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[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

For those unacquainted with the classic snack, malt loaf is a sweet loaf that normally contains some sort of dried fruit. Dense and small, this loaf is served as a snack between meals spread with lots of soft butter beside a strong cup of tea. This particular version has a lighter texture than many malt loaves found across the pond, but has all the sweet malty flavor that is a unique, even craveable, part of this quickbread.

The sticky aspect of this recipe comes from topping the still-hot loaf with a sprinkle of malt extract while it cools. If you've never worked with malt extract before, it will get sticky very fast. So if you happen to get a few patches on your counter, get them scrubbed up quick.

Malt extract is an absolutely essential part of this bread, and unless you happen to be a home brewer already, you're going to want to head on over to whatever home brew supply shop is in your area. (Or, of course, order it online.) The extract I used for this recipe is sparkling amber, but feel free to experiment. Different extracts will give your final product different flavors; I would start off with whichever extract is closest to the beer you like to drink, and go from there. The tea flavor is a more subtle component of the dish, so any black tea will work. Just make sure to brew it strong.

About the author: Sydney Oland lives in Somerville, Mass.  Find more information at sydneyoland.com (or read eatingnosetotail.com)

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