About Gbejniet | Malta
Gbejniet are a typical Gozitan food, found in the Maltese Islands. They are used to complement many meals, as well as being able to suffice as a whole meal themselves. It is an ancient Gozitan craft and the recipes have been handed down from generation to generation. Gozitan cheeselets at the time, were larger than those made in Malta and were made from sheep’s milk instead of goat’s milk. These were put in cheese forms, which were made of dried stalks of rushes in the past.
They were also made in Gozo traditionally and there were three sizes available on the market:
- Smallest sold in Malta
- Middle sized for use among the Gozitans
- Largest were imitation products
It is important to note that the largest size of gbejniet “tan-naghag” were an imitation of the Sicilian cheese made by heating milk.
Different Variations of Gbejniet
- Dried Cheeselets (gbejniet moxxi)
- Salted Cheeselets(gbejniet mahsula)
- Pepper Cheeselets (gbejniet tal-bzar)
These are cheeseletes which are allowed to dry for a longer period of time, making them more crumbly and more pungent.
Salt is rubbed on the fresh gbejna and is then served to the clients as-is.
A mixture of pepper, salt and vinegar isa dded to this particular type of gbejna and the product can be preserved for a long time. it has a pungent taste.
How Gbejniet Are Made
Milk is first heated with a milk powder in a non reactive pot. This is done until the milk powder dissolves. Two tablespoons of water are then added to rennet(a chemical) and the solution is then stirred until that is also dissolved in a separate container. The milk is left to simmer and reach a temperature of 98 Degrees Celsius. It is then removed and the rennet mixture is added to the milk and stirred for a while. The mixture is usually left to set at room temperature for about 3 hours.
Draining containers are prepared during this time and once the curd has formed, it is placed into these little specific baskets. These are left to drain over night.
The following morning, the cheeses are flipped back around and put into different baskets and once again, are left to drain overnight. This is done to ensure that the cheese has drained properly to be able to be handled.
After the curd has hardened to an acceptable level and formed the unfinished cheese, it is taken out of the baskets and sprinkled with some salt all over and around each cheeselet (gbejna). They are then left to drip-dry for a few hours. In some cases, certain companies add pepper. About 2 table spoons of vinegar and olive oil are added and they are left to dry for another 2 to 3 hours. Some people cover them in vinegar for long-lasting storage.
Gbejniet In Food
- As a Starter :
- In Bread :
Can be used as a vital ingredient to add a much desired flavor in a ftira (traditional Maltese bread).
- In a Salad :
It helps bring a salad together by combining either a neutral or a subtle taste. Also stronger tasting cheeselets can be used, these are normally aged in a special vinegar solution.
Where to buy Gbejniet in Malta
You can buy gbejniet in Malta at Park Towers Supermarkets in St Julian’s and St Venera, as well as many other fresh products, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, and anything else you may need. Park Towers Supermarkets stocks a wide variety of different brands and fresh foods, so there’s always something for everyone.
Park Towers Supermarkets | St Venera | San Giljan Malta
Park Towers – St Venera
(+356) 21480807 / (+356) 27480807
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Can accompany a starter dish and can be eaten with crackers.