The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can we test malted barley for diastatic enzymes?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Can we test malted barley for diastatic enzymes?

It seems that beer brewers are not concerned or aware of the diastatic/non-diastatic properties of their malt. I assume it is of no consequence to them. Brew shops seem oblivious to the question.  But for bread bakers it is a big deal!

I used a small portion of cyrstal malt in a bread today and I think it imparted a really nice flavor to the bread. I use chocolate malts without concern because the grains are roasted until they turn very dark. I consider it ND.

Since the crystal malt is promising I would like to use higher percentages, but I am hoping that together we can figure a method to test the grain for possible enzymatic activity. I know I could raise the percentage of malt and bake a loaf, then test for gumminess, but I’m hoping there is a more straight forward way.

This questions looks like it would be perfect for Mini.

Dan

suave's picture
suave

"It seems that beer brewers are not concerned or aware of the diastatic/non-diastatic properties of their malt."

What?  Every brewing malt that has diastatic power has it reported, and brewers use them to check their grain bill so that the mash converts properly.  Crystal malts, however, are roasted and therefore very dead.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Can you explain more about diastatic power?  Could you send a link to “grain bill”? Both I and others have had a problem learning the diastatic characteristics from brew shops.

I found This LINK, which was interesting. But it didn’t help with the “grain bill” or otherwise known as the “malt bill”.

I did find this - 

“Diastatic powerEdit

Diastatic power (DP), also called the "diastatic activity" or "enzymatic power", is a property of malts (grains that have begun to germinate) that refers to the malt's ability to break down starches into simpler fermentable sugars during the mashing process. Germination produces a number of enzymes, such as amylase, that can convert the starch naturally present in barley and other grains into sugar. The mashing process activates these enzymes by soaking the grain in water at a controlled temperature. 

In general, the hotter a grain is kilned, the less its diastatic activity. As a consequence, only lightly colored grains can be used as base malts, with Munich malt being the darkest base malt generally available.

Diastatic activity can also be provided by diastatic malt extract or by inclusion of separately-prepared brewing enzymes.

Diastatic power for a grain is measured in degrees Lintner (°Lintner or °L, although the latter can conflict with the symbol °L for Lovibond color); or in Europe by Windisch-Kolbach units (°WK). The two measures are related by

{}^{\circ }{\mbox{Lintner}}={\frac {{}^{\circ }{\mbox{WK}}+16}{3.5}}
{}^{\circ }{\mbox{WK}}=\left(3.5\times {}^{\circ }{\mbox{Lintner}}\right)-16

A malt with enough power to self-convert has a diastatic power near 35 °Lintner (94 °WK). Until recently, the most active, so-called "hottest", malts currently available were American six-row pale barley malts, which have a diastatic power of up to 160 °Lintner (544 °WK). Wheat malts have begun to appear on the market with diastatic power of up to 200 °Lintner. Although with the huskless wheat being somewhat difficult to work with, this is usually used in conjunction with barley, or as an addition to add high diastatic power to a mash.”

I would really like to understand more about “diastatic power”. It seems to me that beer brewers and bread bakers don’t speak the same language when it come to diastatic/non-diastatic malt.

Your help is appreciated.

Dan

suave's picture
suave

It's really simple.  Conversion is the ability of malt to turn it's starches into sugars, self-conversion is ability to convert completely, that comes at 30-35 °L depending on a source.  Grain bill is pretty much equivalent to 100% in baker's percentage.  So for the mash to work, it must have at least 30 °L on average.   For example, if you plan to mash 10 kilos of grain and you use base malt with DP100, you will need at least 3 kilos of it. 

Of course for bakers the situation is different since they work with longer times, lower temperatures, and much lower malt loads.  They don't need complete conversion either :).  My guess is that if someone was into this sort of thing he or she could derive some rule of thumb working with several flours with known and different falling numbers and several malts of known power.  But most likely it all has been done and can be found in milling texts.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Is this a gran bill?  http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Assets/PDFs/Briess_PISB_CaramelMalt10L.pdf

I am also confused about “degree L”. I understand it can either mean °L is used for degrees Lovibond (color) or Lintner for DP (diastatic power)

So how would you describe in beer terms the Diastatic Malt that is used to bake bread? What is the DP and also the degree Lintner?

And then, how would you describe in beer terms the Non-Diastatic Malt that is used to bake bread? What is the DP and also the degree Lintner?

Don’t want to be a pain, but I would really like to understand this. I have learned that brewers are very concerned about the diastatic abilities of their malt.

Danny

albacore's picture
albacore

Dan, that looks like a malt specification to me, not a grain bill. A grain bill would be a list of malts and non-malted adjuncts and their quantities used in a brew recipe.

I don't know why you are so concerned about diastatic power in breadmaking. The miller will be making the adjustments required to keep this in spec in his flours. These adjustments will be made by varying the blend of different wheats and/or adding amylases, either via barley malt flour or fungal amylase.

As we know, the bread baker can also add a little barley malt flour to the mix as well, possibly to increase crust browning.

Lance

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Lance, can you send me a link to a grain bill? I’ve spent time searching the net, and evidently haven’t found one.

This is my concern with diastatic power (DP) for malted barley. I want to use malts such as cyrstal, chocolate, vienna, etc. as larger percentages ( maybe 30% or so) for flavor. I want to test this out, but I am concerned that I may end up with a gummy mess :-( With diastatic baker’s malt, I sometimes supplement 1% of the weight of the milled whole grains. As stated, my US flour contains a small amount of diastatic malt.

Try as I may, I can’t get a grasp on the amount of DP in a particualar grain. I don’t comprehend brewer’s language.

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm not getting it either.  They certainly know more about it than me.  

Tell you what I'd do... if dealing with a whole mess of different malts and not sure of the amount of diastase, it might be a good idea to make them all inert before using, heating them up (in the oven?) and letting them cool before using.  Severe scalding or Tangzhong is also an option.

The links are valuable, memorize or list the zero DP ones to spare yourself the extra work.  Sprouted barley grain tends to have the highest amount and like all grains can vary with season and sprouting.  Active malts tend to be lighter in colour.  Toasting and roasting and caramelized darker colors tend to be inert.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I definitely have thought about roasting the grain to make sure their is no diastatic power. What temp and how long should I heat at that temp? 

It is nice to know that a “genious” like you is also preplexed about the brewer’s specs ;-)

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was just reading a paper on the heating of honey to reduce Diastatic power, 90°C for 30 min was not having much effect. Honey has diastatic power. Didn't know that but it makes sense.  Honey is often heated with liquids like water before using in baking...now I know why.  I suppose that if enough active honey was used in a recipe, it might also result in a heavy gummy crumb.  

Im sure the temp is listed in the archives.  I'm having a "lay down" day with my slipped disk.  So I may find it soon. what does Calvel have to say?  Anyone?

here we go:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/37593/convert-diastatic-malt-nondiastatic

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

A year ago I was attempting yo knock off a popular bread sold by Whole Foods called Seeduction Bread. It has a very high percentage of honey. I struugled with gummy bread. Mini, you may have done me a huge favor :-) I need to revisit that bread. This time I think I’ll put the honey in hot water first to stop the enzymatic activity.

Slipped Disk. I feel your pain. I have suffered with chronic back pain for 46 years :-( Every third night I sleep in a Hyperbaric Chamber. Have you tried an Inversion Table? https://www.amazon.com/Innova-ITM4800-Advanced-Therapeutic-Inversion/dp/B00F950N2G/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1534251594&sr=8-3&keywords=inversion+tables+for+back+pain&dpID=411-BNeD5ZL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

Dan

suave's picture
suave

This is a spec sheet for a malt.  It shows its color as 10 °Lovibond, diastatic power is not listed since it has none.  We don't know what the diastatic power of the diastatic malt sold to the amateur bakers by, say  KAF, is.  Perhaps they know, as they probably get it from Briess or some other malt manufacturer, but if you look for the cheapest base malt it will give you a fair idea.   Non-diastatic malt has no diastatic power, it has 0 °L, what matters is color and flavor, which are determined by the grain used and the roast.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Sauve, please send a link to the spec sheet. I have searched the Briess site for information. I searched “grain list” and “grain bill”. I have a number of their malts.

I did read on the Briess site, “Base malts are kiln-dried. typically with a finish heat of 180-190° F for 2-4 hours. This develops flavors ranging from very light malty to subtle malty.”

I found this information. http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Assets/PDFs/Briess_TypicalAnalysis_Malts.pdf  Is page 2 base malts? Why doesn’t page 2 show the same data as the grains on page 1? If the DP is blank on page 1, am I correct to assume that is no diastatic power in that grain?

I appreciate your help.

Dan

kendalm's picture
kendalm

the brewery supplier that I go to has powdered pilsners, wheat, barleys in liquid form and also concentrated paste. They tell me these particular general 'malts' are mostly non diastatic but may have a little residual / negigible amounts if diastase. Any baking I've done with them directly incorporated to dough have been pretty tame, nothing like a generous pinch of diastatic malt. But since I generally use them to spritz and just give a little character to the crust immediately before baking it's sort of a non issue - actually I'm all out right now and literally in the process of driving down an extract right now - tripping you should post this now !

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Brewers care way more about diastatic power than bakers.  Most white flours at=re tested and have mat added to them and whole grains have plenty of diastatic power so no worries at all there.  Here is some info.  i saw that someone was putting crystal malt into their bread mix thinking that would add diastatic power when crystal malt has a big zero for diastatic power

This all you need to know about diastatic malt

http://beersmith.com/blog/2010/01/04/diastatic-power-and-mashing-your-beer/