Friday, November 07, 2008

Malt Extract.

I remember as a child in the north of England a delicious treat called Malt Loaf. It was small and dark and aromatic, and although slighly sweet it was definitely on the bread side of the sweet bread spectrum. No dried fruit. A bread that insisted on being spread with lots of butter. I remember years ago trying to reproduce it but never succeeding. I have no excuse, I have to try again. I have just been exploring one of those wonderful little advertising cookbooks that we all know and love – Tested Recipes with Blue Ribbon Malt Extract, published in 1928 (you can find it HERE)

Malt is the name given both to germinated grain, and to the sugar derived from it. The process of germinating (“sprouting”) grain converts the starch to a mixture of sugars, thus increasing the sweetness, and the process is then halted by drying in a special kiln. The malted grain then used to add flavour and sweetness to beer, whisky, milkshakes and baked goods. Whoever thought of the process was clever, for sure. A second clever process extracts and concentrates the sugar into a thick gloppy brown syrup quite suitable for eating directly from the jar - which is another excuse for buying a quantity.

Not only is malt extract very delicious, it is also highly nutritious as it contains a lot of minerals, amino acids, folic acid, and B vitamins – a third reason for purchasing a jar. I can hardly wait to hie me off to the supermarket today.

There are a number of bread recipes in the little book. Here is where I am going to start:

White Bread.
3 quarts sifted flour
1 quart lukewarm water
2 cakes compressed yeast
½ tablespoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Blue Ribbon Malt Extract (hop flavored or plain)
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons lard or melted butter.
Dissolve yeast, sugar, and Blue Ribbon Malt Extract in lukewarm water. Add lard or butter and half the flour, beat until smooth. Add salt and balance of the flour, or enough to make dough that can be handled, knead well. Place in greased bowl, cover and set aside in a moderately warm place until light, about one and a half hours. Mould into loaves. Place in well-greased bread pans, filling them half full. Cover and let rise until double in bulk. Bake forty-five minutes to one hour at 400o F. If a richer loaf is desired, use milk in place of all or part of the water.

Quotation for the Day …

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex? Julia Child

1 comment:

Duncan | syrupandtang said...

Growing up, a spoon of malt syrup was always a treat. I use it occasionally when making bread (and as an excuse for having a lick of the spoon;) )