I have taken one giant step forward in my Ongoing Quest to create the perfect round and malty bread, which will sustain me through the winter! And I also got to test-drive the newly-toivelled Pyrex Bake-a-Round baking “pan.” (which is really just a tube in a rack)
Here’s the Bake-a-Round, all greased up (with shortening, per the instructions, NOT Pam, though I don’t know why) and ready for action.
I decided to use this British Malt Loaf Recipe, for authenticity. I figured it’s from the Flour Advisory Bureau. Even their name is FAB; how bad could the bread be? I liked the fact that most of the ingredients were scaled, and quickly switched my scale to pounds and ounces so I wouldn’t have to convert. I also appreciate its use of the word “whilst.”
(I doubled everything, because it didn’t sound like very much.)
Ingredients for Malt Loaf
(bastardizations of the original, for necessity or preference, shown
with strikeout below)
75ml (2 1/2 fl oz) hand-hot water
200g (7oz) brown flour or 100g (3 1/2 oz) wholemeal flour and 100g (3 1/2 oz) strong white flour– I don’t have whole wheat, so I subbed 3oz spelt, 4oz bread, then doubled these to get 6oz spelt, 8oz bread flour.
2.5ml spoon 1/2 tsp) salt
2 x 15ml spoons (2 tbsp) malt extract – YES!!! I have this!
2 x 15ml spoon (2 tbsp)
black treacledunno what treacle is, but I suspect it’s molasses; I used molasses. 25g (1oz) margarinewe’re out of margarine, so I used oil, but ran out halfway, so I only ended up with 1.5oz instead of 2oz of oil. 30g (1oz) dark soft brown sugarwe’re out of brown, so I used white and a bit of extra molasses 100g (3 1/2 oz) sultanassultanas is British for raisins; I omitted these! Honey or golden syrup to glazebecause I baked this in the Bake a Round, I didn’t glaze it.
2 x 5ml spoons (2 tsp) conventional dried yeast + 5ml spoon (1 tsp) sugar
or 15g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
or 1 x 5ml spoon (1 tsp) fast action easy blend yeast – YUP, I used regular instant yeast.
How to make Malt Loaf
- Stir the dried yeast and sugar into the water and leave until frothy, or blend the fresh yeast with water, or mix the easy blend yeast with the flour.
- Place the flour and salt in a bowl, add the sultanas.
- Warm the malt, treacle, margarine and sugar until just melted and the sugar dissolved, and stir into the flour with the yeast liquid. (Note: if using instant yeast add to dry flour and warm the water with the malt mixture).
- Mix to a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead until no longer sticky (about four minutes), adding more flour if necessary.
- Shape and place the malt loaf in a greased 500g (1lb) loaf tin. Cover the dough and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size - about one and a quarter hours.
- Bake at 220°C, Gas Mark 7, for 30 minutes until browned and the malt loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Cool the Malt Loaf on a wire rack. Whilst the loaf is still hot brush the top with honey or syrup.
Actually, I just dumped the wet stuff, yeast, salt, sugar, etc., into the bucket and stirred in the flours until it was kneadable. I might warm the wet things a bit more first next time.
Makes 1 Malt Loaf
Flour Advisory Bureau
Once mixed, the dough just kind of sat there in the bucket.
After a LONG wait, I blobbed it into a ball and rolled it up, then jammed it into the tube. It was easy enough to insert, but didn’t keep its shape – the whole loaf sagged down to the bottom more than I’d expected.
Oops – forgot to cover the ends with tinfoil, so I did that after a bit.
Time for baking (still not very risen, but a bit bubbly, at least!
Popped it into a 425° oven, which turned out to be too hot for a loaf this big and sweet. After a while, it got very dark, but it still wasn’t done. After another long while, it got BLACK on the bottom, and was as done as it was going to be, so I pulled it out.
I thought getting the loaf out of the Bake A Round was going to be tricky, but it turned out the loaf wasn’t coming out because I still had the tube in the rack. Once I lifted it slightly out of the rack, the loaf pretty much slid out, with the help of a silicone splatula. (splatula = more like a bowl scraper than the pancake turning thing most people call a spatula)
Looks like a disaster, I know, but – cooled and sliced, it actually ended up tasting delicious. My mother said, “tastes like it should have raisins in it!” Thanks for that vote of confidence. Everybody thought it was very sweet indeed – probably too sweet to serve at supper alongside potato-corn soup, which I did.
Also, the loaf had a weird “split” down the centre, which you can kind of see here, probably due to the overly high baking temperature. I would bring it down next time, probably to 400 or maybe even 375, to give it time to rise and bake through without excessive browning.
It didn’t slice particularly well, and I did wait until it was only warm, not hot. The crust crumbled tremendously. I think perhaps a bit more kneading next time will give it less cakey crumbliness and more bready strength. And less sugar, because it really doesn’t need all that treacle/molasses, plus sugar, on top of the malt, unless you want a really festive or breakfasty loaf.
So, to sum up, for the future:
- no added sugar
- all white flour to maximize rise / gluten until the recipe is perfected
- use the full amount of oil
- knead more
- longer rise time before forming loaf?
- lower bake temperature
Nevertheless, I feel good about this recipe. I really feel like I’m on my way!
(filing this under barley because that’s what malt really is!)