You may be wondering what on earth possessed me to bake a malt loaf in the middle of summer. When you think of malt loaf, hopefully sliced and slathered in salty butter, you probably, like me, imagine a cold evening, roaring fire, and a steaming mug of tea to go with it. Malt loaf on a summers’ day doesn’t conjure up quite the same image.
Well, the main reason for this slightly odd behaviour is that…drumroll please…we’re moving to Singapore! We’re off in a week (!) so it’s wind-down (or wind-up depending on how you look at it!) time for us, which includes using up all our store cupboard goods that I’ve been hoarding in a waste not want not kind of way. As you can imagine, it’s resulting in some fairly strange meals!
Luckily the malt loaf doesn’t fall into the strange category, other than for its timing in the season. I’ve been dying to make a malt loaf for months having come across Felicity Cloake’s recipe for one. As ever she is the queen of perfecting a traditional recipe, taking the best of tens of recipes in her “How to cook the perfect…” series for the Guardian.
So having bought the bottle of malt extract required for the recipe about 6 months ago, it’s been loitering in my store cupboard ever since. So in line with the great store cupboard clear-out/use-up, it was time to get baking a malt loaf.
So here you have it. A home-baked malt loaf. Admittedly not quite as easy as picking up a packet of Soreen from the supermarket, but still surprisingly easy and so much more delicious!
Recipe from Felicity Cloak’s “How to Cook the Perfect…” series in the Guardian
9 tablespoons malt extract plus a little extra to glaze
2 tablespoons treacle (I would leave this out next time as it was a little too treacly for my liking)
50g soft brown sugar
150ml strong tea
200g dried prunes or other dried fruit (I used sultanas)
125g wholemeal flour
125g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Stir together the malt extract, treacle, sugar and tea, then add the dried fruit. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Grease a 10x20cm loaf tin lightly with a little oil. Preheat the oven to 180°c/160°c fan/350°c/gas mark four.
3. Whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt, then stir into the malt and tea mixture to make a soft batter. Spoon into the tin and bake for about an hour, until a skewer comes out cleanish (the top will bow, don’t worry!).
4. Paint the top with malt extract and leave to cool in the tin. Wrap in baking paper once cool, and put in an airtight container for two to three days before eating. It keeps for just over a week, though does get a little drier as the days go by.