Cascara Malt Loaf

For a slight change from the normal stuff I’ve been writing of late, I’m returning to a bit of cookery on here as I haven’t done any for a while. I want to tell you about a malt loaf I made yesterday. It does have slight beery connections so I hope that counts…

Just to be upfront from the outset, this is a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s new book and TV series BREAD, but I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly and so I hope this is ok to put out there. If not, I’m sorry Mr Hollywood, but at least I posted a link for you.  😉

IMG_5988Before we start let me tell you about cascara. I was introduced to cascara by Steven Leighton of Hasbean.

“Cascara is the dried fruit from the coffee ‘cherry’, the seed of which is the coffee ‘bean’ as we know it. Normally cascara is a waste product or at best is used to fertilise the ground by being broken down. But it can also be used to brew a delicious and refreshing caffeinated drink.”

He didn’t say that of course, it’s from his website but Steve gave me a sample to try and I have to say I am hooked. It’s a really tasty drink, has a nice caffeine hit and is really easy to brew. With that and drinking proper coffee now, I have almost given up sugar and milk completely with the obvious health benefits. You really have to try it.

There are a few different types of cascara, for this recipe I have used Bolivia Finca Illimane Anastacio Cadena, which is a bit of a mouthful in more ways than one. I chose it as it has a subtle marmalade flavour and sweetness that I thought would work well and hey, it does..



  • 25g of unsalted butter or a good quality alternative, I used Bertolli
  • 1 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp of malt extract (see, a beery link)
  • 2 tbsp of black treacle
  • 350g of strong white bread flour
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 8g Salt
  • 14g fast action bread yeast
  • 225g sultanas
  • 500ml of brewed, cooled cascara (NOTE: you only need 250ml in the loaf)
  • 1tbsp of warmed runny honey (NOTE: Buy something a little special if possible it does make a difference, I used orange blossom)

IMG_5980Step one: Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour over 250ml of the cascara, leave to soak for about 45 mins or until the sultanas look soft and slightly plump. Drain them and then top the remaining cascara up to the 250ml mark to use later.

Step two: Put the butter, sugar, malt extract and the black treacle in a pan and warm slightly, stirring all the time until the butter has melted and sugar dissolved. Warning: this smells absolutely delicious, do not be tempted to dip in the spoon and have a taste, it’s hot..

IMG_5981Step three: Mix the flours in a large bowl, add salt to one side and the yeast to the other. Scatter the drained sultanas, then pour over the cooled malt/syrup mixture, add the remaining 250ml of cascara and stir well until combined and you have a sticky gloopy consistency.

Step four: Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently. Depending on the size of your loaf tins, roll the dough mixture into either one or two loaf tin sized pieces and place into the pre buttered tins. Cover with a plastic bag or bowl, large enough to allow enough space without letting the dough when risen, to touch the top. Leave for two hours. (Hint: this is a slow process, don’t worry if you see little movement at first, it should just rise to above the edge of the tin. Like the barman in De Garre as he serves you your foaming house triple says, “wait, it will come“.

Step five: Bake on the middle section of the oven at 190°C for 25-35 minutes for two small tins or nearer 45 minutes for a large loaf, check with a skewer that it comes out clean to make sure the inside is cooked through.


Step six: As you take the loaf or loaves out of the oven, brush with the warmed honey and leave for five minutes, before turning out on a wire rack to cool.


Step seven: The best bit, dive in when still slightly warm so the butter or chosen spread melts, of course you can only do this for a short time, but it’s still delicious cold too.

As I said at the beginning, the only real change I’ve made to the original recipe, is to add cascara and use it to replace the water and to soak the fruit in as that part wasn’t a requirement. To me though, it just adds that little bit extra to the malt loaf in terms of flavour and juices up the fruits.

originalAs with most foodie posts on a blog like mine, it’s traditional to either use beer in the recipe or to recommend a pairing.

So I’m going to go with Old Tom from Robinsons, it’s readily available pretty much everywhere for starters, but I think the warming treacle and fruity port like notes will really compliment to flavours of the loaf.

Hope you enjoy


Many Old Posts (for) #AnyOldAle

As a sort of winter warm up to this Saturdays shenanigans, I thought I’d do a little round of some of the posts other folks have written/recorded that have inspired me to buy, save and serve the beers up at my tasting session. Some date back a while but obviously struck a chord at the time. Hope they inspire you too…read on.

Ghostdrinker – Cockeyed Cooper

Uinta1So apparently (from the powers that be) I’ve heard that in about six weeks we should be getting a new shipment of Exciting beers. Within that shipment is a range of four beers you may have heard of:

Cockeyed Cooper: A bruiser of a Bourbon Barrel aged Barley Wine at 11.1%
Detour Double IPA: A fierce 9.5% juicy gem of an IPA
Labyrinth: A destroyingly drinkable 13.2% Black Ale
& Tilted Smile: a 9% rock and roll Imperial Pilsner

These are a range of beers in the Crooked Line Series I’m sure you’ve seen before from the Uinta brewery. These 75cl corked bottles of art meets beer are absolutely fantastic just to look at, let alone drink. Read more..

Oh Beery Me – Beer 359 – Orkney Brewery Dark Island Reserve (10%)

tumblr_inline_mfkv7a2rLS1qznrq7I last sampled The Orkney Brewery on Burns Night and their delicious Red McGregor was the perfect accompaniment to haggis, neeps and tatties. However tonight’s beer promises to be something very special indeed.

The idea behind the Dark Island Reserve was to create a super-premium, unique and special beer that set new standards in Britain in quality of product and packaging. Using Orkney’s Dark Island Ale, it has been matured in aged Orkney malt whisky casks for three months. Read more…

Broadford Brewer – Quantum Brewing Company, SK1 Barley Wine

IMAG0516Yup, a beer review.  This beer is the product of a collaboration between Jay Krause, owner of and Head Brewer at Quantum Brewing Company and Colin Strongewho was at Marble at the time, but now Head Brewer at Black Isle.

This 7.4% abv Quantum branded beer, brewed in August 2011, is described as a Strong Amber Barley Wine “generously hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Super Alpha, Motueka and dry hopped with Super Alpha“. Read more..

Beer Reviews – Hardknott Granite

imagesHardknott are one of the breweries I have a great fondness for, this stems back to visiting Dave and Ann when they ran the Woolpack inn. It was easy to see how passionate and knowledgable they both are.

Since selling th pub and moving the brewery they have gone from strength to strength, re branding and releasing some excellent new beers such as Dark Energy, Cool Fusion, Queboid  and Infra red. Now with the new versions of Aether Blaec and Granite about to be released I thought it was about time I published my thoughts on the previous versions, starting with Granite. Read more…

Beers I’ve Known – Old Numbskull (with cheese pairing too)

IMG_9259Its been a few months, but that doesn’t mean the cheese and beer pairing has fallen by the wayside. In fact its stepped up somewhat as I did 50 pairings in September and October in preparation for the e-book I am writing. I still had some spare time (and more importantly spare cheese!) to do a pairing for the blog though.

It pours dark amber with fluffy off-white head. Amazing sticky orange marmalade and underlying ginger-snap biscuits. Read more…

Zac Avery – Stone Old Guardian

Hope that has whetted your appetite…see you Saturday




Just a quick reminder about this weekends tasting session on all things Barley Wine etc.

I’ll be hosting a session from about 7:30 onwards this coming Saturday and hope you can join me wherever you are, by opening a bottle or several and tweeting what you find using the hash tag #AnyOldAle.

I’ve got beers old and new to discover and share with a few friends and can’t wait to get stuck in to all that juicy sticky goodness.


The original post is below if you’ve not read it already:

In a change to the advertised program..

Several weeks ago I announced/suggested another night of mass twitter based beer shenanigans to discover the tasty and most likely hangover inducing delights of Barley Wines. At the time a mystery hash-tag of #BarleyCon13 was muted and then….nothing..

Since then, folks quite rightfully have badgered me to get this moving (or at least giving some gentle “get your arse in gear” type encouragement) but things have just been a bit mental of late.

IMG_5562The original hash-tag was hinting at an event I was trying to plan at Coniston Brewery which was going to possibly include a night over, the award-winning No9 Barley Wine on the bar and other beery delights too, hence BarleyCon. Sadly a bout of flu, seasonal B&B changes, an impromptu stag do then wedding and a Buxton Brewery launch at Euston Tap (here) got in the way. (It’s a hard life)

Maybe one to revisit next year though and book it all well in advance, anyone up for that?

Anyway, for now it’s time to throw the thing out there again before Spring takes hold, this time no bells and whistles just a date to start with and a few suggestions to get you going.

Saturday March 23rd is the date, time, whenever you feel like it. I’ll probably arrange a tasting session, maybe even an afternoon booze up that gradually decends into something lighter as things are definitely gonna get heavy..

IMG_5563The hash-tag has changed too as the old one no longer makes any sense, I’ve gone for #AnyOldAle,  the inspiration coming from a post by Martyn Cornell on his blog Zythophile, where he explores the topic “So what IS the difference between barley wine and old ale?“. I also thought this would open the beer range up a little too, allowing folks to include variations on the theme, check out Martyn’s post for some ideas and explore away.

IMG_5564IMG_6428In terms of beers suggestions I’ve given a few hints in the attached photographs for starters. These are what I’ve amassed over the last year or so with a view to doing this sort of thing, some may not be available, although some of you will no doubt have the odd bottle tucked away.

Some I’ve tasted and would recommend, others will be surprises to me too, but that’s the joy of exploration.

There are a few others I’d look out for, not pictured here but should be slightly easier to bag in supermarkets and beer shops etc, these are Robinsons – Old Tom, Anchor – Old Foghorn, Arbor – Down Deeperer, Adnams – Tally-Ho or maybe Theakstons – Old Peculier as an old ale, not forgetting the odd Scotch Ale too if you’ve a mind to.

As always, I’m more than happy to help folks find some ideas or locate certain beers and welcome suggestions in comments which I’ll upload and will become a working list as time goes on as with #SupSaison etc.

Look out for further announcements on CAMRGB and via their App available free from the Apple AppStoreCAMRGB-WEB-HEADER

Until then, happy drinking…

Any Old Ale“!!