This tasty teatime malt loaf is adapted from the old-fashioned British Harvo malt loaf recipes that were popular during the mid 1900s. The flavour of this vegan malt loaf is also similar to the British produced Soreen fruity malt loaf that is a popular family favourite.
Malt loaf is a really easy bake and produces a malted sweet loaf packed with juicy raisins that is especially delicious toasted. So good spread with vegan butter, along with a nice cup of tea for the perfect morning, afternoon or teatime snack.
No eggs, no dairy, no-kneading, no-yeast, and no-rising are required for this delicious old-fashioned malt loaf, which is prepared with ordinary pantry ingredients.
Origin of malt loaf
Malt loaf is a type of sweet cake-like dense bread that is flavoured with sticky malty goodness. Some malt loaves are prepared with malted flour as well as malt extract, using either yeast or baking powder as a leavening agent. Traditionally malt loaves are served sliced and spread with butter.
Malt loaf originates in Scotland and dates back to the late 1800s when a British patent was held by John Montgomerie for making malted bread. By 1890 Montgomerie also held a US patent for the special process he designed for preparing his malted bread.
By the 1950s the Harvo loaf was a popular version of the malt loaf. The Harvo loaf was a sticky, sweet, and dense bake that originated in a small English bakery in Birmingham.
Nowadays, the Harvo malt loaf has had its hay day and is no longer a common loaf that is readily available. However, many people still have fond memories of the Harvo malt loaf and there are still Harvo loaf recipes out there to enjoy so the nostalgia can be easily relived.
Another British favourite malt loaf is the Soreen malt loaf. The Soreen malt loaf was first developed by John Sorenson in 1938, and was sold locally from his small bakery.
The current owner of the Soreen brand is the Samworth brothers who purchased the company in 2014. Nowadays, millions of Soreen malt loafs in various flavours and sizes are produced in Britain each week.
Are Soreen malt loaves vegan?
Since 2021 most of the traditional Soreen malt loaves range have been converted to be suitable for vegans. Additionally a new vegan range of malt loaves was introduced.
However, its best to check the ingredients of each product before purchasing as some may contain dairy. Also, as food producers often change the ingredients in products it is best to double check the ingredient list even if its something that you buy often, especially if the product is 'accidently vegan' and does not have The Vegan Trademark label.
Northern Ireland's delicious malt loaf Veda bread
Over in Northern Ireland there can be found a gem of a malt loaf called Sunblest Veda malt Loaf. My family lived in Northern Ireland for many years and Veda bread was the best shop-bought bread we have ever tasted, so good toasted for a quick lunch and served with a scoop of baked beans.
Happily, Sunblest Veda loaf is suitable for vegans. Although now we are back in Scotland we can't access it unless family bring it back for us. Hence the need for a good vegan easy malt loaf recipe.
How to prepare this tasty teatime vegan malt loaf
A quick mix of the ingredients is all that is required for a delicious tasty teatime or breakfast-time malt loaf.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, into a mixing bowl.
Add the salt, brown sugar and raisins.
Stir everything together.
Pour the milk into a jug and add the barley malt extract.
Whisk with a fork until thoroughly combined.
Pour the malted milk into the flour mixture and mix well.
Pour and scoop the bread batter into a lined loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until risen, golden, and a skewer popped in the centre comes out clean.
[please note: although the above photo shows a loaf pan paper case, please do not use one of these as the case stuck to the loaf and it was a long arduous task removing it! Greaseproof or baking parchment works just fine. Or simply give the loaf pan a good grease with margarine or oil.
Cool in the baking pan for 10-15 minutes before removing.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Malt loaf can be wrapped in a layer of kitchen foil or greaseproof baking paper, and kept in a bread/ food bag or bread bin.
Store somewhere cool and dry, for 3-4 days. Older slices can be refreshed by placing in a warm oven for a few minutes to heat through. Or toast with a toaster appliance, or use a dry non-stick fry pan/skillet to toast each side.
Malt bread can be frozen, as individual slices or as a whole loaf, for 2-3 months. Wrap up with food safe wrap. Slices will defrost quickly.
Malt extract is a byproduct of the malted grain process and is similar in consistency and appearance to golden syrup or light molasses. Malt extract can be used as a natural sweetener.
Malted grain is produced by 'malting' wholegrains. Malting refers to germinating the grain by steeping it in water and then drying the grain with warm air. This malting process ferments the grains sugars and develops the grains enzymes and proteins. The grains go through various processes of drying, soaking, germinating, sprouting, and smoking to finally produce malted grain, malt flour and malt extract.
The most common grain that is malted to produce malt extract or malt syrup is barley. It usually goes by the name of 'barley malt extract' or'malt extract' on the products labels.
Common products that also contain malted grain flour or malt extract are some types of breakfast cereals such as Shreddies breakfast cereal, malt vinegar, malt bread such as Granary bread, Soreen and Northern Irelands Veda bread, British biscuits such as Rich Tea, Digestives and Malted milk biscuits, hot drinks such as Ovaltine and Horlicks, and alcoholic beverages such as beer and whiskey.
Malt extract can provide valuable nutrition as it is a good source of energy, fibre, b vitamins, potassium, folate, antioxidants, and amino acids. The type of sugar within malt extract is maltose which breaks down quickly once consumed providing a quick source of energy.
Although, malt has been around for thousands of years, it gained popularity used as malt extract during the early 1900s as a nutritional supplement for the kids of British working class parents. The malt extract was used along with fish oil to combat nutritional deficiencies.
Also, in the US during the late 1800s/early 1900s, malt extract was promoted by brewing companies to pregnant woman as a health tonic drink.
Malt extract or more commonly known as barley malt extract or syrup can usually be found in health shops/wholefood stores. In the UK try your local health/wholefood shop or one of the chain stores such as Holland's and Barrett's or The Grape Tree. Or source it on Amazon UK or wholefoodsonline.co.uk.
In the US, malt extract may be more difficult to source but perhaps try a local home brew store as they often sell malt extract as it is a common ingredient for brewing alcoholic beverages. Or try the home brewing section at Walmart. Failing that Amazon.com has Potter's Herbal malt extract and the Meridien barley malt extract for sale [at the time of writing].
If your in Australia, getting your hands on a jar of malt extract is likely to be much easier seeing as Australia produce about 920,000 tonnes of malt each year!
Unfortunately not, due to the barley grain containing gluten.
However,according to Coeliac.org.uk if a product states barley malt extract in the ingredient list but it also has a gluten-free label, then the product will contain less or no more than 20ppm gluten and so technically can be safe to consume.
For more information do consult the Coeliac.org.uk post as it contains an email address where you can find out more information.
Additionally, do bear in mind that there is an argument as to whether any product containing barley even if the levels of gluten in the final product is at or under the legal limit, should actually have the gluten-free label. So it is best to do some research and decide for yourself.
On a happier note, many more producers and manufactures are creating malt from gluten free grains such as sorghum and buckwheat, so these may be available on the market at some point in the future.
For the traditional malted loaf flavours its essential to use malt extract but of course if malt extract is difficult to source it can be replaced with one of the following:
[Although do consider that depending on the replacement used, that the flavour of the loaf will also change. But the loaf will still be tasty]
* golden syrup
* black treacle
* light molasses, or dark or black-strap molasses
* brown rice syrup
* date syrup
* maple syrup
More tasty vegan teatime treats that are also perfect for delicious breakfasts
Tasty Teatime Malt loaf
- greaseproof/parchment paper
- Mixing bowls
- small balloon whisk [or fork]
- Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180C/ 356 Fahrenheit/ Gas 4.
- Using vegetable oil or margarine grease the loaf pan and line with baking parchment.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.400 grams plain flour, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 2 teaspoon baking powder
- Stir through the sugar and salt.Mix in the raisins.70 grams light brown sugar, 1 pinch salt, 140 grams raisins
- In a measuring jug or small bowl pour the milk and add the barley malt extract. Whisk with a fork or balloon whisk to combine thoroughly, scrapping the bottom of the bowl to ensure all the extract is mixed through.2 tablespoon barley malt extract, 375 mililitres soya milk
- Pour the malted milk into the flour mixture.
- Stir until all combined.
- Scoop the loaf batter into the lined loaf pan.
- Bake on the middle oven shelf for 50-60 minutes. [check how the loaf is going after 50 minutes, fan ovens may be quicker so check around the 48-50 minute mark]
- The loaf is ready when it has risen, is firm to touch, golden, and a skewer popped in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the loaf pan for about 10-15 minutes before carefully removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the baking parchment once removed from the loaf pan.*[please note: try not to use a loaf pan paper case, those ones you just pop into the loaf pan instead of lining with baking parchment, as the paper cases tend to stick to this loaf during baking]*
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients can vary,
- Store malt loaf wrapped in a layer of grease proof paper and/or kitchen foil and place into a food/bread bag or bread bin/container.
- Malt loaf will keep for 3-4 days. Older slices can be refreshed in a warm oven for a few minutes or enjoy toasted.
- Freeze for 2-3 months, well wrapped.
- Malt loaf slices will defrost very quickly.
- Sultanas or cranberries can be used instead of raisins.
Prepared this tasty teatime malt loaf? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe.
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Thanks so much, Jacq x