The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Do I need to toast/soak malts?

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Do I need to toast/soak malts?

I am experimenting with whole dried malt in my sourdoughs.

Previously, I've made Borodinsky, which required me to toast then grind red rye malt and a Paul Barker recipe that required baking crushed malt grain with water into a 'porridge'.

I like simplicity and don't want to do more steps than I 'have' to. And I don't get why these recipes require extra work on the malted grains, which, as I understand, have already been toasted.

Can I just put the whole (or crushed) malted grain into my bread as it is, without additional toasting or baking? Will a long ferment soften it enough? Should I perhaps soak it first to soften it? If so, does protocol say to use the soak water as part of the bread's liquid (as it potentially has some of the sugars)?

As you can tell, I am not a malt in bread expert. I am willing to experiment, but thought there might be a malt-whizz here who could doff out some advice!

Thank you!

kapawlak's picture
kapawlak

Malted Grains contain enzymes that can break your flour starches down into simple sugars. Without having specific experience or info on the recipes you are following (e.g. if the malted grain is just for flavor), my guess is that these recipes are calling for the grain to be heated to ensure the enzymes are denatured. Added enzymes in bread can greatly accelerate fermentation rates and/or change the texture+flavor due to starch conversions.

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

That's helped me think about the process a little more.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

In the malting process, in order to retain the enzyme diastase, sprouting and drying, is done at specific low temps to not over heat the malt. Active malt is light in color.  If it is brown or dark or labled non-diastatic then it has been heated or toasted an no longer active.  Active malt is normally seen in small amounts like a teaspoon or two per 500g flour. Too much active malt can result in a heavy gummy crumb.    Recipes with toasted malt or boiled malt, will list malt in larger amounts. 

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

I have three malts here at home: pale, red rye and chocolate. From your description, I'm guessing the two darks ones (red rye and chocolate) have been heated high enough to destroy the active enzymes. 

Therefore, if I use one of these dark ones in quantity in my bread (which I want to), there's no reason to bake it before-hand to 'deactivate' it.

If correct, I wonder why the Borondinsky I often make (from The Rye Baker) has you toast red rye malt. Surely it's 'toasty' and deactivated already?

 

 

 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

rye malt. I am only guessing but it might be to freshen up the flavour and darken it further as a colouring.  Similar to what is done to spices, bringing the natural oils to the surface, etc.    ...You could have RR malt that hasn't been deactivated.  And perhaps you can tell from the aroma if the malt has gone rancid.  Better to catch it early in the process.

It's all those tiny steps that can make a big difference in a flavourful outcome.  And toasting the malt is wonderful for filling the kitchen with aromas.  Skipping it may shorten your ethereal experience.  Taste the malt.  If you think it is toasted enough then use as is.

My experience with a new recipe is to make the recipe as written (roughly check the %'s) and then after tasting the loaf over many days, make your short cuts to compare.  A predominantly rye bread tends to change slightly every day, even the colour of the crumb changes, gets darker.  I would also look up the recipe and read the comments.  Maybe someone has already tried one of the changes and posted it.  :)

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Is important! I'm not scrimping on that :-)

Thanks for coming back Mini.

I'm developing my own recipe, based on a bread with a pale malt included. But instead of pale, I'm using a chocolate malt. The original recipe calls for baking the pale malt (prob to deactivate and up the flavour). I think there is no reason for me to bake my chocolate malt like this - it's already deactivated and has a super-strong flavour.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

If you have the real red rye malt, no need to toast it. However you are supposed to scald it with boiling water before using in bread.