The Fresh Loaf

A Community of 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....."

ibor's picture

Thank you

Sondelys's picture

Do they  have the same role ? If I use the diastatic powder malt can I still go for the autolyse ? Or it would be too much ? Thanks in advance !

dougzbaker's picture

If I remember well autolyse helps develope the proteins in the flour, as well it lower the time of whipping.

The malt enhaces the action of the yeast,  since it breaks down the sugar chain.

mthannigan's picture

@maurizio at The Perfect Loaf has a very informative section on using diastatic and non-diastatic malt, including the recommended weights for each. They behave very differently so it’s well worth a read.

Sondelys's picture

I forgot to mention that I was talking about 2 hours autolyse ( water and flour exclusively )

Fermentia's picture

It has taken me a while to figure out how much diastatic malt to add to a recipe. (I don't weigh -- gasp -- and conversions frustrate me!) According to King Arthur Flour, my source, you add 1/2 tsp. to no more than 1 tsp. diastatic malt to a bread recipe using 3 cups of flour.

I'm pretty new to all this. I used to bake bread regularly nearly 40 years ago using homemade yeast starter, flour (usually 1/4 to 1/3 of which is whole grain rye flour and the rest being whole grain wheat bread flour), water and salt. I do the same today -- again, after not baking bread for over 35 years -- and am loving it. Am looking forward to trying the malt addition!

Fermentia's picture

Sorry about that! I tend to glance over and pass up posts when my eyes detect words like "grams."

David R's picture
David R

They really do help (grams help, weighing helps) when you're baking a recipe you haven't done before, because they tell you the truth about exactly how much is going into the bowl. Nobody ever knows how much flour is in one cup, even if you have excellent measuring technique, because flour just can't sit predictably or settle predictably. Only weighing can really measure how much flour there is. And salt has an even worse problem - coarse salt takes up a lot more space than finer salt. A lot of ruined pickles probably come from not weighing the salt, and a lot of bad-tasting bread too.

On your familiar recipes, if you get the measurements somewhere close, you can then see and feel if something needs changing - but on a new-to-you recipe, you can't count on that.

A litre of water (very close to a quart) weighs 1000 grams (also called a kilogram). But you don't even need to care, because if you forget that, you can always just use a metric recipe by following the instructions. You're so used to the idea that with cups and pounds you need to work to memorize a list of facts and keep them all straight, and you wonder "How am I supposed to keep a NEW list of facts straight - the old one was hard enough!" But the point with metric is you don't really need a list of facts at all, other than what you can find out from trying it. No remembering how many ounces in a pound, how many ounces in a cup, how many cups in a quart, how many quarts in a bushel... the old system is crazy! In metric, everything is ×10 or ×100 or ×1000 (never ×2 or ×3 or ×16),  and it's obvious after you try it. There's NOTHING obvious about the old system - you only know it because you worked hard at learning it, and you mistakenly assume that metric must be just as hard as the old system was.

If you can brave the strange-sounding metric words for a day or two, you find out that metric is intentionally set up so that you don't need to learn much of anything - it just works.

steevebb's picture

I have been trying to convince my sister of this, how anybody can think that faffing around with teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, gills, quarts, gallons, ounces, pounds and heaven knows what else, not to mention various fractions of those is easier than simply using grams is beyond my comprehension. As you say, no two ‘cups’ of flour will contain anything like  the same amount. I recently saw a recipe calling for “a scant 15/16’s of a tablespoon”. The real reason Americans close their eyes and ears to metric is because it’s foreign, so just give it a different name, call them ‘freedom grams’ if you must.

katyajini's picture

Folks, specially Antilope and Fermentia, when you add diastatic malt, at 0.5-1%, is it mainly to bread dough that you mix and bake the same day with short fermentation times?  If you were to use diastatic malt in bread dough that you retard overnight in the fridge would that be too much? Would that deteriorate the dough? Isn't one of the effects of ON retardation in the cold to release more sugars?


also, if the dough has added sugars then there is no point in adding diastatic malt, right? Or is there?  


So would you add diastatic malt to a dough then when you dont want a particularly sweet taste (ie by adding sugars) but want good color and rise?





Stonebake's picture

Well I guess the simple thing to do is try it.

But I would agree with your inferred observation about time and retardation.


My trials showed more of an 'advantage' in the speed of the bulk ferment. Yeast has had a few billenia practice at chomping on starches and it's really rather good at it - If it is given time it will get there.

I want a slow bulk ferment to allow flavour to  develop. Feeding the yeast 'fast food' undermines this.

The very small amount of diastatic malt doesn't affect the flavour very much. However it does give a more brown flavoursome crust. I get the crust anyway by baking at fairly high temperatures. 250C for twenty minutes and then, steam vented, at 230 C until the breads internal temperature is between 93C - 99C.

I suspect diastatic malt was something that commercial bakers introduced for speed and easy crust colour (though now they seem to use dye on cheap bread). Amylase is another dough evil in my book. Again its about making making sugars available to the dough. 

Adding - A whinge about amylase.

I am trying to work through a sack of T55 French flour grown in Provence. It should have been a stonking good flour. But, the UK miller added amylase at the behest of his commercial customers... I didn't realise until my first bakes where the extensibility of the dough was ridiculous at high hydration (75% - which is high for a traditional baguette). Too late to send it back I am baking at 65% hydration until it's used up. The miller (and it is a very good mill) told me the commercial bakers wanted it because it fermented faster and worked better in their shaping machinery. He thinks they use lower hydrations too. 

 Harumph!  LOL