Doughs! (għaġina) Pizza, bread and pies

Ftira 3

For all doughs it’s best to use a mixer with a dough hook or a bread machine with a dough function. If you have neither of these, I would simply use a tablespoon and a glass bowl.

Ingredients: pizza/ ftira & bread dough (~870g wet dough)
The recipe is enough for four 10.5 inch thin pizza bases or four 9 inch ftajjar (Gozitan kind, not regular ftira) or 1 large loaf of bread.

• 350 ml warm water (~1/2 pint minus a finger) 
• 500g heavy flour (type 550 or heavier) (~1 pint)
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast. (Double quantities if the yeast isn’t rapid/ instant. Check if activation is needed.)
• 1 teaspoon salt

Specific ingredients for pizza/ ftira dough only:
• 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil.
• Some semolina flour for baking – not to be mixed in.

Ingredients: pie dough (1.35 kg wet dough)
This recipe is enough for two 9 inch pies.

• 250g  butter (at room temperature)
• 100ml olive oil
• 250ml water
• 750g all purpose flour

Method:
Place the ingredients in the bowl in the order I have listed them if you’re using a bread maker or mixer. If mixing manually, stir up all the solid ingredients first, and then gradually introduce liquids:
• Knead for 3 minutes

• Rest for 5 minutes
• Knead for 6 minutes (at this point ditch the spoon and use some elbow grease!)

The bread is now almost ready now: place on a tray/ in a oiled baking tin, cover with flour and allowed to rise for 60-90 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Bake in the lowest position of the oven for about 45 minutes. If you pour some water into your drip tray at the very bottom of the oven, you’ll get a crispier crust. However, the most important thing is removing the bread from the tin and allowing it to completely cool on a wire rack.

Pizza/ ftira dough needs to left in the bowl, covered with cling film and allowed to rise for 40 minutes. (This is usually part of the dough function of a bread-maker). Next, take it out of the bowl, shape it into a ball and then place in an oiled air-tight container (at least 2.5L). I like to prepare it 3 days before I intend to bake it, so close the container rest it in the fridge until then. Maturing gives the dough a slightly sour taste and firmness that I love in ftajjar and pizza. Here’s how I cook my pizza. 

Pie dough needs to be covered and placed in the fridge (it needs cooling, not proofing time). Cool your hands as much as you can and then get going!

A note on changing quantities: It’s important to keep ratios the same if you’re changing quantities. Yeast is the exception; where you don’t really need to add more than 4 teaspoons. You might just need to give it more time to rise. You’ll have to experiment a bit with regards to proofing times (rising before baking) because it varies according to the type of yeast you use and the temperature of your kitchen. The same applies to knowing how well your oven works. Good luck!

Now that you know how to make some dough, why not try to bake a ftira?

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