The Fresh Loaf

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Need Help - Diastatic Malt Powder - Replacement?

jennyloh's picture

Need Help - Diastatic Malt Powder - Replacement?

I'd like to attempt the Jeffrey Hamelman's bagels which Lindy did a great job a few weeks ago.  However, I can't seem to find diastatic malt powder in the supermarket here (in China) :(.

I'd really love to do the bagels,  can anyone suggest an alternative that I can use? or if I exclude it,  will it make a difference?


LindyD's picture

Hi Jenny,

I don't think there is any substitution for diastatic malt powder because of the active enzymes it contains.  They help break starch down into sugar, which feed the yeast in the dough.

There is a TFL thread on how to make your own, if you have access to barley there:

Otherwise, give it a try without the DMP.  Your bagels might not rise as much or have as open a crumb as with the malt powder, but I think the taste will be pretty much the same.

I wish I could send you some of my DMP!  Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Can you get barley or wheat berries? If you sprout them than you can make your own diastatic malt. There are some recipes on the web and probably right here at TFL to make your own.

I have some sprouted wheat flour and when I bake with it I notice a distinctly "malty" flavor. I'm sure it's because it's full of diastatic malt enzyme.

jennyloh's picture

Tracy - thanks. I'm trying now to see if I can sprout. my son did convince that I should be able to do it, as he did it in his science experiment in school. 

mrfrost's picture

I have read that for some individuals, barley berries are more difficult to sprout as compared to wheat berries. If you are following an established guide for sprouting the barley, and are unsucessful, try wheat berries the next time. It is a more relatively foolproof process.

For an individual, the difference between the homemade wheat and barley malt is not significant. You may just need to use a little more wheat malt than the barley, but it still will be a relatively minute(small) amount.

jaltsc's picture

Try going to a restaurant that prepares Peking Duck. They use a malt syrup to baste the duck. It might be in liquid form, but you can use it for bagels.

LindyD's picture

I don't believe malt syrup is diastatic.

It is added to the boiling water and does a great job adding a touch of sweetness and color to the bagels, but I'd never add it to the dough because it provides nothing in the way of enzymes plus it would change the hydration.

Don't the Chinese drink beer?  I would think there's a brewery around with a supply of malt powder.

wally's picture

When we run out of diastatic malt at work we just substitute a little honey.  Yes, I know that it is not the same, but what's more important is that our results seem to be the same.

Where Jeffrey calls for 2 tsp in his "home" recipe, you can substitute 1 T + 1 tsp honey. This will create a need to adjust your hydration ever so slightly since the honey is a liquid.

Or, as LindyD pointed out, you can just proceed without the malt and you should still get good bagels!

Good luck!


catspjs's picture

I couldn't find it where I live either, so I ordered some from  Quite reasonable and quick delivery.  Good luck

jennyloh's picture

I'm trying to sprout my own barley,  but I don't see any progress at the moment,  and I'm not sure I could ground it,  as I don't have a mill or grinder.  I'm thinking whether I can substitute instead of all high gluten flour,  to perhaps substitute it with a certain % of bread flour since bread flour contains malt powder.  Thoughts?  comments?  Did anyone try all bread flour?  What's the difference?

LindyD's picture

I've tried using bread flour and the result is bread donuts - not bagels, at least the  chewy NY style bagels which are the intent of the Hamelman formula.

I would just skip the DMP or as Larry suggested, try honey.  Honey contains the enzyme diastase, as does the DMP.