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Adjusting falling number by adding malted barley

venkitac's picture

Adjusting falling number by adding malted barley



I've been using giusto's baker's choice, and my loaves have been a bit pale. I suspected low amylase, asked Giusto's for  the spec, and the falling number is a minimum of 300+ (with no malted barley added, it's pure wheat flour). It turns out they have the identical spec flour, except with malted barley added to bring the falling number down to 250+, called Golden Haven flour. But none of the stores around here seem to carry Giusto's golden haven, so I think I've to add malted barley.

Now onto the question: I added about 0.75% barley, and it certainly made a HUGE difference (much better crust caramelization, and I think it even tasted better too, more flavorful - but I could be imagining that). So far, so good, but I don't know whether that's the correct amount to add to bring the falling number to where it should be. What do people recommend? I've read that too much malted barley can destroy your bread, too little barley means too little amylase...


Thanks for the help!

davidg618's picture

You had a success. You seem happy with the result. Does the "right" falling number have anything to do with your success?. I don't think so.

Don't worry, be happy!

David G

P.S. I use 1 tsp. of Diastatic Malt powder for each 360g (3 cups) of flour, per KA recommendation. I only use it in a very few recipes when I want to boost yeast activity.

venkitac's picture

Yeah, I know:) But I like to know what the Right Scientific Answer is for all these things:)

gcook17's picture

ABAP doesn't give any direction that I can find on how much malt to add to adjust the falling number but it does say that 250-350 is the preferred range.  Also if you adjust the falling number down too low (below 200), you will notice some of these symptoms:

  1. fast fermentation
  2. reddish crust
  3. sticky crumb

Maybe the best way to figure out the optimal amount is to make adjustments up & down from where you started while watching out for these symptoms and seeing if the bread still has the color and flavor you want.

pdiff's picture

I'm not surprised there are no directions as it would depend on the quality of the base flour (or wheat) which will vary according to region, variety, as well as, growing, harvest, and storage conditions.  It would also depend on the quality/make up of the barley malt.  I suspect that the mills are adjusting the base flour batch by batch and that process may be part of the "art" of milling or considered proprietary information.


gcook17 has the answer.  Do your own experimentation and base the adjustments on those measurements.

ananda's picture


You need specialist testing kit to determine Hagburg Falling No. accurately.

I fully empathise with you wanting to know the Right Scientific Answer.

Also, too much malt means too much amylase leading to all the above faults listed by gcook17.

However, I'm going with davidg618 on this: you got the result you wanted.   Clearly you've got a very good idea of the principles involved.

"Don't worry, be happy!"

For what it's worth, 0.75% seems ok to me.   Over 1% and you're heading for problems.   You'll soon know if you've overdosed on the malt.   The only way you can solve this issue is by entering a dialogue with the miller of the flour you purchased.

Best wishes


venkitac's picture

Thanks, all!

dabrownman's picture

my own flour more often I have been using .6 -.8% each of diastatic and non diastatic malt. So far so good.  No melt downs and beautiful crust and crumb.  Like you i couldn't find a way using math or science to get to what my whole berries had and where I wanted to be - so I made the best guess I could.

Happy  baking