The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Malt and its uses......

CountryBoy's picture

Malt and its uses......

In the Bread Bible by Levy she takes a whole page to discuss malt, but not really Why one uses it other than to suggest for a bit more crust.  Can someone out there tell me the different uses of malt?  I have looked all over for it around where I live -Westchester County, NY-and no one has it, so, will have to get it from KA I guess.  Thanks...Country Boy


RFMonaco's picture

Good info here.

more info. and a recipe I Googled.

Making and Using Diastatic MaltFrom April 1985 ,  "Drying Times" by Barb MoodyThis is taken from a reprint of an article that appeared in The Rodale Catalog and was sent to us by one of our subscribers.

Diastatic malt has long been a secret of professional bread makers in Europe. It is made from sprouted grains that have been dried and ground. In bread recipes, it replaces the sugar or honey needed to feed the yeast and brown the crust. Because diastatic malt is full of enzymes and vitamins, it increases the nutritional value of the bread. In addition, the action of the enzymes on the yeast and flour improves both the flavor and appearance of the bread; it creates a finer texture and helps the bread stay fresh.

Diastatic malt can be made at home using wheat berries, purchased from a health food store, and your food dehydrator. When using it in bread recipes, remember that it is very potent and only a small amount is needed.

Don't forget that your dehydrator makes a wonderful place to raise your bread.

The method: Place one cup of wheat berries in a wide-mouth glass jar and add 4 cups tepid water. Cover with a piece of nylon net; secure with a rubber band. Let soak about 12 hours. Drain off water (save for soup stock or use to water your plants - it's full of minerals). Rinse well with tepid water, and drain completely. Repeat rinsing process 3 times a day for 2 days or until the little shoots are about the same length as the grains.

Rinse and drain once again. Place on teflon sheets and allow to dry at medium heat in your dryer. Grind dried sprouts to a fine flour in an electric grinder or blender. This will yield about 1 cup of diastatic malt. Store in a tightly closed glass jar in the refrigerator or freezer. It will keep indefinitely.


Hamburger Buns

  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon diastatic malt
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds Soften yeast & malt in water. When mixture bubbles, add oil and egg. Blend well and let rise for 10 minutes.Mix flour, milk, and yeast mixture to make soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into round, flat buns and place on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with cold water & sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until double.Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes.
  • CountryBoy's picture

    It sounds as if it is good to use but this ingredient is really never mentioned by people on this web site........Country Boy



    pseudobaker's picture

    The recipe for Essential's Columbia bread in ABAA uses this.  I used my husband's spray malt (used for making beer) - dehydrated diastatic malt - found in any beer brew shop, and it was just fine.  The stuff lasts forever, you just have to make sure it is sealed tight because even atmospheric moisture will cause it to become very, very sticky.

    zolablue's picture

    I have read it is used for color and flavor.  I just baked Essential's Columbia again - delicious bread and beautifully dark crust, I'm sure colored by the barley malt syrup.  Do you have a Whole Foods near you?  That is where I bought mine.  It is by Eden Foods and did not say whether it was diastatic or nondiastatic.  I called the company and found it is nondiastatic.

    CountryBoy's picture

    No Whole Foods in our area.  Levy in The Bread Bible uses it instead of sugar.... so it is good for crust and as a fancy sugar?  ...

    Thegreenbaker's picture

    I use liquid barley malt as it has a lower GI than white or granulated sugar.
    It has a higher nutritional content and tastes far better.
    I also use rice malt.
    the flavours arent over powering either like honey. Honey is great when you want that flavour, but when you dont, Malt is wonderful.

    It is a good choice if you are diabetic and "must" sweeten the bread or if it is essential in the redipe, and it does give a darker crust and adds to the flavour........especially wholewheat (or part whole wheat) breads.

    I hope this helps.


    ehanner's picture

    I use malt in some form all the time. I like the extra flavor depth it gives the Thom Leonard/mountaindog formula. I also use it in the no knead breads I have cooked in the cloche. Almost forgot the bagel recipe, some in the water and some in the dough. I have the powder form which I have gotten from Mike Avery at and also KA, and also the thick liquid that brewers also use. It's a lot like molasses which I have subbed when out of the real deal.


    CountryBoy's picture

    And many thanks to everyone for their feedback; I am glad I asked and am surprised to find it so widely used.

    CountryBoy's picture

    The answer seems to boil down to on the one side we have 'if the recipe calls for malt if you can't get it I'd just leave it out' and on the other side we have the 'I always use it'.  Many thanks for all the responses.  The referenced article is 12 pages long so I will have to read that to see what it says. Many thanks...

    sphealey's picture

    If I understand malt correctly, diastatic malt acts as

    1) a sweetener/flavour

    2) food (junk food some would say) to speed yeast growth

    3) an enzyme to catalyze the yeast/gluten reaction

    Sugars, including cane sugar, honey, and non-diastatic malt can provide functions (1) and (2), but not (3).

    However, function (3) is not necessary for artisan bread where you will be doing long slow flavour development anyway, given the yeast plenty of time to work its magic on the gluten. So you can substitute some form of sugar if you want the sweetness, or just omit it altogether.

    In _The Bread Bible_ RLB provides equivalent amounts for cane sugar and honey when she calls for malt.


    CountryBoy's picture

    Well, I read the article and found in the Summary that "Liquid malt is a very important intermediate ingredient in that it provides flavor, color and essential crust characteristics to bagels. Sweetness and nutritive values are also contributed by Liquid Malt. "  If this article is correct and liquid malt is a "very important intermediate ingredient" then why don't most of the bread recipes on this Forum include it as a requirement?  I am a Novice; everybody knows more than I do.  So why do SourdoLady, FloydM, and all the other people who I sincerely and greatly respect on this Forum omit Malt from their standard recipes?  They must have a reason and I know it is a good one but it is The Question that I am really asking.  Does anyone have a guess? Many thanks...

    mountaindog's picture

    Hi Countryboy - I think you may be taking that note about the use of liquid malt a bit too literally. It may be the important ingredient for bagels but is not a "necessary" ingredient in artisan breads. It does lend some bread recipes a very nice flavor, but like anything that adds certain flavors, sometimes you are in the mood for that flavor and sometimes not - just like you may not want to eat rye bread all the time, sometimes you are in the mood for whole wheat or white or walnut raisin . Malt syrup is used in Glezer's Columbia recipe here, which I really like, but sometimes I get tired of it and like to have more of a sourdough whiter bread flavor so I make the Thom Leonard boule, which does not call for malt. Yes, the malt does make the crust darker, and yes, it may aid the condition of the dough, but you can also achieve those things with proper handling of any lean dough that does not contain such sweeteners. Hope that helps...

    JMonkey's picture

    Most commercial flours already contain a bit of added malt -- the enzymes in the malt help break down the complex sugars in the flour, which in turn helps the yeast do their work more efficiently.

    As Mountaindog pointed out, some recipes call for additional malt in greater quantities as a flavoring, most notably in bagels and kaiser rolls.

    You don't need it, though, to make good bread. Since I grind my own flour for whole wheat bread, it doesn't come with any malt at all, and I don't add any, and it comes out fine.

    RFMonaco's picture

    ...that it's a little bit of many factors,... not THAT important...some don't care for sweetness...unfamiliarity...a bit of "laziness"...not that many folks make bagels...not easy to find at the market...not carried by most markets...and most important but not that obvious is that if you're predisposed to diabetes, you're better off NOT eating too much bread, let alone sweetened bread! Yep, as you may have guessed, I'm diabetic (caused by anti rejection medications) and for you "normal" folks, you can't realize what a pain in the ass it is to have to inject one's self with insulin every time one puts a great tasting piece of bread (or carbohydrate) in their mouth! Today was the first time I had a Bavarian cream donut in three years after hypo'ing 6 units of Novolog. This was in celebration of going from pills to injections. Hooray ??? 

    CountryBoy's picture

    I appreciate your taking the time to walk me through the world of malt.  It has been a bit vague to me up to now, so, now I know why.  Thank you very much.

    Elagins's picture

    As for where to get malt syrup, best place is your local home brewing supplies store. Generally, they sell three grades of syrup, pale, amber and dark. The amber is best all-around. I've seen it in 1# cans and in 3.3# (1.5kg) cans, both in stores and online. If you can't use that much syrup and can't find it at the local health food store, you might consider buying some from a local baker.

    SDbaker's picture

    Not a complete purist, but am I correct in assuming the use of malt would not be one of the authorized bread improvers in France?

    Is there an "artisan" standard in the US either official or unofficial?

    SD Baker

    fertileprayers's picture

    Charlotte Fairchild

    Anything in beer feeds yeast and feeds Candida and causes swelling and is not alkaline.

    I am not able to use malt because it increases Candida/yeast. I use stevia. I don't cook with stevia, although I have made jellies with stevia. When things are cooked they become acidic. I grow stevia and the fresh leaf does not taste like my jellies with stevia. There is also a sweetner that is made out of a succulent, but I don't handle that well. 

    I manage my insulin with stevia, Real Salt (a brand with minerals) and superhydration.

    I am not a diabetic, but I could have been. What has made a huge difference in my health is The pH Miracle by Robert O. Young. The library has it, but most of what he says in the book is on his official site. People are coming off insulin with this.


    Also, if you read The Book of Kudzu, by William Shurtleff, kudzu is alkaline and high in protein ans sweet and full of fiber with 60 medicinal purposes. One purpsoe is insulin health.


    Maltodextrin in some stevia, as well as many, many products will make yeast and Candida grow. Maltodextrin feeds yeast. If you are going to use maltodextrin, it may be just as unhealthy to use sugars and yeasts and drink beer--and I know I cannot handle this. Kudzu is sweet, but only because it is related to snow peas and soy. It could ferment and it could also make moonshine (ethanol) and could be used as an acid based food if processed that way.


    Candida and yeast overgrowth is rampant in diabetics, and can be found in thrush as well as other problems easily found and treated. One treatment may be to take out malt and yeast and sugars and change the pH of the food.

    There is a lot of wisdom about using malt with other people and their responses above. If anyone would like to see what I do with kudzu, my site is