I wanted to make my own malt loaf, having remembered how much I loved it in the UK. Friend Siobhan sent me a recipe from Mary Berry, and I set to work acquiring the ingredients. A bit of translation from the UK recipe to the US was involved:
- UK to US translation
- 5 fluid ounces = 0.625 cups
- Sultanas = Golden Raisins
- Black Treacle = Molasses
- Demerara Sugar = Raw Sugar
- Plain Flour = All Purpose Flour
The recipe called for malt extract, which I remember we used to sell in Superdrug when I worked there in the late 1980’s (jeez). It was a nutritional supplement, and came in castor oil mixture variety as well. Where could I get it in the US? I googled, and found that it’s a common ingredient in home brewing, so I called Oak Barrel in Berkeley, just up the road from Oakland, and asked. The friendly and helpful guy suggested that simple light malt extract would probably do the trick. On Saturday, among other errands, we popped in and found a bustling and fascinating store full of barrels, tubes, equipment, mixtures, corks, books, and what seemed like lots of knowledgeable and friendly staff and customers. I got my malt extract, and went on my way.
The recipe was pretty simple, and so I was able to toss it all in the Kitchenaid and mix it all up in there and then pour it in a loaf tin and bake it. I didn’t have two small tins like the recipe asked for, just one big loaf tin. The mixture filled it quite well though so I wasn’t too worried. The recipe then said to “bake until firm”, so I did 10 minute intervals, poking it with a toothpick until it came out clean. I think I overcooked it, actually, but that may be because I had to use a larger tin, the middle wasn’t done before the outside was.
Result: Tasty! Good with cream. Lovely malty flavor. But it’s nothing like Soreen. It’s more like a cake than a bread. The recipe title is misleading in that regard. Do you hear me, Berry? With that knowledge, I looked around for another recipe, and it seems that if you want the real bread-like gooey texture of Soreen, you have to make bread. That is, kneading and proving and rising and waiting and airing cupboards and all that. I’ve never made bread, so I’m not sure I want to embark on that particular odyssey.
We’ll eat the loaf as it is, and then revisit the possibility. In the meantime, yum!