The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Malt powder

rcballard's picture

Malt powder

Found a reciepe for Kaiser Rolls that uses Malt Powder. Haven't found any in our local stores but can get it on line. Can anyone tell me what it does for the reciepe and can I substitute for it?

Trishinomaha's picture

Some of the Health Food stores in my area carry barley malt syrup and malt powder. You might check in your area and see if you can find it there.

Dillbert's picture

I've been experimenting with it for broetchen.

theory holds that diastatic (there's two kinds...) malt powder brings some enzymes to the party that help yeast do its thing.  I don't know the exact mechanism.

but it works - I see a difference - and it also brings an aroma and flavor to the bread.

Elagins's picture

simply, diastatic malt contains enzymes called amylases that help to break complex carbohydrates down into simple sugars for the yeasts to digest. this has two effects: first, it unlocks the natural sweetness of the flour and second, because of the Maillard effect, improves the browning of your breads during baking.

Stan Ginsberg

Dillbert's picture

Stan -

thanks for the info - I'm groping, stumbling and eating my experiments on my way to enlightenment!

as I recently learned (here?) KA bread flour 'already' incorporates some diastatic malt powder.  in your experience, does 'additional' make a difference in [undefined] specific recipes?

German Broetchen are a combination of a hard thin crust with a fluffy inside and a taste that is distinct from 'run of the mill' fresh bread.  when we were living in Germany (small, veddy small, town) the kids would ride their bikes down to the baker at oh-dark:thirty for broetchen.  they did not 'keep' - yesterday's broetchen could only become today's bread crumbs.

I've have managed to re-create the 'insides' - the diastatic malt powder has brought the aroma / flavor back, I'm still working on that thin crunchy crust.  having spent o'dark:hundred time with the local village baker, I do know he had a 300 yr old brick oven with a D-handle which would inject clouds and clouds of steam into the oven.  tough to duplicate, but I'm currently working on the lava rock approach as ice cubes in the pan didn't quite work out.

any thoughts / suggestions / pointers appreciated!

so far as "spinning my own" malt powder - sounds neat - but I'll plead guilty to the lazy bit - first I need to bake a good broetchen ! then I'll tackle the 'home spun' advantages.

ps:  Stan [] - anywhere in Brooklyn?  our youngest would definitely be a prospective customer!  she's real spoilt on good breadstuffs . . .

Elagins's picture

i suspect that without (a) higher temps than most home ovens are capable of and (b) some very sophisticated steam equipment you're probably never going to get that paper-thin, eggshell-like crust. what i'd recommend, and i think others here would agree, is to (a) let your rolls go to almost full proof, i.e., just before the point where they collapse like tired balloons when you poke them gently, (b) fire your oven up as high as it will go, (c) pre-steam about 1min before loading, steam again 2min or so after loading and then (d)

turn the heat down to around 450F/230C so that the rolls can finish baking

for what it's worth, i've been struggling for years to perfect a hoagie/hero/submarine/grinder roll, without much success. i've gotten close, but i'm convinced that without commercial equipment, it's pretty near an impossible task. i simply cant get enough steam into the oven and i lose way too much heat every time i open the door.

sadly, although i grew up in Brooklyn and am still a Brooklynite to the core (until the day I die, I will never forgive the Dodgers for leaving), I now live in Southern California, and my establishment is virtual. My warehouse is off the street near the San Diego Naval Base and I'm completely unequipped to deal with walk-in business, 

as for your comment about KA flour and malt, most commercially available nonorganic patent (i.e., white) wheat flours these days have malted barley flour added, which serves the same purpose as diastatic malt. i suggest you look carefully at the ingredients in your flour, because in the absence of an American reinheitsgebot (food purity laws), some manufacturers also add other "dough conditioners" like ascorbic acid, potassium bromate and/or l-cysteine hydrochloride, about which there is some debate.

Dillbert's picture

"egg shell crust" - that's a very good description - I may have to filch that one, if I may [g]

I've picked up on most of what you mentioned - waiting out the proof is probably my biggest weakness.

in a prior house we had the typical electric "stove" - four burners on top and oven below.  the back right burner had a hole / vent into the oven.  I rigged up my tea kettle with some copper tubing and that did a pretty good job of steaming.  now I have a wall oven and that trick is not gonna' work. but I agree, getting enough steam to duplicate a commerical purpose built oven is tricky business. 

I've had some luck with a heavy misting - or even 'painting' with water just before putting them in the oven.  results have been spotty - that is some parts develop the egg shell, some don't.  it could be my imagination, but I'm thinking it could be related to letting the proof go longer - perhaps the spots that did crust nicely were a bit more proofed to the limit. . .

>>forgiving the Dodgers - giggle.  my dad grew up on Flat Bush Ave and he had similar feelings [g]

Elagins's picture

regards from a homey ... and it's Flatbush, never Flat Bush. That's just like the surest way to know if someone's a tourist is if they continually refer to Sixth Avenue (never 6th) as "Avenue of the Americas"

please feel free to kife "eggshell crust" and please let us all know if/when/how you beat the broetchen challenge.


fenchel2c's picture

Dillbert - what is your recipe for Brötchen?  When I ran my first batches, I got the thin, crunchy crust but the 'insides' were too dense and chewy.

Dillbert's picture

I'm currently working with two recipes for broetchen - below - what method(s) did you use to get your crisp crust?

the 'easy' one is the classic but modified no-knead bread although I've reduced the hydration from 80% to 70% and trying 60% next.  at 80% the dough does not hold a classic shape well.

430 g flour
1 tbsp diastatic malt powder
345 g water (at 80%; 70%=301g;  60%=258g)
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ascorbic acid - this I find helps with a moister / more tender inside
18 hour first rise time; 1-2 hr second rise after shaping

the second a bit more involved, but I have to give it the edge for flavor & interior texture.

>>note for experimenting I cut this recipe in half.

    * ***Day 1***
    * 2 c. (250 grams) bread flour (I used King Arthur unbleached)
    * 1 1/3 c. cold tap water (300 ml)
    * 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (2.5 grams)
    * 2 tbsp diastatic malt powder

    * ***Day 2***
    * 5 1/2 c. flour (725 grams)
    * 1 1/3 c. water (300 ml)
    * 1 tsp. (5 grams) instant yeast
    * 1 1/2 tsp. (12 grams) salt

The night before mix first ingredients. Cover (not airtight) and let sit overnight.

Second day mix the sponge with flour, add'l water, salt and the yeast. Knead for 8 minutes in a stand mixer. Add up to another half cup of flour until dough clears the bowl.

Form a ball & rise 2 hours at room temperature (oiled bowl), or until doubled in size.

form a log cut 50 grams chunks (I used 80g)

Cover& rise for a further hour.

Preheat oven, preferably with an oven stone, to 450°F for 1 hour.

Slash rolls if desired - steam bath the oven as best you can....

fenchel2c's picture

For the dough I used the 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' master recipe with the following alterations.  I use KA european-style artisan bread flour instead of AP flour.  I included 3 egg whites with sufficient water to get 3 cups of liquid.  I also included 5g of diastatic malt powder(probably not enough) and eliminated the cornmeal as I don't use a pizza peel.  Prior to slashing, I coat the rolls with an egg white & water (1 tbsp) mixture.  The rolls are on a pastry sheet which I lined with parchment paper.  This makes it easy to slide onto the oven stone.  Last step is to pour 1 cup of hot water into a roasting pan that I leave in the bottom of my oven.  As I said earlier, the crust is great but the crumb is too dense and chewy.  I plan to increase the proofing time from 20 minutes to 60 minutes on my next batches.

Neil C's picture
Neil C

In addition to what Stan has already said, I find that diastatic malt produces a sweeter taste if allowed to work longer, perhaps as long as 8 to 12 hours.

inlovewbread's picture

You can make malt powder yourself by sprouting barley or wheat berries. It's actually an easy process and I had good luck with it. Here's a detailed explaination of how:

and here too:

scroll down and read all the posts as there is quite a bit of info shared.


jabby's picture

I buy my malt at the local beer store. I'm sure it's cheaper than buying it from a specialty baking catalog and seems to do the trick. I use it primarily for making bagels.

As somebody mentioned above.... most flours already have diastatic malt in it.