The Great Northern Malt Loaf

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Today, we're making Malt Loaf. You'll find a note at the bottom about another BreadClub20 recipe for Malt Loaf. This one is slightly different and is the creation of Sean Wilson, actor, owner of the Saddleworth Cheese Company , inventor of the blue-veined Smelly Ha'porth cheese and author of The Great Northern Cookbook.

Smelly ha''porth Cheese

Sean spent much of his acting career as Martin Platt in the long-running soap opera 'Coronation Street', which was first aired on 9th December 1960 and is still running three times a week. 

For those of you who might not be familiar with 'Corrie' as it's affectionately known, it is a soap opera set in the fictitious area of Wetherfield in Salford, Greater Manchester. My mother was born in Lower Broughton, Salford in Buckley Street, very close to Archie Street, very much the model for the programme, Coronation Street, which was originally to be aired as Florizel Street. 

His recipe for a 'sticky, apricoty, malty Great Northern loaf' should be the requisite of any Northern bread bin. 

If you like sticky, malty loaves - rich in fruit and slathered in best butter, then this is for you. 

Let's see how it goes...

INGREDIENTS (for 2 small 1lb loaf tins or 1 large 2lbs loaf tin)

If you want to maximise your oven space, why not double up the volumes? (After all, this Malt Loaf can be wrapped in aluminium foil and greaseproof paper, popped in a sealed plastic bag and and happily placed into the freezer)

150 mls of hot black tea (preferably Yorkshire tea....but obviously, not essential)

175 gms malt extract (plus a little more for glazing) *see note below re. Malt Extract

85 gms dark muscovado sugar

100 gms soft dried apricots (chopped - it's up to you how large you leave the pieces...I tend to chop them to the same size as the larger sultanas in the dried fruit)

200 gms mixed dried fruit

2 large free-range eggs (beaten)

250 gms plain flour (also known as All-Purpose or Type 00 flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda)

1 teaspoon mixed spice (NOT all-spice)

Sunflower oil for greasing the loaf tin (s). 


1. Preheat the oven to 150⁰C

2. Grease one / two loaf tin(s). Place strips of parchment paper along the length and sides, extending it out a little to help lift it when it's cooked and needs cooling. 

3. Put the malt extract into a large bowl and pour the hot tea over it. Stir to mix. 

4. Add the sugar, apricots, and dried mixed fruit. Stir well. 

5. Making sure the mixture is not too hot...add the eggs.

6. Tip in the flour and quickly add the bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and mixed spice.

7. Immediately dtir together until thoroughly combined and pour into the tin(s)

8. Bake for 50 minutes until firm and well-risen

Ready for glazing

9. Remove from the oven. While the loaves are still warm, glaze with a little malt and leave to cool before removing from the tins.

After glazing...and cooling down

10. When cool, remove and leave on a rack until thoroughly cold. 

This loaf develops 'stickiness' over the course of a few days. Wrap the loaf well and put it in a cake tin for between 2 and 4 days and then denjoy sliced and buttered. 

If you want to freeze it, freeze when cold and allow to thaw thoroughly before eating. 

Happy baking....


* If you're struggling to find Malt Extract as I know may be the case if you're baking in the US, you can substitute molasses, but only use ⅔ of the amount....i.e. 116 gms

You'll find an alternative recipe for Malt Loaf in the 'Bakery Cakes and Other Items' section of Click this link: HERE

The 'Very Best Malt Loaf you'll ever make' is my homage to the Soreen and Harvo loaves of my youth. It's not that it's any better than the recipe's just different and so very close to the commercial product that I loved as a child....(and, if truth be know, still love just as much today). If you want to try that recipe, click HERE

Very Happy Baking.....


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