This is the Gluten Free Malt Loaf of dreams… Perfectly squidgy, moist and fruity it also offers the unmistakable flavour of ‘malt’, but without the risk… (optional dairy free)
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Introducing my Gluten Free Malt Loaf
I give you the Gluten Free Malt Loaf of dreams… For FREE… Shared with my love 🖤♥️… Because this most iconic of British bakes should be something that we can all enjoy.
My husband told me ‘It’s better than Soreen’. I’ll take that! But you can judge for yourselves… Although you know what? I think he may be right. Because THIS malt loaf has the texture and all the flavour I remember from the best malt loaves of my childhood… Squidgy, moist, rich with juicy fruit and deliciously ‘malty’.
Spurred on by the 2021 Great British Bake Off, during which contestants had to make a standard Malt Loaf as a technical challenge, it HAD to be done. Malt loaf needed to be made not just gluten free, but gluten free to the degree that no one would ever know… The great maltless Gluten Free ‘Malt’ Loaf deception was on!
What is a Malt Loaf?
For anyone (and especially readers not in the UK) wondering what the heck a Malt Loaf is, read on…
Malt Loaf is a dense, dark, sticky, squidgy loaf cake, flavoured with malt extract (for those who can eat gluten) and dappled with plump juicy dark fruit. It usually has a glazed top and is best eaten slathered with loads of creamy butter.
In the UK, it’s a bit of an institution, with mini malt loaves from the company Soreen being the original, most popular and easily found brand.
A little Malt Loaf history…
Malt Loaf has been gracing the British tea table for over 80 years. Originally created by a Dane (John Sorensen), in 1938 (who worked out of a Beswick bakery), customers would queue long and hard for this delicious ‘cake’. But with his success, came a buy-out by Imperial Bakeries in Manchester. Fortunately, they continued to produce this most successful of bakes, renaming it ‘Soreen’ in recognition of its creator.
The secret of Soreen Malt Loaf lies with its squidginess. And key to the squidginess is the malt… which offers stickiness, colour and the characteristic rich, deep flavour.
Why Soreen Malt Loaf is not safe for Coeliacs…
So… Clearly central to everything the Soreen Malt loaf offers, is the malt! And that creates a serious problem. Because malt (being made from barley) is NOT SAFE for Coeliacs and therefore neither is this most delicious of treats.
Given its immense popularity, it is somewhat surprising that gluten-avoiders and Coeliacs (Celiacs) are still unable to source a safe gluten free take on the famous Malt Loaf from any of the large ‘free from’ companies. And that means only one thing… If you want a Gluten Free Malt Loaf, you need to make it at home. Of course, that may be easier said than done, given that the key to the flavour and texture of malt loaf lies in the malt… But hey! Never let it be said that I don’t enjoy a challenge…
At Gluten Free Alchemist, the kitchen has been busy and I genuinely believe that the Gluten Free Malt Loaf created and shared here is as close as you’ll get to the real deal… And it’s 100% safe for Coeliacs!
How to make a Gluten Free Malt Loaf that tastes like malt
The crucial question of course is ‘How do you make a Gluten Free Malt Loaf that tastes like a malt loaf?’ The answer to which is a careful combination of ingredients… In particular the choice of fruit, liquid, sugars and flours that mimic the flavour of malt without the risk.
So, what’s in the recipe? The key ingredients are these:
The original Malt Loaf contains just raisins. In the interests of better flavour and more juicy moistness, I’ve added to that some sultanas. And to support the depth of flavour and maltiness, there are also some soft dried prunes included. (I used Whitworths Orchard Partially Rehydrated Dried Prunes, which are super moist to start with).
As with many Malt Loaf recipes, I’ve chosen to use hot, well-stewed black tea to soak and hydrate the fruit. Specifically… Earl Grey Tea. Its earthy, slightly aromatic flavour supports the end result.
In addition to the commonly used dark Muscovado sugar and black treacle (molasses), which bring a slight bitterness to the party, I’ve additionally added date syrup which offers some natural malt overtones.
The Gluten Free Flour Blend for Malt Loaf
The flour blend I used for making Gluten Free Malt Loaf is wholegrain and darker than blends you usually buy for baking cakes. It also contains no rice flour. These two factors mean that the blend offers better structure and avoids the gritty texture that comes from standard rice-based blends.
The base part of the mix uses Gluten Free Alchemist Rice-Free Blend B, which I use for many recipes… For those who don’t already have it mixed up at home, I would recommend giving it a try. There is an alternative commercial brand produced by the Free From Fairy which has similar qualities.
But for those who want to go down the standard route, using a supermarket brown gluten free flour blend should work fine. I can’t guarantee the texture or flavour will be exactly the same and testing with Doves brown bread flour did result in a dryer crumb. If the blend contains rice flour, I would advise adding a little additional liquid (about 15 ml) to compensate. And be sure to check whether the blend already contains xanthan gum too. If it does, make the adjustments as stated in the recipe.
To the base blend, you will also need to add additional Buckwheat flour. This is important. Whatever other blend you use, don’t miss this ingredient. It brings a dark earthiness that helps the overall experience of ‘malt’.
But there’s one other important ‘secret’ ingredient that I have used which really helps the flavour hit the mark…. And that’s something called Maca Powder.
The secret Ingredient to the BEST Gluten Free Malt Loaf… Maca Powder
So, what the heck is Maca Powder?
Maca powder comes from the root of a Peruvian vegetable known as Maca. The root is dried and ground into a fine pure powder with nothing added. People who ‘take’ it for health reasons, blend it into smoothies and shakes, or add it to coffee, hot chocolate or cooking.
But here’s the deal… It’s not only incredibly nutritious, but it tastes pretty close to malt! And that means it’s the PERFECT addition for making a maltless Gluten Free Malt Loaf.
You can usually find Maca powder in the supermarket alongside the cacao, matcha, turmeric etc. And just in case you haven’t come across it before, it’s definitely ‘MACA’ you want and NOT ‘matcha’.
If you can’t find it in the supermarket, grab some from Amazon.
Can this Gluten Free Malt Loaf recipe also be made dairy free or Vegan?
Although I haven’t tried making a Vegan version, given the structure of the loaf, it is probable that the egg could also be substituted for a flax or chia egg. If you try it, do let me know how it goes.
What tins do I need to make Gluten Free Malt Loaf?
Now this is where you have choices. Do you want a single large Gluten Free Malt Loaf or do you want to get all nostalgic with ‘Soreen’ style mini slices? For me, it was a ‘no brainer’… Small reminiscent slices all the way… And for that, I made two 1 pound loaves in these tins which were long and skinny (about 9cm x 18 cm). They were perfect!
Ultimately, you can make it in the tin that suits you best… Two alternative one-pound tins are good… Or use a single two-pound tin (but remember to increase the cooking time and if worried about it burning, cover with foil part-way through the bake).
Ready to make my Gluten Free Malt Loaf?
And that’s all there is to it… Ready to have a go?
If you do make my Gluten Free Malt Loaf, please let me know. I’d love to hear how you found it. Leave a comment or tag me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter with your yummy malty pics. It would also be really lovely if you could give the recipe a happy 5 star rating too ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, so that other people can find it more easily on the internet. If I’ve managed to crack a good Gluten Free Malt Loaf, I’d love for people to find it. 😄
Either way, thanks for reading and happy baking
Other Gluten Free loaf cakes you’ll love…
Gluten Free Malt Loaf
- sharp vegetable knife
- two x 1 pound non-stick loaf tins or one x 2 pound loaf tin
- cake skewer
- 270 ml/g strong hot black tea I used 2 Earl Grey tea bags which had been left to ‘stew’
- 100 g sultanas
- 70 g flame raisins
- 50 g soft dried pitted prunes chopped
- 150 g brown gluten free flour blend I use Gluten Free Alchemist Rice Free Blend B, which gives the best results –see NOTES
- 100 g buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 4 tsp light Maca powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder gluten free
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 60 g dark Muscovado Sugar
- 4 tbsp black treacle (Molasses) = 60 ml or 90 g
- 4 tbsp date syrup = 60 ml or 90 g
- 1 large egg At room temperature and lightly beaten – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 60 g melted butter or good dairy free alternative
- 1 tbsp Maple syrup or treacle
- 1½ tsp hot water from boiled kettle
- In a bowl, soak the sultanas, raisins and chopped prunes in the hot black tea for about 30 minutes.
- Grease the loaf tin(s) well with butter/margarine.
- Combine the flours, xanthan gum, Maca powder, baking powder and salt together and mix thoroughly to blend. Set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- Drain the fruit from the tea, being careful to KEEP the tea liquid (this is needed for the cake).
- Weigh or measure the reserved tea into a measuring jug or bowl and top up to 240 ml/g. Transfer the measured tea into a large bowl.
- Add the sugar and syrups to the tea and whisk to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and lightly whisk through to JUST combine.
- Next, add the lightly beaten egg and melted butter to the bowl and whisk through again until you have a just-combined, smooth batter.
- Lastly, add the hydrated fruit and fold through with a mixing spoon/spatula until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout.
- Transfer the batter to the greased baking tin(s) and smooth the tops.
- Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (1 pound loaves) or about 45 to 50 minutes for a single 2 pound loaf until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the loaf feels springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the tin(s) for about 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack.
- While the loaf is still warm, mix the glazing syrup and hot water together and brush onto the surface of the loaf.
- Stays fresh for 2 to 3 days minimum, wrapped in baking paper and clingfilm.
- sorghum flour = 30g
- white teff flour = 15g
- buckwheat flour = 15g
- tapioca flour (starch) = 48g
- potato starch = 18g
- cornflour (corn starch) = 24g
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist