Maltloaf – to toast or not to toast?

On the Guardian Word of Mouth blog today Oliver Thring wrote an excellent piece about the joys of Soreen. My own proclivities regarding that most regal of loaves are well-documented, and Ollie kindly phoned me for a quote. Amongst other things I suggested that maltloaf should absolutely not be toasted, its sugar content meaning it burns too easily.

This caused an inevitable wave of controversy – “absolutely DO toast” was one response. Well, I don’t agree. Soreen, I would argue, is one of the few contexts in which cold, cold butter is preferable to soft. As Marina O’Loughlin so sagely says, Soreen ought to be buttered so abundantly that “you can see toothmarks in the butter”. This is impossible with a toasted slice.

Second of all, toasting it means the breakdown of sugar causes an already sticky loaf to turn into toffee, and you are left tonguing your teeth in an effort to prize caramelised bits of maltloaf from the back of your molars like some gluttonous Sisyphus. It won’t budge!

To sum up – sticky chew cold butter good. Crunchy chew melty butter bad.

What do you think?


Filed under Ramblings

24 responses to “Maltloaf – to toast or not to toast?

  1. Am with you on the stickiness thing – it becomes an ordeal once it’s toasted.

    Definitely cheating to burn your toasted Soreen for the photo, though!

    • Well I refute that entirely Master Thring. I put it in the toaster for the same time I’d put normal toast in and it came out looking like a cremated packet of cigarettes.

  2. Absolutely never toast.

    I agree with Marina. Lashings of slightly salted butter. I like to go for a ratio of 1:1. i.e the same thickness of butter as the thickness of malt loaf. Ah good times #cardiacarrestalert

    • 1:1 – crikey! I can but doff my cap to your superior butter eating capacity. I think you should go head to head with my sister Mary. I’d been away for a week and spotted that an entire pack of butter had been eaten. On questioning her she responded “well I did have *three* baked potatoes.” That’s around 80g per spud. Heroic.

  3. No never ever toast. I do get slightly annoyed though when you go to cut through a new bar of Soreen and the knife is blunt. I hate it when it squashes down into a stumpy little finger.

    Not so much space to spread the butter on then.

  4. If you can ever get your hands of some proper Northern Irish Veda bread, you will be converted to how good malt loaf can be when toasted.

    A savoury, fruit free version of Soreen, it makes the best toast in the world. Sadly it’s not available in England, but it’s worth a trip to Belfast just for a Veda loaf…

  5. Rob Hall

    Definitely toast! (but very lightly)

  6. Toasted?? TOASTED? wrong Wrong WRONG!

    Sliced and as it is or, best of all, with thick layer of proper good butter on it.

    Oh yes. Had some the other day.

  7. Victor Meldrew

    Toast Soreen? What in the name of? I don’t believe it, the world’s gone mad…

  8. pj

    I’m not a toaster of the mighty loaf myself, but, really, putting it in the toaster ‘for the same time I’d put normal toast in’ when you know that it’s got a high sugar content and therefore burns more easily than normal toast is a bit … um… stupid, don’t you think?

    • I think ‘cynical’ would probably be a more accurate description. Of course I knew it would burn – it would kind of detract from my point if it hadn’t. OBVIOUSLY this is a case of each to their own pj…a bit of playful controversy never hurt anyone. After all, it’s only bread.

  9. Miss Frankie

    I have been eating malt loaf since I was knee high to a grass hopper & I’ve never heard of it being toasted. The best thing is the sqoodgy, playful nature of the fresh loaf. Don’t bastardise it kids.

  10. Frederique

    I Agree with Rob, toasting it ever so gently so the sugars just being to caramelise and then your butter just beings to melt is just heavenly, but it is a massive art to get it just right and not burnt to crisp! You have to have a very trusted toaster!

    • Nibbles

      And nothing better to do, Frederique, Chéri.

      I remember piling in from school and heading for the bread bin where Soreen was the only inhabitant that hadn’t dried out and grown mold. Slathered quickly with butter it satisfied a raging, growth-spurt driven hunger in under 10 seconds. No need to toast. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Maltloaf « The Daydream Kitchen

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