The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First foray into malts

BreadLee's picture

First foray into malts

After seeing a few malt posts here and reading some recipes in The Rye Baker book,  I just picked up CBW non-diastatic rye malt extract from the local brew supply store. 

If anyone with malt experience has some tips I would appreciate hearing them. 

Thanks much gang! 

Bread Lee

idaveindy's picture

Just in case anyone doesn't know...  (I had to learn this the hard way.)

_Diastatic_ malt has the enzymes that will break starch down into sugar.  This _indirectly_ feeds the beasties. This reduces the time needed to ferment.  Diastatic = has enzymes.

_Non-diastatic_ malt extract is just malt sugar (mostly maltose), a sweetener. There is no enzyme action (breaking down starch) at all.  Though, I forget which part of sourdough culture gets boosted more by maltose, the yeast or the lactic bacteria.  This does 4  things: 1) direct food for the beasties, 2) sweetener, 3) browns up the crust, 4) gives a "malted" flavor to the bread. Non-diastatic = no enzymes (or rather, the enzymes have been destroyed by heat in the processing).

My cheapy way to add diastatic malt is to buy a single pound of (uncrushed) malted wheat (as opposed to malted barley, but that would work too), under $2/lb, and grind it in a small coffee/spice grinder, 1/3 cup at a time, and refrigerate unused portion.  1 tbsp per one pound loaf has the effect I want, sweeter bread, and shorter fermentation time.

As I understand it, it's the _enzyme action_ of breaking down starch into sugar, that brings out some of the nuanced flavors of the grain/flour.  Therefore, a quick(er) ferment time due to adding malt-sugar means less of those "artisanal" flavors develop, versus letting enzymes "make" the sugar, with the flavor resulting from that process.

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

Although dry malt extract is composed mostly of maltose, it also contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals which act as a "yeast food". The term "yeast food" refers to ingredients which stimulate the yeast cells, resulting in a more vigorous fermentation.

idaveindy's picture

I stand corrected. Thank-you.

(Not that I didn't believe you, but...) wanting a cite, I found this:

which backs you up perfectly.

DanAyo's picture

I bought the whole grain roasted barley and mill in-home. It is purchased from near by Home Brew stores. The darker barley will color the loaves (crumb and crust) very distinctly. It also adds a very nice flavor. A little goes a long way. The seeded loaf below the used ~2% Chocolate Malt.

It is also very useful when testing different loaves. 3-5 grams will color the dough in a very noticeable way. I use that to distinguish one loaf from another.


Brewers use Diastatic Power (DP) to convey the activity of the malt. 

BreadLee's picture

Thanks for the information! That's helpful to know.  

Benito's picture

I’ve been thinking about purchasing some diastatic malt powder through Amazon and now I think I’ll order some the next time I place an order. 

idaveindy's picture

DanAyo:  Flavoring!   Great point!  

And again, something I learned the hard way, malted (and even non-malted) grains that have been _roasted_ are all non-diastatic, as the enzymes have been killed off by the heat of the roasting process.

I've purchased three kinds of roasted wheat at a beer-making supplier, to make my version of Postum:

- Weyermann Cara-Wheat, for a caramel flavor. 

- Weyermann Chocolate Wheat, for chocolate flavor. 

- Briess Midnight Wheat for a coffee flavor, and aroma.

These flavors develop during the roasting process, NOT due to added flavoring. Cool.

Two tsp of whole roasted grains (not crushed/ground) boiled in 1 quart of water for 10 minutes makes a great non-caffeinated dark beverage.

I checked with Briess, and you cannot merely STEEP the grains, because they are not hygienic.  They are sold with the intent that they will be BOILED, as in the beer wort.  So 10 minutes actual boil time, or more, should kill the pathogens.  And then the longer you boil, or steep after 10 minutes, the stronger it gets.

My favorite formula for my Postum-knockoff is 1 tsp Midnight wheat, 1/2 tsp Cara-wheat, and 1/2 tsp Chocolate Wheat, per 32 oz water. Boil 10 minutes.  Then I put a metal strainer in my mug, and pour from the pan to the mug, and dump any grains/chunks from the strainer back into the pan. Sweeten to taste.

Of course, you can use any roasted grain, barley or wheat.  Roasted barley water/"tea" is popular in Korea as "mugicha".

BreadLee's picture

As usual,  this one thread turned into a one stop bread malt clinic.  Lol. 

Thank you all again.  Bookmarked this for reference.  Fantastic info!