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Can you live off malt loaf? Bake Off recipe revealed

Malt loaf was the technical challenge put to bakers for the first episode of The Great British Bake Off 2021. Can you actually live off malt loaf?

Prue Leith revealed that the sweet leavened bread, made with malt extract, would be the first ever technical challenge, before bakers got to work.

As they followed the provided recipe – which Reality Titbit can reveal to fans below – co-host Noel Fielding said you could live off malt loaf.

Some viewers actually believed him, so we untangle the truth behind the claim, as well as provide a step-by-step guide to make Prue’s malt loaf.

Screenshot: The Great British Bake Off, Series 5 Episode 1: Cake Week, All 4

Bake Off 2021: Can you live off malt loaf?

It is very unlikely that anyone could live off malt loaf alone. Although it is a healthy snack, consumers are advised to have a recommended portion.

At 91 calories per serving – recommended as 1/11th of a loaf of Soreen malt loaf – it is considered healthy because it is under the basis that snacks should be around 100 calories. It is also low in fat.

Noel Fielding tends to make jokes, which some viewers take literally, but as a comedian he was most definitely just cracking some banter. After making the claim, he said: “Don’t look that up…”!

The NHS states that we should eat no more than 30g of added sugars a day, with Soreen at 17.4g of sugar per 100g.

Although it is relatively low in sugar – which comes from dried fruits rather than added sugars – it should be added to a balanced diet.

Prue Leith’s malt loaf: Ingredients

Perfect for a dinner party, this recipe by Prue Leith serves 12 and takes about half an hour of hands-on time, and 1 hour 15 mins for baking.

It could take a while to make it at its best though, so leave some time for preparation. The key to a great malt loaf is in the fruit-soaking – either in the microwave if you’re short of time, or overnight at room temperature.

The following ingredients are needed to make Prue’s malt loaf:

  • 1 strong black tea bag
  • 150ml just-boiled water
  • 200g flame raisins
  • 100g soft, pitted prunes, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g malt extract, plus extra for glazing
  • 40g black treacle
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • unsalted butter, to serve (optional)

Malt loaf recipe from GBBO

The steps to make this malt loaf recipe are fairly simple and easy.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to make the cake:

Step 1: Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas 3.

Step 2: Make the malt loaf. Place the tea bag in a jug and add the just-boiled water. Leave to brew for 5 minutes, then discard the bag.

Step 3: Tip the raisins and prunes into a microwave-safe bowl, then pour the tea over. Cover with cling film and pierce a few holes in the top. Microwave on full power for 4 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and remove the cling film. (Alternatively, soak the fruit overnight in a covered bowl.) Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, then leave the fruit to stand for 10 minutes.

Step 4: Pour the malt extract into a small pan with the treacle and sugar and cook, stirring continuously, over a low heat for 2–3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the warm malt mixture and the tea-soaked fruit and any soaking liquid. Fold everything gently together, then add the beaten eggs and mix well. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake it for 1–1¼ hours, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the loaf from the oven, brush the top with malt extract, then leave the malt loaf to cool completely in the tin.

Step 6: If you can bear to wait before tucking in, once the malt loaf is cool, wrap it tightly in baking paper and leave it to really develop its flavour and texture for 1–2 days. Then, turn it out and set it the right way upon a serving plate. Serve in slices (spread with butter, if you wish).



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Celine is a journalist with over five years of experience in the media industry and the chief staff writer on Reality Titbit. After graduating with a degree in Multimedia Journalism she became a radio newsreader and reporter, before moving into her current role as a reality TV writer.