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