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Several bread recipes that I have been looking at recently call for rye malt.

I know that malt is sweet but what other effect will malt have on a bread recipe?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Malt syrups and powders come in two forms, Diastatic and Non-Diastatic. The Non-Diastatic kind is just sugar, and is only useful for adding a little sweetness and flavor.

Diastatic Malt Syrups and Powders are made by taking grain (usually barley, but others can be used, like rye), allowing it to sprout, then toasting it lightly to halt the sprouting process. The little roots and stuff are rubbed off, and the grain is ground into a powder, or soaked into a syrup. This is very similar to the process used to convert grains for beer-making.

The syrup is rich in enzymes that are created by the sprouting grain, for the purpose of converting the seed's starch reserves into sugar for the young plant. Non-Diastatic versions have these enzymes deactivated by heat, leaving the syrup "inert".

The enzymes and sugars do three important things

  1. Provide nutrients for yeast.
  2. Facilitate the conversion of starch into sugar, making bread more flavorful.
  3. The little shot of extra sugar also gives yeast an initial boost.

Here is an article on malt syrups and powders and how to make them yourself: http://artisanbreadbaking.com/flour/malts/

And King Arthur Flour sells a version of the powder, along with some recipe examples: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/diastatic-malt-powder-16-oz

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To much, will leave the loaf gummy. Flour mills calculate and correct their flour to produce the best results. Unless you are engineering for a flour mill, it's best left alone. –  Optionparty Jun 10 '13 at 10:42
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I managed to obtain diastatic barley malt and used it to make pizza dough using peter reinharts overnight baguette dough recipe. a revelation! the dough is incredibly light, extensible, and rises almost uncontrollably. the pizza crust had great structure, not getting flabby under the weight of ingredients, and was holey and delicious. It definitely made a huge difference. I formed the dough by hand, and usually i roll it, and this was an added plus.

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A few people have flagged this as "not an answer". I think it does address the question, but unfortunately it's not very reliable because there were clearly other differences between your most recent and previous attempts. An actual A/B comparison (with malt vs. without malt) and a more objective-sounding assessment ("great structure" and "delicious" don't tell us much) would have made this a lot more helpful. –  Aaronut Sep 22 '13 at 13:04
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