Mark visits the Port Ellen Maltings on Islay

Islay on VideoMark Gillespie of WhiskyCast is probably mainly known for his whisky related podcasts. However, he also produces videos and I think I probably have shared one or two of his videos before. Recently he published a video about a visit to the Port Ellen Maltings, a place not many get to see, although he kind of picked the wrong day (for reasons explained in the video):

In the video Mark mentions that today only a handful of distilleries do any of their own malting. If memory serves me right there are only about six or seven distilleries left in Scotland who do this, three of them are actually on Islay: Laphroaig, Bowmore and Kilchoman.

‘Revisiting’ the Laphroaig Islay single malt whisky bread

Islay Whisky News & LinksOver the Christmas and New Year long weekends I made two batches of he Laphroaig Islay single malt whisky truffles, more about that over the coming days. This morning I decided I felt like making some whisky bread again. There was enough Laphroaig left and a quick rummage through my kitchen showed I had most of the ingredients I wanted (the missing one wasn’t essential), so I set to work based on a bread I had made with Bruichladdich previously.

Picture of a cut open bread with a whisky bottle next to it

Here are the ingredients in the order used:

  • Strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour ~250g
  • Strong white bread flour ~150g
  • Wholegrain seeded bread flour ~50g
  • Roasted chopped hazelnuts ~50g
  • Sunflower seeds ~50g
  • (Fast action / Easy bake) Dried yeast ~15g (I used two 7g sachets and a pinch of loose yeast)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ~2 tablespoons
  • Islay single malt whisky (in this case Laphroaig 10yo) ~¼pint
  • Hot water ~¼pint

This is the process I used:

  • Preheat oven to 220°C and make sure the kitchen is warm (helps the bread to rise)
  • Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl
  • In a jug mix the whisky and the hot water (in the original recipe I adopted for this recipe you would use ½pint of warm water. Mixing the room temperature whisky with the hot water should result in a warm mixture)
  • add the olive oil as well as the whisky and water mixture to the dry ingredients
  • thoroughly mix/knead the mixture, I let my kitchen machine do the work for about 15 minutes, may be slightly longer
  • Move dough into large bowl and let rise covered by a tea towel for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer. It won’t rise much, but will rise a bit
  • Beat down, knead again and put into silicon baking form or onto baking tray. Let rest again (covered with a towel) for at least 20 minutes, ideally longer
  • Bake at 220°C (fan assisted) for approx 30 minutes

That’s it. Cut open and enjoy. I think it tastes very nice, just with some butter. There’s a mellow Islay whisky taste, but I don’t think it’s overpowering. Very enjoyable.

PS: the non-essential missing ingredient was an egg. I would have liked to glaze the bread with egg and sprinkled it with more sunflower seeds. But that’s not crucially important.

Lagavulin jubilee to support Islay history and heritage projects

Islay Whisky News & LinksThe BBC reports of an initiative by Lagavulin distillery to support two local projects as part of their 200 year anniversary celebrations. The two projects are a long standing one and a fairly new but very important one: Finlaggan and Islay Heritage. There will also be further local initiatives receiving support:

The Lagavulin 200 Legacy is set to make further contributions to the local swimming pool, cyber cafe and arts and festival organisations, as well as a new partnership with the RSPB to restore and conserve peatlands on the island.

Funds will be raised through sales of special single cask charity bottling.