God, I love Soreen so much. While I wouldn't go so far as to claim it as a universal-to-UK experience, having either a couple of crumpets or a couple of slices of squidgey, dark malt loaf spread with salted butter on the return from school, sofa pulled up to the fire and Jonny Briggs on the tv would certainly be something that would ring a lot of bells with my generation.
When we were challenged to make a sweet or savoury loaf for this month's Bake Club, malt loaf leapt unbidden into my mind, and once it was there, there was no shifting it. Soreen can't be bought here and so, if I wanted malt loaf, I was going to have to make malt loaf.
It required a fair bit of detective work but eventually I discovered malt extract was available for sale here in NZ and, what's more, it inspires the same kind of nostalgia that I have over malt loaf. I'm not sure exactly what it is about malt - sweet yet wholesome at the same time, the throat-nudging granularity of barley taking the edge off the sugar hit - but combine that with juicy sultanas and you have an after-school, after work, or just after anything, feast fit for a king.
This recipe makes two loaves and, trust me, if you can leave it a few days after making it, well wrapped up, it will reward your patience a hundredfold as the stickiness and maltiness increase, day on day.
This has to be served with salted butter; actually, more specifically, it has to be served with Lurpak.
from BBC Good Food
150ml hot black tea (1 tea bag will be enough)
175g malt extract, plus extra for glazing
85g muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat your oven to 150c. Grease and line two 1lb loaf tins with baking paper.
Mix the tea, malt, sugar and fruit until fully combined and the fruit has started to swell a little in the liquid. Stir in the eggs.
Mix in the flour, baking powder and bicarb. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Bake for 50 minutes.
When they are just out of the oven, dip a pastry brush (silicone if possible, for cleaning reasons) into your tin of malt extract and use it to glaze the top of the loaves, which will become gloriously sticky.
When they're completely cool, wrap well in foil and leave for 2-5 days until at sticky perfection.
Makes 2 loaves