piers' malt loafrating:
This is a malt loaf that our ace baker friend Piers served us last Sunday. I'm ashamed to say that, between five of us, we scoffed the lot. It was *delicious*. Thanks to him for the use of the recipe.
750g Wessex Mill Malt Loaf Flour (I got mine from Tim & Jane's Tasty Flavours on Donny Market)
5g instant yeast
500g cold water
400g(ish) mixed dried fruit (I used lots of sultanas, lots of raisins, and a few currants, but whatever floats your boat)
Whack everything but the fruit in a bowl and mix well, then work the fruit into the dough. This dough will be _wet_. Don't worry.
Pour a little oil on your work surface and spread it around, then scrape the mixture out of the bowl. Wash the bowl out, dry it and rub round with some oiled kitchen towel. Give the dough a quick knead (maybe a minute). DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR, it's supposed to be that wet and sticky.
Manoeuvre it back into the bowl, a scraper will be a godsend here) and cover (I just shove the bowl into a bin liner). Clean the work surface. After about 15 minutes, oil the work surface again, give the dough a quick knead, return it to the bowl and clean the work surface. Wait 15 minutes and do it again. The dough should be starting to feel more like dough and less like thick batter by now. After another hour, oil up your work surface again and tip the dough onto it. You're not going to knead it this time, just push it out into a thick disk of dough and fold in thirds north/south, then east/west and return to the bowl, smooth side up.
I left this overnight in a cold kitchen to rise (time = flavour) but if things are warmer where you are, you might want to do the next stage after another hour or so.
Flour the work surface with as little flour as possible. Tip the dough out and flour your hands over the dough (so the cloud of flour falls onto the dough, making it slightly less sticky - the less flour you use, the better). Shape your dough. I baked mine in a tin, so I pressed it out into a rough square and folded into thirds vertically and horizontally, then flipped it over to relax on a freshly floured bit of the worktop for 5 minutes (this helps stop the dough tearing during the next bit. You can grease your bread tin while you wait). Flip the dough back over and flatten it out into a square with a side about as long as your bread tin, then start to roll it up tightly, working from the far side towards you, using your thumbs to really push the roll in tightly - you should get a sense of the outside of the dough really tightening up as you do this. Shove it in your tin, seam side down and leave to prove for about an hour. Heat your oven to 200C.
After it's proved, slash the loaf with a single cut along its length and bang it into the oven for about 50 minutes. Turn the heat down to 180 after about half an hour.
It's going to be sticky. It's going to be fruity. It's going to be _amazing_ with runny cheese (we had it with Mont d'Or from Neil's cheese stall on the market, but it'd be fabulous with Stinking Bishop too) or just spread thickly with salted butter.