The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Differences between diastatic and non-diastatic malt powders

YeastofMyWorries's picture

Differences between diastatic and non-diastatic malt powders

Could someone explain the differences between these two ingredients please?

Optionparty's picture

Diastatic malt contains active enzymes.
Non-diastatic has no active enzymes
and is used for flavor (like molasses would be used).
Bread dough needs enzymes.


Chuck's picture

Non-diastatic malt is simply for coloring and flavoring.

(The color change is most pronounced in the crust. You can easily go all the way from a light golden crust to a dark brown crust.)

Diastatic malt (often in the form of "malted barley flour") in addition to the coloring and flavoring effects also affects the developing chemistry of the dough.

  • diastatic malt is sometimes used by professional or organic bakers to reduce the "falling number" of flour - what's that? home bakers don't need to care, as U.S. flour makers have usually already put tiny amounts in their retail flours as needed

  • use diastatic malt only in very small quantities (as little a 1/4 teaspoon per loaf)

  • just a little too much diastatic malt will make the crumb of the bread "gummy", often impossibly so

  • diastatic malt can make the rising process work better so you get higher breads ...but using it is a form of playing "chicken": a little rises higher, twice a little is even better, but three times a little and suddenly your bread is wrecked

(My own experience so far has been that with flour makers already adding "the right amount" of diastatic malt, it's overly tricky to do much better. My stash of malted barley flour sits in the back of my freezer and virtually never comes out:-)