The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Culprit: The Beer or the Diastatic Malt?

CJRoman's picture

Culprit: The Beer or the Diastatic Malt?

I figured out that the malt I'd been using was actually NON-diastatic.

So for my pretzels, I changed that to 1 tsp diastatic in 540 grams of flour.

I also changed my beer from a stout to an IPA.

The dough was COMPLETELY different.

It rose dramatically faster with large air pockets. The resulting pretzel was VERY soft and was missing its "chew."

I need to fix this to bring back my chew!

Should I:

1. Remove the diastatic.

2. Shorten the rise times.

3. Reduce the amount of yeast???

4. Other

dabrownman's picture

retard of the dough and see if the chew comes back.  That is an easy way to start to figure it out.  The taste should be better at any rate even if not using SD.  I'm not keen on IPA beer for bread baking and prefer an amber lager like Bohemia, XX's Amber or Sam Adams.  I also like a a cheap ice beer like Old Milwaukee Ice too.  Are you using lye?

CJRoman's picture


I make a poolish, then add all of my ingredients (including the diastatic)...autolyse (sp?) for 20 min....knead...ball...log...shape....then retard overnight in the refrigerator.


The flavor is top notch. But its very "BREADY" the words of my taste-testers.

I reduced the amount of yeast in the batch that is sitting next to me and went back to a stout. The Amber makes a GORGEOUS color...but you can't taste it. The IPA disappears.

I'm hoping that this reduction in yeast and possibly a reduction in rise time should fix it. If not...should I forgo the diastatic?

I don't use lye. I know...I know...sacriledge.

But, I'm in the process of starting a home-based kitchen and I'm pretty sure they might freak at the thought of caustic chemicals.

Moreover, my vision is to turn this into a food truck out of a commercial kitchen in a year. That means that I'll have to train employees on the process....and the risk of them "going wrong" with lye is far greater than baking soda.

So for right now...I'm stickin' to mah soda!

golgi70's picture

But doesn't malt cause problems with doughs that forgo long extended fermentation times?  Isn't that when it causes dough degradation?  If the only two changes you made were the type of beer and the increased malt I'd suggest just going back to the previous amount of malt that worked first.

 I can't imagine any reason an IPA would effect your dough differently than a stout outside of flavor profile.  They are made up of the same ingredients with different proportions and types being used.  Can't confirm that though.

Any chance you used a different type of flour?  I'd use a high protein flour for pretzels.  That will most certainly help with the chew you are seeking.

Happy baking



grind's picture

If the diastatic malt you used is high diastatic malt, then it could be way too much, depending on the flour.  If it is the high diastatic stuff, then you can reduce the malt addition to less than 1/8 tsp and try again.  The stuff is very powerful.

CJRoman's picture

Hey Golgi!

There is substantial fermentation time...

And yes, I use a high gluten bread....same as all the other batches.

Its almost like I need to find a happy medium here. Without the malt they are a bit tough, but with the current amount I'm using they are PUFFY.

Maybe just reduce the amount....

Now, I'd like to enhance a malt FLAVOR in the dough...boost the beer a bit.

Can I do this with non-diastatic?

I'm currently adding brown sugar. Should I stop the sugar and just go with non-diastatic?

Since I hope to sell these....cost is a factor.

Hey grind! I didn't know diastatic came in different degrees. Learn something every day! I bought this at a home brewers store...