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The recipe for yesterday’s Malt Loaf came from the Bakery Bits blog and originates with Munston’s, the people who supply Bakery Bits with a variety of malted products. Copyright probably rests at Bakery Bits, as I believe local tweaking was involved.

Malt Loaf image (c) Bakery Bits

The image is theirs too as I have not yet been able to capture my own.

As I mentioned somewhere yesterday, this recipe felt more like mad scientist chemistry than home-cooking due to the number of specialist ingredients. I am reproducing the recipe in full, as written in the original – I am linking back to the original.

I followed the recipe ingredients almost exactly, using fresh yeast and less-posh salt. The flour was my current norm – the unbleached organic stoneground from Bacheldre Watermill. I mixed the dough in the Kenwood Chef, using the dough hook.

The original recipe is used to promote the special baking boxes from Panibois – I do not have these, nor did I have a pair of tins of required size. My loaves were made in over-large bread tins.

Marvellous Malt Loaf

Ingredients:

Method:

In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and mix together. Next, add the remaining water, butter and treacle and stir together to form a dough, using a dough whisk. When the mix becomes too difficult to stir it is ready for a knead. Tip out the bowl onto a lightly oiled surface and scrape out the bowl using a dough scraper to make sure that there is nothing wasted.

Now, knead the mixture to form a dough for a minute or two, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Lightly oil the bowl and put the dough back into it and leave, covered with a damp teatowel (this helps prevent the dough from developing a dry skin) for an hour or two, for its bulk ferment, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Take the dough from the bowl and gently knock it back (knead) on your lightly oiled surface for a few seconds. Divide the dough in two and shape into loaves. Place each into a lined “Duc” mould and cover with a teatowel in a warm place (a warm kitchen will do) for about an hour, until it has doubled in volume again.

Bake in the wooden Duc mould at 220°C (about 200°C for fan ovens) for 25 minutes.

My dough did not form well in the mixer; it adhered to the sides of the bowl and the hook could not do its work properly. I kept scraping the mix down bit it continued to be obstinate, so I turned the dough out to work by hand. It was very sticky, but stiff and would not work using the Bertinet way of kneading (which I have now almost fully adopted) so I gave it an old-fashioned kneading, though not for long.

The rise was very slow. I elected not to fret about this and to simply let it do its own thing. I checked after about 2½ hours and found that it had more or less doubled. I proved it for a further hour after shaping and placing in loaf tins.

My fan oven can be very fast. I checked the loaves after 18 minutes and found that the exposed raisins were turning too crisp for my liking. I gave the loaves a squeeze and felt a good crust, so they came out after 20 minutes baking. They are  a little on the doughy side at the centre so probably would benefit from covering, and being given the full time.

The Taste Test

We sliced about 1cm thick and buttered with Lurpak.

Our verdict: not bad at all. Not so sweet as Soreen, nor so dense or chewy. The crustiness was disconcerting.

There was a distinct malt flavour, of the Horlicks/Maltesers kind and a slightly bitter edge. We had three slices each, and Mr L tried some with cheese spread triangles on. He liked that, a lot.

We agreed that I should make this recipe again.

The Day After Test

I had a slice with my morning coffee, in lieu of a proper breakfast. It is still good. If anything, I find it better than when fresh from the oven. The crust has softened and no longer seems “wrong.” There is some sense of wholesomeness about the Malt Loaf and it does taste a little as though wholemeal flour was involved, though it was not.

My memory buds tell me that my Malt Loaf is more reminiscent of our chosen brand when I was young – Harvo. Soreen never cut the mustard for me – it seems so unsatisfying and lacking in substance; just a sugary gloop. Mine, like the old Harvo, offered a satisfaction point beyond which I was not tempted to stray.

Between memory and Google, I conclude that Harvo was almost certainly made with wholemeal flour, and in fact possibly Hovis flour.

There are many “Malt Loaf” recipes out there, most of which do not involve malt of any kind. If you have Malt Extract (try Boots or a brewing shop) and don’t want to get involved in the Chemistry Lab as I did, try this recipe from the Flour Advisory Bureau, it looks little different from the one that I used, apart from the malt products and their substitution. It uses brown flour or a 50% wholemeal/bread flour mix.

The Toast Test

The Toast Test looks like being a long time in coming – today’s slice was still beautifully moist and edible.

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