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Subs: malt syrup and diastatic malt powder for bagels

capir's picture

Subs: malt syrup and diastatic malt powder for bagels

Hi there,

I am a newcomer to baking, and I live in Egypt. Since they are extremely difficult to find here and always terrible, I wanted to try making bagels.

I like ChefSteps and want to use their recipe. It requires both malt syrup and diastatic malt powder.

The internet suggests malt syrup can be substituted with molasses (very common and high-quality here, no problem), but I can't find anything about diastatic malt powder.

Another thread suggested sprouting your own grains and that is also not going to be possible where I am!

Any suggestions? Or if anyone happens to live in Egypt and know where to look, please help!

Thanks so much!!

wally's picture

The diastatic malt powder provides a little extra food for the yeast as bagels are fermented overnight before they are boiled/baked. You can get it on Amazon. Either malt syrup, molasses, or honey is added to the boiling water before bagels are boiled. It helps give them color. Finally, if you are going to make bagels you need to use hi-gluten flour to get the authentic chew of a real bagel. If you can’t purchase that in Egypt, you can buy Vital Gluten on Amazon and add that to your AP flour to create hi-gluten flour.

Good luck!


capir's picture

Thanks, that's great to know how it works! Unfortunately, the malt powder is still the issue as none of the ones on Amazon will deliver to Egypt :( we'll see what I can figure out.

gary.turner's picture

The malt's main purpose is to supply α and β amylases. These enzymes serve to first cut the starch strings into shorter compound sugar strings, and then to simple sugars. Maltose is  a binary of two glucose molecules. When split, they provide simple glucose, yeast's favorite food.

Beer was brewed in Egypt at least 2,000 years ago from millet. You likely have sorghum available, too.

Don't sweat the milling or grinding. Unless you're doing a sizable commercial operation, you simply won't need all that much malt. Put the sprouted and heat-killed grain in a bag or under heavy plastic and beat it with a stone or pestle. You need to crack the hull, and crush/powder the starch. Put it through a sieve to remove the hulls, then use mortar and pestle to finish off the endosperm.

See Guide to Floor Malting of Sorghum and Millets.


sunkool's picture

To skip the malt, use dark brown sugar and double what the recipe calls for.

Angelica Nelson's picture
Angelica Nelson

I have a similar question but I'll share what I know here first.  Malt syrup is the finished sugar after malting.  Adding sprouted/gently dried/crushed grain of the same type as the main flour you're using (wheat I guess, but in brewing it would be barley), allows you to provide amylase.  This is important because the yeast can't eat starch, only broken down sugars and the amylase helps break down more starch from the flour.  So malt syrup is added for the same reason sugar is, to directly feed the yeast.  And malted or sprouted grain flour is added to help  break down more starch into simpler sugars to feed the yeast.  It's added to cause a higher rise. 


I don't know the situation in Egypt, but you should be able to find whole wheat berries or whole barley grains to malt them yourself.  A loaf only needs barely a handful, sprouted, baked at below 150 degrees F, until dry, and crushed. Or you can use them immediately by putting the sprouted grain in the blender with some of the water for the loaf. You don't have to dry them, the point is to activate the enzymes. 


Another option is if you can find a nutrition store that has an enzyme supplement.  It should have a large amount of amylase.  Risky, but if you find one that works, very convenient.