*Updated to add baking temperature. Thanks, Bibi for pointing it out.
By now you've read enough about the election, and anything I'd have to offer would be redundant so instead, here's my recipe for malt loaf. You can't spend the next four years drinking without any food in your stomach, and I'm old enough to still believe the hype that malt loaf is a nutritionally sound thing to eat.
We get through two of these a week as breakfasts, lunch with cheese, after a run, before bed, etc. My recipe is not the yeast risen variety, and it does not use eggs or dairy. Over time I've eliminated the additional sugar from the recipe as the fruit and malt are sweet enough for our tastes. It is a bit on the plain side compared to the commercial loaves. I don't eat bread, generally but malt loaf is the exception. I don't however toast it as my teeth are too old and delicate to have a sticky piece of toast affixed to them.
Before I go on-this is completely unrelated, it is 11:15 PM and "Lawnmower Man" across the street is outside...you guessed it! Look, I have stress too, I completely understand, but how the hell do you see to mow in pitch darkness? His garage light isn't that strong.
Back to the malt loaf. I use Eden malt syrup which is the only brand widely available where I live. The Korean market sells a super-refined malt syrup that is clear like corn syrup, but it lacks that earthy malty taste-so why bother? Eden isn't cheap as it is organic, so if you have something less expensive available you should go ahead and use it so long as it hasn't been ultra refined. You may wish to add a few tablespoons of brown sugar to the recipe. I do not as I prefer it less sweet.
I use whatever dried fruit is languishing in ends of bags in the fridge. Sometimes that's raisins, other times prunes. Today I made a loaf with chopped dates and sultanas. Just keep the proportion the same and use what you like. You could skip the fruit altogether, but where's the enjoyment in that?
You Will Need:
150 ml strong, hot tea (I used Red Rose because that's the tea Danny drinks and we always have it)
7 tablespoons malt syrup (more or less according to taste)
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses or black treacle (optional, but it adds depth of flavour)
1 cup chopped, dried fruit
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional malt syrup for brushing top
Line a small loaf pan (about 8x8) with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the malt, molasses, and fruit. Let steep until cool, and fruit has plumped-about 10 minutes. Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the dry and wet ingredients gently with a spatula. You'll see an interesting reaction between the baking powder and the malt syrup where the dough takes on an airy texture-almost like cinder toffee. Gently pour it into the pan and bake about 50 minutes. You'll need to test it with a toothpick, but it shouldn't be bone dry-a few crumbs hanging on is just perfect.
While still hot, brush the top of the loaf with additional malt syrup. Cool completely in the pan. Remove the baking paper and re-wrap it in a fresh piece, then tightly wrap in cling film over the baking paper. Store at least two days in a tightly closed tin before cutting and serving. Three days is best. As you get halfway through the loaf, make another so that's you'll never be without. Tightly wrapped and stored in a tin, it should last about 10 days-but it will be eaten long before that.