The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Diastatic malt powder

jimtr6's picture

Diastatic malt powder

does anyone use this and what purpose does it serve, one thing I read is it  does for yeast what steroids do for athletes, I also have barley malt which looks like a cross between molasses and honey, it's semi sweet, actually a nice flavor

cerevisiae's picture

It sounds like the barley malt you have is the syrup, which is quite tasty. That kind is mostly used for it's flavor - usually in doughs, though Hamelman suggests using it in the water for boiling bagels.

Diastatic malt powder is different. While it does also add some malty flavor, it's mostly used (in small quantities where you don't really taste it) to increase enzymatic activity in a dough. This activity allows more of the starches to be broken down into sugars that yeasts can use as food, meaning that they're less likely starve during a really long dough process. The extra sugar also helps promote crust browning through caramelization, which might otherwise be lacking in a slowly processed dough and/or sourdough.

There is also non-diastatic malt powder, which is more like the syrup in that it's mostly used for flavor - in this case, though, mainly by beer brewers, I believe. It's basically the same as diastatic powder, but it's been heated enough to stop the enzymatic activity.

Oh, and malted milk powder is separate but related as well - I believe it's basically non-diastatic malt powder mixed with powdered milk, though I'm not actually certain.

Most malt powder comes from barley, though some it comes from wheat. I think it might sometimes come from other sources, too, but those are the two most common things that people malt.

dabrownman's picture

meaning that it has be heated to a high temperature that kills the enzymes founf in diatstatic malt .  These enzymes break starches found in flour into the sugars that can be utilized by LAB and yeast  for food.  Red malt, as opposed to white malt, is also non diastatic and used to flavor and color bread crust and crumb while white malt has active enzymes.  I like to use both in every bread since I grind my own flour .  If you are going for a long retard, white diastatic malt ensures that the wee beasties won't run out of food and there will be enough residual sugars left to brown the bread well.  

embth's picture

Many white bread flours contain some barley malt so it is easy to "over-do" the diastatic malt powder.  From what I have read, it seems most whole wheat flours are not malted.   Too much diastatic malt results in a gummy crumb texture.    Note that "dabrownman" mentions that he "grinds his own flour" so it is pure wheat…nothing added.   For those of us who buy flour, it is good to read the fine print on the bag….or go online to the milling company's website for information on the particular flour you are using.   

Antilope's picture

in pretty much any yeast bread recipe. Using it makes for a higher rise and also promotes crust browning, because it frees up sugars naturally in the flour. It is a yeast food. Using more than the recommended amounts can lead to a gummy crumb in the bread. Diastatic malt powder is not sweet and it's not malted milk powder.
It is usually made by sprouting barley, then drying and grinding the sprouted barley to a flour. The diastatic malt powder contains enzymes that break down flour to basic sugars and provide more food for the yeast. If the malt powder is heated enough to destroy the enzymes, it becomes non-diastatic malt (which can be a powder or syrup) and is usually used as a sweetener.
The usual recommended amounts for diastatic malt powder are 0.5% to 2.0% of the total flour weight used in the recipe. Example: If you use 500 grams of flour, you should use 2.5 grams to 10 grams of diastatic malt powder.
According to my measurements, One level, packed teaspoon (scooped and leveled) of diastatic malt powder weights about 3.5 grams. I mix it with the recipe liquids to ensure even distribution throughout the flour.
1 tsp = 3.5 grams (teaspoonful, scooped and leveled) - Diastatic Malt Powder
1 cup of flour = 4.25 oz (120.5 grams) measured by the King Arthur Flour method.
So, using 1 level teaspoonful in 3 cups of flour is using diastatic malt powder at a rate of 1%.


- From Professional Baking, 4th edition, by Wayne Gisslen, (pages 39, 40)

".....Malt syrup, also called malt extract, is used primarily in yeast breads. It serves as food for the yeast and adds flavor and crust color to the breads. Malt is extracted from barley that has been sprouted (malted) and then dried and ground.
There are two basic types of malt syrup: diastatic and non-diastatic. Diastatic malt contains a group of enzymes called diastase, which breaks down starch into sugars that can be acted on by yeast. Thus, diastatic malt, when added to bread dough, is a powerful food for yeast. It is used when fermentation times are short. It should not be used when fermentation times are long because too much starch will be broken down by the enzyme. This results in bread with a sticky crumb.
Diastatic malt is produced with high, medium, or low diastase content.
Non-diastatic malt is processed at high temperatures that destroy the enzymes and give the syrup a darker color and stronger flavor. It is used because it contains fermentable sugar and contributes flavor, crust color, and keeping qualities to breads.
Whenever malt syrup is called for in formulas in this book, non-diastatic malt should be used. No formulas require diastatic malt. If malt syrup is not available, you may substitute regular granulated sugar.
Malt is available in two other forms. Dried malt extract is simply malt syrup that has been dried. It must be kept in an airtight container to keep it from absorbing moisture from the air.Malt flour is the dried, ground, malted barley that has not had the malt extracted from it. It is obviously a much less concentrated form of malt. When used in bread making, it is blended with the flour....."