The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding Diastatic Malt Powder to Unenriched Flour

umbreadman's picture

Adding Diastatic Malt Powder to Unenriched Flour

Hey all,

It feels like ages since i've posted anything, but school and life have been busy. I've been able to bake a bit, especially with a week vacation. Life is interesting.

I found out, while I was checking out different flours/mills suggested by people here on TFL (i was trying to compare prices), that my current flour (Heartland Mill Golden Buffalo) doesn't have any enzymes added at the mill and bakers (meaning, me) would have to add barley or fungal business themselves. And since I couldn't find malt powder at any grocery/healthfoods/supermarket stores in town, I made my own.

Ultimately, my question(s) is/are:

If you have to add malt powder like the mill do you know how much? Is there a formula? A general rule of thumb? Something? Any suggestions or answers, if they could be in mass/weight amounts or baker's percentages, would be appreciated.

Also, do most mills leave their non-white flours unenriched like this? It seems kinda weird, but I suppose if they're selling these quantities to pro-bakers who know what they want it makes sense...

Anyways, I'll be experimenting with my homemade malt powder since i made a fair amount. PLease help if you have any ideas! As simple as possible too, i feel like calculating my own falling numbers would be too much hassle....

Thank you friends,


nbicomputers's picture

you can get malt from KA on line store in powder and syrup.

most of the time the reciepe will tell how much malt to add

but as for just adding malt to flour ii would say 1/4 teaspoon per cup might be a good starting point

but i will say that is a best guess

going by wight that would be 1 oz per 6 pounds of flour

i have a bread recipe that calls for 2 oz of malt syrup for 8 pounds of flour. 

bwraith's picture

Hi Cyrus,

I have used Heartland Mill flour frequently, especially Golden Buffalo and their whole wheat. Lately I've been milling my own flour from Heartland Mill berries. My experience has been that the flour doesn't really need any added malt powder. However, I generally premix the dough ingredients for an overnight soak.

If I remember right the suggestion on the KA malt powder label is 1/2-1 tsp per 3 cups of flour.

In my case, when I've both added malt powder and soaked the flour, I get the slight gumminess that probably indicates a little too much enzyme activity. I have not done recipes with Heartland Mills GB or WW flour in a while without soaking the flour overnight, so I don't know if it would help to add malt powder to a flour that won't be soaked.

I've had the same experience, adding malt powder caused a slight gumminess, with my home milled and sifted flour made from what should be about the same berries used to make the Golden Buffalo and WW flour from Heartland Mill.


umbreadman's picture

Thanks Bill,

I noticed the same gumminess when I cut into my malted loaf last night. So maybe, if I add any, I'll add a very small amount, and not if i'm going to retard the dough (which i did) since that would probably do too much as well. the oven spring on that batch was a little...forced and underachieving, like a kid saying "okay, fine....i'll clean my room i guess" and leaving piles of stuff in the closet.

I just had a thought about the enzymes though. I know barley malt has been toted as being very enzymatically active, and I wonder if taking a PR mash approach (heating the powder with/without water to a certain temp (i forget at the moment)) would help deactivate one of the amylases (again, i forget which, but i know it's the one that digests starch more) while retaining the other?

Hmm...even if it goes wrong, who knows, toasted barley malt powder might taste good? 


bwraith's picture


That's an interesting idea. I would probably use water, just to be able to control the termperature, and possibly include a small percentage of the flour. I think the temperature you want is around 155F. However, I forget the details about the exact range that favors the desired enzymes while de-activating others and all that. I know what you mean, though.

When I made the mash bread w/Wheat Montana HRS and HWS berries recently, the temperature was around 155, except I miscalculated how cool the mash would become when I added the flour. So, it spent a fair amount of time getting from about 140 up to 155F - maybe 1/2 hour. The mash bread ended up working fine, but when I first mixed the dough, it paniced me a little. The stickiness and gumminess of the dough became much more manageable with just a little more dry flour added. I wonder if having the temperature hang out at 140-155 at first caused some problems.

Good luck using your malt powder. I'm curious to try making my own too at some point, although so far adding it to my particular recipes hasn't helped the bread and maybe hurt it a little as far as I can tell.


ehanner's picture

Bill, Cyrus,
Do either of you happen to know of a comparison or evaluation of the major brands of flour and the need for additional malt? I don't grind my own at this point and generally use Harvest King for AP. I'm considering a switch to All Trumps.

I have seen various authors talk about adding malt and even Prof. Calvel advocates adding malt to enrich the mix. I just don't have a good feel for how much I should use or if I need it at all. Aren't most of the commercially distributed flours enriched with malt to the point where it's unnecessary to add more? How would a person know if adding malt would be useful or needed? Are there tell tale signs of a malt deficient dough?

I don't mean to hijack this conversation since you are discussing a specific issue and rolling your own. I just seems like you both have studied this subject and maybe you have a handle on it well enough to comment. Thanks.


bwraith's picture


Most commercially distributed flours do have malt in them, unless they are organic. Organic flours often don't, although KA organic AP says it does have malt added right on the label. Unfortunately, that's about all I know.

I've tried adding malt to my organic flours here and there, and I've generally discovered it didn't make much difference or was actually detrimental. I think that's probably because I usually soak my flours overnight, especially if they are high ash content like Golden Buffalo, which may allow enough enzyme activity along with the fact it is not a very white flour and so may have more enzymatically active contents in it. It might be that a white organic flour that is not malted would need some. Knowing how much is hard to figure out, though. Trial and error with each new flour and recipe is what I'd be up to in the absence of more information. I've sent some flours in for testing as part of my home milling and sifting project. You can see that the organic unmalted flours have higher falling numbers, sometimes at the high end or well above what Hamelman says is a reasonable range in his book, Bread.


proth5's picture


Finally got to looking at your test results and if you go strictly by Falling number, your cream and white flours really could use some malt (I'd suggest that you should malt a sample and send it in for tests, but hey, I wouldn't want to push you to do anything...)  The golden flour looks like whole wheat, but the cream flours are really high. 

Apropos of this whole discussion - I am forced to wonder (as do you) if the higher ash content  doesn't offset the higher falling number in some way and still allow the production of that beautiful bread?

I have gotten into this "malt issue" over and over with my favorite baking teacher and I have been told that since we home millers are dealing with whole wheat, that malting is probably not required because of the balance within the whole grain.  But then (and I once again, can actually hear this in my mind's ear) I am told to go home and test it myself.

So, even though I have not malted any of my home grind for some time and I do not notice any issues, the next chance I get to bake I will add .1% of diastatic malt and do my controlled test loaf to see if there is any difference. I'll post and let you know.



bwraith's picture


So far, I haven't tried to use just the cream flours. It's hard to picture doing all that work and then making a bread I'm not sure I'd be that excited about. However, I could picture making a plain whitish sourdough with the cream flours (malted lightly), and then reserve all the golden flour as a first clear flour-like addition to a batch of bagels. It would be interesting to see what happens if I omit a fraction of "golden flour" in my blend for a sourdough.

I'll switch to a blog entry from here on, since the rest has nothing to do with malting.


susanfnp's picture

I have heard that 0.1% - 0.2% is a useful starting point to use to determine the amount of malt to add. This works out to about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp.per 3 cups of flour (assuming 2 g per tsp. as KAF package says).

I hope it's OK to offer this clarification of terminology: enrichment refers to the addition of vitamins and minerals (e.g. B vitamins, iron) that were destroyed during the milling process back into the flour. Malting is the addition of malt. So a flour could be unenriched and still contain malt, or enriched and contain none.


steelchef's picture

So, this is an intersting forum.   According to KAF,  "Diastatic malt powder is the all-natural "secret ingredient" savvy bread bakers use to promote a strong rise, great texture, lovely brown crust, and extended shelf life."

It seem's however that one needs a degree in chemical engineering plus Master bakers status to use it.  Everyone has a different opinion and experience.

Does anyone have the recipe that accompanies the KAF, DMP product?

(I bought mine elsewhere for 1/3 the price.) Hope that wasn't a mistake.

Thanks, Colin


LindyD's picture

It seem's however that one needs a degree in chemical engineering plus Master bakers status to use it. 

Flour is malted at the mill, unless you are using organic unmalted flour.  So if you're using a brand flour, keep in mind it already contains malt.

Diastatic malt powder can be helpful with breads that are retarded overnight, but use too much and it can also turn your crumb quite gummy.

J. Hamelman discusses malt at page 364 of Bread and suggests using .1 to .2 percent of the flour weight for a start.

His bagel recipe, which I make a few times a month, calls for adding .6 ounces of DMP to 32 ounces of flour (.5%).  His bagel formula is retarded overnight, so the malt is helpful.

His enriched toast bread formula adds .03 ounces of DMP to 32 ounces of flour (.1%).  That bread is not retarded. 

Ciril Hitz at page 61 of Baking Artisan Bread notes DMP can improve dough performance, but that it is not really necessary.  His baguette formula adds 4 grams of malt to 400 grams of flour - to which a poolish containing another 200 grams of flour is added.

I have a good spoon scale and use it for tiny amounts of yeast and DMP simply for accuracy. 

If you have to use volume measurements, to give you an idea of how little DMP should be added, the Hamelman toast bread uses 3/8 teaspoon of malt for two pounds of flour.  

Now, I did some experimentation using DMP in my sourdough (KAF AP flour with rye or WW added).  I never noticed any discernable difference.   Maybe there would be a difference in a yeasted bread, but I haven't tried that yet.

Go ahead and experiment, just keep the amounts small and keep written records so you can do compare the results you get.  

I think in another thread you mentioned you bought five pounds of DMP.  You need to keep all of it in the freezer because it is going to last a very long time.  

Happy experimenting!