Malty wholemeal loaf

20 Comments on Malty wholemeal loaf

*Looking back at my recipe archives, while I love my enthusiasm, but there’s now a much better wholemeal loaf recipe (and photos!) here*

Remember the scene in About a Boy where Marcus accidentally kills a duck with his mum’s loaf of ‘healthy’ bread?  My very first foray into the world of breadmaking wasn’t a million miles off.  After purchasing my brand new copy of The River Cottage Bread Handbook, covering the kitchen in a blanket of flour and lovingly kneading a sticky, unresponsive dough, I ended up with just over a kilo of flour, water and salt, condensed into a heavy loaf the size of a small brick.  The kind of thing Tony Soprano would be more likely to tie to the ankle of a recently deceased victim than eat for breakfast.  With a mother’s love for her first born child, I duly munched my way through the whole thing, telling anyone who listened that it was a million miles nicer than the air-filled rubbish you can buy in the supermarket.  It wasn’t.

But this didn’t deter me. The River Cottage bread book is a wonderful thing. With page after page dedicated to mixing, folding, kneading and coating, it’s the ultimate bread-lover’s companion, and I knew that with a little perseverance this little loaf could produce a larger loaf she was proud of. And could actually eat.

So here it is. My very first properly delicious loaf of bread. Crusty and textured on the outside, with a springy, slightly doughy crumb and a delicious nutty taste. Daniel Stevens, River Cottage bread guru, advises not to cut bread intended for slicing until it’s cooled. I defy anyone not to carve off a slab fresh from the oven, slather in butter, and eat whilst still warm. Yum!


Delicious malty wholemeal loaf

Malted grain bread (adapted from The River Cottage Bread Handbook)

Makes 2 loaves of 12 small rolls

  • 750g malted grain flour
  • 7g powdered dried yeast
  • 10g fine salt
  • 420ml warm water
  • 1tbsp olive oil

Mix a rough dough, combining flour, yeast, salt and water. Adjust the consistency if you need to, to make a soft, easily kneadable, sticky dough.  Turn onto a work surface and clean your hands.

Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. This should take about 10 minutes (see step by step instructions in The River Cafe Handbook for beautiful results!).

Shape the dough into a round, flour the surface and put back into the wiped out mixing bowl. Wrap in a black plastic bag and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take 45 mins – 1 1/2 hours, depending on how warm it is.

Risen dough

Risen Dough

Deflate the dough by pressing all over with your fingertips, then form into a round. Leave to rise again. You can do this up to 4 times, but I found twice was perfect (and I’m not that patient!).

Now prepare for baking. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees C/Gas Mark 10 with a baking tray or stone inside. Shape your dough into loaves or rolls and rest, covered in a black plastic bag, for 10 minutes til doubled in size.

Risen Bread

Risen bread

Transfer loaves to hot baking tray/stone. Slash tops if you wish and put in oven.

Turn the heat down after 10 minutes: 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6 if crust is burning, 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 if noticeably browning, and 170 degrees/Gas Mark 3 otherwise. Bake until loaf/rolls are browned and crusty and feel hollow if you tap them – about 10-20 mins for rolls, around 40 mins for loaves.


Fresh out the oven

Leave to cool on a wire rack (if you can bear to wait!).


Nutty, malty loaf – delicious!


20 RESPONSES TO Malty wholemeal loaf

  1. Luke Doran -

    Looks and tastes delicious! 🙂

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  5. Glenn -

    Try using 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger , knead then let the dough rise for 12 to 16 hours or until doubled in size. Knock back, shape, let rise again then bake. The texture will be very different.

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  12. Kavey -

    Yay! Go The Larger Loaf! Well done!

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  15. Happy cook -

    I made this today (one large loaf using half the ingredients, with fresh yeast). Absolutely fabulous taste. I ate rather a lot of it warm from the oven for lunch with generous amounts of butter! However, when I slashed the top (with a proper baker’s lame), my beautifully risen loaf collapsed a little, so it wasn’t as great a ‘looker’ as I had hoped. Has this happened to you? Any ideas? No problem with the taste and texture though and I am looking forward to it toasted too, if there is any left tomorrow! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • There’s nothing better than freshly baked bread, so pleased you liked it!
      I’m not entirely sure why it collapsed…sometimes this can happen if the knife isn’t sharp enough but sounds like you were using just the right tools. Maybe it has overproved slightly? Do try tweeting @dan_lepard – he’s normally pretty good at replying on these kinds of questions!

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  17. Just mosied on back to check out your first post and despite the site looking very different, the essence of “you” is still here 🙂 Wonderful post and great book! Hugh is my hero 🙂

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