what exactly are malt syrup and diastatic malt powder and what do they do? If I don't have them, what can I substitute?
Diastatic malt is sort of like vitamins for yeasts. It helps boost their reproduction in the dough. No real substitutes for the diastatic properties. Most (US)bread flours have this included as an additive. If you cannot get it, you can just omit it from the (most)recipes with little noticeable difference. Like non diastatic sweeteners, it does help in the browning of the bread as it bakes.
Non diastatic malt powder, malt extract and/or syrup(both usually nondiastatic) are sweeteners. Substitute molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.
Many, many malt threads:
that malt in syrup form is always non-diastatic? If it has to boiled to be concentrated its temperature must rise above 80°C, right?
It can be diastatic, but should be indicated as such on the label or documentation. It may not necessarily say diastatic. It may say something like enzymatic, etc. Believe it or not, they can boil liquids to evaporate at well below normal boiling temperatures(using vacuums, etc). Don't know if that is what they do here though.
Elagins at nybakers.com sells diastic malt syrup(or used to). I have some.
I do believe that even if diastatic, it is more mildly so, as to be able to substitute for non diastatic(at times). Could be wrong about that though.
It took me a long time to purchase my diastatic malt powder. If you can't find it locally, the shipping will kill you unless you need other ingredients too. I finally broke down and bought some from New York Bakers. It improved my breads that required it trmendously.
One of the tricks I learned along the way is to substitute a like amount of brown sugar. It improved the flavor of the bread, but not to the extent of the malt powder. The brown sugar does not have the enzymes of diastatic malt powder, but it does feed the yeast.
Based on my personal experience, I would recommend that you get the diastatic malt powder as soon as possible. I spent way too long looking for it locally, but it just wasn't here.
You can get 16 oz. of diastatic malt powder from King Arthur shipped to your door for a bit over $10. Although more than half that amount is the shipping charge, that isn't too obnoxious.
However, I got mine from NY Bakers also, and considering how much other stuff I ordered at the same time, it was quite reasonable in price, even with the shipping.
Too bad he(Stan, NYB) doesn't run those free shipping offers like he did a couple of times when he first started up. That's when I got mine along with other hard to find items.
Remember though, if you are doing his test bakes, there is a 10 % discount. Better than nothing.
because almost no one sells diastatic malt powder or malted flour. < 3€ per KG isn't even a bad price, but I have to "mill" it myself in the mixer. Fortunately it's quite softer than the corresponding raw barley, mixer-compatible.
The difference in the scent and in the taste feels a lot.
Now I'm waiting for malted rye for my daily bread.
How do I know when malt would be beneficial? If I am making my own recipe, how do I know when I should use malt and when not.
I found a great post on wild yeast that explains it all to my satisfaction its here: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2010/06/02/get-your-malt-on/
They can be used as "dough conditioners". The bread feels "moister" and lasts longer. But be careful to only use very small amounts (for example start with only 1/4 teaspoon per loaf); a little too much and suddenly the baked bread turns mucky.
KAF mixes in a varying amount of diastatic malt to provide more consistent rising from one year to the next. (That seems to be how they get such consistent "falling numbers".) Most other North American mills add a less variable amount. So when you add some, you're adding even more to what's already there (unless you mill your own flour), and will very quickly reach the "too much" point.
As with any sweetener, it will make your crusts darker. You may need to turn your oven down 25F to get the same internal temperature with the same crust color you're used to.
isn't beer high in alpha amalayse, would a small amount of beer work? I realize I couldn't use beer in all of my bread, but some of it might taste good with a certain amount of beer and if it helps the oven spring, all the better. What about sprouted grain flour. This would contain the requisite amalayse,would it not? Can I make my own sprouted flour and grind it in my mill, does it have to be dehydrated to do this? I think I'm going to google this question.
Many, many threads here on making your own diastatic malt. Use the search box.
Isn't beer high in alpha amalayse, would a small amount of beer work?
Beer wort is boiled, so I doubt it. Sprouted grain would work but you'll never know its stength. Use too much and you make wheat gum. Rye flour usually has higher diastatic power. Cheers, Tony.