The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Malt Extract

Phantasie's picture

Malt Extract

I had one recipe call for Malt Extract. I finally tracked some down from a local brewery - they filled up an ice cream container of this sticky, yeasty smelling mixture for me for 5 bucks.

What is the general consensous from people on using this? Ive used it in lieu of sugar in several breads and have not had a bad result.

Is it used soley as a sugar to air the yeast development in doughs? Will it add any (signifigant) flavour? Are there any breads it should be avoided in? (im trying it this morning in my sourdough, and excited ot see how it will turn out).


sojourner's picture

You're lucky that your local brewery is willing to supply you with malt extract without hope or hop extract in it. It was impossible to locate a source in my area that didn't sell it already hopped. before I found it in a chemist's. Even then, they wanted to sell it to me with vitamins and cod liver oil added!  8-)



Phantasie's picture

Hmm, the brewery/person (actually a do it yourself home brew place) i bought it from was very nice/helpfull -  he said sold that malt extract to a few other bread bakers.

however im not sure about this hop extract - ill have to ask him if its in there. If it was, how would I know in my breads? Taste? Color? Texture? Would it be obvious?

ChiroBaker's picture

the home brew store in my area sells many differ kinds of malt extract! Which one would I buy to use in pretzels or baking?

vienna, gold, Pilsen, maris otter, wheat, amber, Munich, organic light, dark 

im new to baking so I have no idea which one is called for. Most of the recipes I want to do just call for malt extract and I find all these different kinds for beer.  Is there a specific kind?


pjaj's picture

I've got two threads running on malt. One is for sources of malt flour which can be found here. The other is on trying to reproduce a particularly English malt loaf which can be found here which is my introduction to this site which mutated!

As for malt, here in the UK you can easily buy unadulterated malt extract in many supermarkets and in health food shops.

As a baking ingredient it can be just a source of sugar for yeast in small quantities, when it's doubtful if you would taste it. But there are other uses.

In the form of flour (the ground malted grains that have not been extracted for their sugar) it depends upon the degree of roasting the grains have undergone. Lightly roasted grains give a pale flour that does little to colour the dough, but still has considerable enzyme activity which is used for its action on the starch in the other flours. See Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads". he has a whole section on enzyme action.

More heavily roasted grains give a much darker brown flour but the enzyme activity is destroyed. These are used for colour and flavour in many commercial brown breads and pastries.

Finally there is my own topic, malt loaf, where much larger quantities of malt extract (up to 20% of the added liquid) and flour (up to 20% of the totla flour) are used to achieve a distinctive flavour, colour and stickiness.

Commercial maltsers usually make a whole range of flours and extracts with different of properties. Unfortunately they seem only to sell in bulk to the trade.

Bixmeister's picture

Homebrewing stores will often have malt extract, unhopped in a dry form.  This is very convenient for baking.  Beware that it is very hygroscopic however.  That means it absorbs moisture and can get clunky unless preventative measures are taken.  I used dry malt extract for my cheese ciabatta that I submitted.  I believe it helps bread provided the enzymes are not denatured. 



Stefania's picture

I too was going to reccomend the dry version as being more convenient for baking. And yes, it is very hygroscopic.  Also, make sure you keep the malt syrup in the refrigerator or it will start to ferment.  No, it doesn't have yeast in it, but at room temperature it can ferment.  You can go into homebrew stores and see bags of the stuff begin to swell if left out too long.




Steve H's picture
Steve H
rfedele's picture

I've been using malt extract in my bread for years, you can get it at a local home brew supplier or order it online. The syrup is much better than the dry product and it lasts forever in the refrigerator.It gived the bread a great flavor.