food & Travel without rules! The blog is about my travels in Europe and recipes from my family as well as chefs and people who give them to me.  I like to take people on a journey to places that are local and introduce them to the culture, festivals and local dishes that you might not find in a travel guide. I love all the wonderful tourist sites, but try to encourage people to venture out and explore and mingle with the people of the country, or experience the back streets of a city and the wonderful dishes that are usually very different from the typical tourist menu. Switzerland as you can imagine is also one of my main travel destinations. This amazing country has been my home for the last 20 years. Since I live close to Como Italy, I do most of my shopping at the markets there and the wonderful selection of Italian products inspires my cooking.


I look forward to participating in this site and the wonderful recipes and people who are part of it. I'd like to invite you to follow my blog. http://turosdolci.wordpress.com


Patricia Turo

yozzause's picture
yozzause

welcome from Perth western australia,


had a holiday staying at the Britania hotel on the shores of lake como,


went over to the otherside turned right and  walked down the lake to a little bakery there and was invited in , the baker did not speak english but it did not really matter he showed me around and his daughter did any translation that was necesary.


i would have loved to have worked an evening there but really difficult with the ferry times. wonderfull holiday wonderfull scenery wonderfull people 


a bit like the folk at TFL really imsure you will enjoy your time here


regards yozza

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

Thanks for you comment yozza.  This is exactly what I mean about going beyond the tourist sites and meeting local people. It often turns out to be what you remember about your trip.  I once went with my husband on a business trip to Rome. He was teaching a class for two weeks. I spent the entire time walking the back streets. I found a jewelry store where I had a some cufflinks made for a birthday gift for my husband.  I spent the two weeks dropping by this store and spending hours with the owners talking and getting some really nice restaruant recommendations from them.  It is one of my best memories in Rome. I now search out the small hotels and agriturismi where I can enjoy the local environment even in the big cities.  


Best regards,


Patricia

yozzause's picture
yozzause

hi patricia ,


no main stream for me on that same holiday when we were in Malta we stayed away from the beach resort areas at the ancient town of Rabat and i found a small bakery by chance when a crowd started to form on a narrow footpath. all of a sudden there was movement and a doOrway opened and the crowd were coming away with bread.


As the crowd dwindled i went to have a look and and a lady behind the counter saw my interest, i told her i was a retired baker on holiday she pushed the counter away and invited me in.  


I was introduced to her husband and the bakers the dough maker had excellent English and the others all had better English than my Maltese.I did spend 2 years there when my father served in the Royal Navy.


When the guys were about to hand up dough pieces i asked if i could join in. Having worked with a couple of Maltese bakers  I thought that this might cause some fun as Maltese bakers tended to hand up with 2 hands 1 piece of dough whereas in Aus we tend to use 2 hands 2 pieces of dough. They all just stopped and watched and as i placed the dough pieces down they were picked up for inspection an luckily approving nods were given.


I was also allowed to assist loading the peel oven which is quite straight forward the dough piecealways face straight and the peel handler moves the peel head to the desired direction he is going into the oven. where does 3 or 4 hours go when you are having fun. The hotel manager did a double look as he recognised me when he came for bread.


Next evening i took in a small token of THANKS in the shapeof  a botlle of beer for all the boys however they were  a bit under the pump with one of the guys in hospital from a car accident that day so i just pulled my sleeves up and enjoyed a few more hours, the wife was invited upstairs with the bosses wife for a coffee or 2 we got back to the hotel just after midnight walking home with the doughmaker through the quiet narrow streets Not a booze fueled holiday hooligan in site. ANOTHER GREAT HOLIDAY  

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

Sorry I'm a little late in replying. I love stories like this! I wish people would skip the group travel and really get out and meet local people instead of following a pole with a flag on top. So I'll try to continue these discussions and maybe some others will tell us about their stories and experiences.


While living in the French part of Switzerland, we went to a restaurant very often and got to know the chef and his wife very well. The chef invited me to join him in his kitchen for a few weeks.  I went every day for about 3 weeks and even through my family has been in the restaurant business (family started and owned) he changed the way I cook completely. I wanted to work only with preparation (mis en place). My goal was to become more proficient in preparing a meal. I think this is one of the most important things to learn in the kitchen. I loved working with him and the rest of his staff and my approach to cooking changed completely. It was a a rush of activity and talking with the vendors that arrived everyday, preparing desserts with the pastry chef (my real interest), eating with them at meals was an experience I will never forget. He makes cookies at Christmas time and prepares a package for each guest. I thought no problem, I can do that. Well we prepared hundreds and hundreds of them and I thought my arm would drop off. They have remained friends to this day and he has invited me back because he has completely redone his kitchen. I have to admit, before I do that I have to spend some time in the gym as lifting those pans took some serious strength. The work is hard and my friend is a perfectionist so it is also intense.  I will go back at some point in time in low season.  I don't think I could handle the activity in high season. It was such a great time and one of my most cherished memories.


I've visited Malta and enjoyed quite a lot.


Thanks for your story,


Patricia Turo

GrantMufford's picture
GrantMufford

Hi Yozza


I have just joined this site and I am based in Johannesburg in South Africa. In November this year my wife and I went to Malta for a week. I have to agree that Malta was far more interesting when we got away from the usual tourist traps and we really enjoyed driving along the coast and eating in all the little villages. I loved your story about helping out at the bakery and would love to hear from your experience what would be required to recreate an authentic maltese bread at home. While my own attemts have been very tasty, I would not be so bold as to call them Maltese.


Regards


Grant

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Grant unfortunately i didnt get to copy any of the dough formula's for a truly authentic Maltese bread but it is very similar to southern italian or Sicilian style breads.
Perhaps we may have a maltese baker amongst our ranks that can give us an authentic formula.
I was told that they use A lot of Australian wheat that is milled in Malta.
I have a friend that has an italian style bakery i will try to get him to give us an authentic Southern Italian style loaf.
I do enjoy calling in with 2 or 3 slices of something new that i have experimented with for him and his staff to try on the way to work. some of his customers are very intersted too.
I was also able to get some really nice course rye meal off of him as he is wanting to make a nice rye and hasn't succeeded yet.There have been some nice ones on TFL so i do have a good starting point, just waiting for some cooler weather 36 today and 20 something overnight (not nice)
regards Yozza

will slick's picture
will slick

Hello I am a American of maltese heritage. Food was a important part of life in my house. My family also lived in tripoli Libya and Italy. The mix of the different cultures made for interesting menus. My mom and dad both passed away in the last few years. My mom was not a big bread baker but boy did she bake and cook. My best bread memories are of a fried bread we called sphingi, Mom would stretch a small piece of dough very thin then drop it hot olive oil. For breakfast she would make an indent in the center with her spoon and drop an egg in. the rest of the batch was left plain an eaten as a snack with powdered sugar. She also made couscous from scratch using H.O. farina and butter she would spread the farina on the table and roll it with the butter to make the couscous. The it would be steamed in a double boiler with the sauce on the bottom. There were always Pastitsi hers were the best. After spending W.W.2 in italian concentration camps all of my relatives migrated to Australia. My oldest brother Joe was born in a camp and as a result had sever health problems, he was given not much chance of making it to adulthood. My father was told by an Italian priest father Gufrado who opted to go with his maltese flock to the concentration camp. Your sons best chance would be in America so that's were We wound up. My brother Joe did finally sercumed to the kidney problems he suffered with but only after a happy mostly healthy life at the age of 66. I miss all three of them.

will slick's picture
will slick

I found this on the net never tried it but I think I will today.


 


Hobz Malti-Maltese Bread



Ingredients



600g flour
10g salt
15g sugar
15g margerine
25g yeast
345ml luke warm water
1 tablespoon milk


Method
Mix the four, salt and margerine. Add the yeast. Make a mixture of the luke warm water, sugar and the milk. Add on to the flour and knead the mixture well until the dough is white and elasticated. Place in a bowl, seal with cling film and a wet dish towel, place in a warm place for about 1 hour. Work the dough, cut into small pieces (50g). Place on a baking tray, paste with egg, cut with a knife and let the pieces rest for about 15 minutes. Cook in oven 450F (232C) gas mark 6-8 for 12-15 minutes.


 


 



The Maltese take their "Daily Bread" seriously!


 


No mention of Maltese food is complete without a reference to the local bread, and more specifically the popular loaf called 'Tal-Malti' (literally, "of the Maltese"). Very crusty on the outside, yet soft on the inside, many visitors find the combination of taste and texture of fresh Maltese bread irresistible.


Indeed, Maltese bread tastes like no other bread in the world. However, to enjoy it at its best, the 'hobza tal-Malti' must be eaten fresh, on the same day it was baked. You can find typical Maltese bread at most village groceries and supermarkets. However, a visit to a bakery is well worth your while, if only to witness and appreciate the rustic authenticity of the way it is produced - not to mention savouring the enticing aroma of the finished product, fresh out of the oven!

A perfect snack is 'hobz biz-zejt', served in practically every bar or kiosk and still a favourite packed lunch for many. Each bar and household has a different version of the ingredients which make up this popular snack, but they all make a substantial alternative to a quick lunchtime sandwich. The 'hobz biz-zejt' is a large thick round of Maltese bread dipped in olive oiL rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers. A version made with the unleavened variety of Maltese bread, the ring-shaped Jtira; is just as delicious. In restaurants, smaller portions known as 'bruschetta' are served as appetisers.

First-time visitors to the Maltese Islands are usually pleasantly surprised to realise that a loaf of bread can prove to be such a treat in itself. Some visitors are so taken by this genuine delicacy that they make sure they grab a loaf before boarding their planes, thus taking back home a simple, but incredible slice of Maltese life!


 


will slick's picture
will slick

That was a fast turnaround. Looks nice I have no idea if its authentic Ħobż Malti. Tomorrow I'll try it with an over night starter. The formula called 25g of yeast i guess fresh, I used a scant teaspoon of instant and it took two hours to get to double. I had a slice just before dinner and its wonderful the crumb is light and fluffy with a nice crust.


yozzause's picture
yozzause

thanks very much wiilslick for your posting i will have a go at the recipe that you have given us. i knew that there would be some maltese bakers out there. one of malta's biggest exports were it people they have gone to all corners of the globe 

will slick's picture
will slick

I have made this formula a few times since that first loaf. It comes out great every time and has a great oven spring. The crumb shot is from a loaf made with a 12hr. biga preferment. The Biga was 100G @ 57% Hydration