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I have recently started making bread in a breadmaker. I generally prefer the taste of white bread but for health reasons try to make loaves with as much fibre as possible. I have tried multiple flours, and the ones labelled "Malthouse" seem to have particularly high fibre but produce bread that to my palate tastes better that anything I can make with other flours other than white. It is also worth noting that it seems these flours are quite expensive, I have not found one for under £2/Kg.

Here are the flours I have tried:

Flour Fibre content % Price £/Kg
White 1.7 0.87
Brown 6.4 1
Wholemeal 1 9.1 1
Wholemeal 2 11 2.9
Malthouse 1 7.4 2.4
Malthouse 2 9 2

To me the malthouse fours make bread that is far more palatable than either brown or wholemeal, but the fibre content in both is higher than the brown, and one is as high as the lower fibre wholemeal.

The ingredients of the two malthouse flours are fairly similar, with malthouse 1 having percentages:

Ingredients: wheat , malted wheat flakes 15%, rye 3%, barley malt flour 3%, antioxidant (ascorbic acid).

It strikes me that there is a significant amount of malted wheat flakes, and these can be bought separately for the same price as the flour. I already have rye flour, I have used that to boost the fibre content of loaves.

What is it about these malthouse flours that seems so "special"? Am I likely to be able to recreate it with cheaper ingredients such as White, wholemeal, rye and/or malted flakes (and perhaps malted barley if that 3% is likely to be critical)?

3 Answers 3

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I reckon there are two factors:

  • the flakes, which concentrate fibre, so the actual flour and therefore the bread has a bit less.
  • the flavour from the malt. This is generally reckoned to give a tasty loaf. The rye may contribute to the flavour as well, but at 3% it would be very subtle from rye, unlike from malted barley.

To try and replicate it, I'd start with white and wholemeal wheat flours, white rye flour (unless you think you can spot specks of dark rye), barley malt flour, and malted wheat flakes. You know the proportions of some ingredients, then it's just a matter of mixing the flours. I'd go for 50:50 white:wholemeal to start with, but guided by trying to match the colour.

From supermarket loaves, 50% wholemeal can be closer in taste/feel to white than to brown. I make about a 60% wholemeal sourdough because the rise seems more reliable with a variable temperature and a fixed schedule than if I use more wholemeal, so there may be a texture effect around this point as well as the effect on the rise.

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  • Thank you for this answer. Can I ask about barley malt flour? Googling I get loads of non-malted barley flour and malted wheat flour, being more specific I get Malted Barley Powder which I THINK is a fertiliser and Roasted Barley Malt which looks lovely but different. I guess you mean none of those?
    – User65535
    Nov 17, 2023 at 8:06
  • I also found Diastatic Malt Flour but that seems even more specialist
    – User65535
    Nov 17, 2023 at 8:18
  • @User65535 the barley powder is definitely a fertilizer, while the roasted malt is definitely for bread. Malt means that the grain has been allowed to germinate and then re-dried. The germination converts starches in the endosperm into simpler sugars. Be aware that "malt flour" and "malted flour" may mean two different things (possibly location and supplier dependent) - the first made from grains that have been through the malt process, while the second means flour treated with malt (the residual enzymes etc produced naturally during the malting of other grain) to produce a similar result.
    – bob1
    Nov 17, 2023 at 8:22
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    I'm going to convert my comment above into an answer, seeing as a lot of it actually answers the question, but it'll take me some time.
    – bob1
    Nov 17, 2023 at 8:28
  • From bakerpedia.com/processes/malt and the fact that the malt flour in the ingredients list isn't described as roasted, I reckon you want diastatic malt flour. That's readily available - as you found, Shipton Mill (who are local to me) make it. But on the other hand they suggest a lower proportion because the active enzymes will make the dough sticky - but at that low proportion they'll improve the texture of your loaf. I'd get both roasted and diastatic, because you need to experiment.
    – Chris H
    Nov 17, 2023 at 11:15
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Malting is a process used in brewing and sometimes in manufacture of flours etc, where the grain is germinated by soaking and then dried again. This process converts the starches that the seed contains as energy storage in the grain into simple sugars like glucose and maltose. The germination uses a bunch of enzymes that are also naturally in the grain to convert the starch -> sugar and is part of the natural germination, where the plant uses the starch for energy storage, but needs the sugars to grow rapidly until it can produce it's own leaves and start photosynthesis.

Yeasts don't grow particularly well on starches and starches are relatively hard to hydrate as they form starch granules which require quite a lot of water and time to hydrate fully. Instead, yeasts prefer to use simple sugars, such as the glucose and maltose produced in the malting process.

Be aware that "malt flour" and "malted flour" may mean two different things (possibly location and supplier dependent) - the first is made from grains that have been through the malt process, while the second means flour treated with malt (the residual enzymes etc produced naturally during the malting of other grain) to produce a similar result.

as to whether you can replicate the effect of the malting in your baking - I suspect you could get the flavour and possibly the effect by adding some malt extract (available from brewer supply shops where I am). This should contain a lot of the enzymes and sugars in the extract, though it will depend on exactly how the extract is made as to how active the enzymes are. How much to add would depend on how sweet you like your bread and the ingredients already in there. For a 2 lb/1 kg loaf I would start with about 1/3 of a cup (hazarding a guess at about 60 g) of malt extract.

I see a comment from @ChrisH about diastatic malt vs non-diastatic. The difference is that the diastatic still has the active enzymes present, which means that there will be some conversion of the starches in any flour into sugars, which might make your rise better. The non-diastatic would only add taste as the enzymes have been destroyed by heating. Malt extracts come in diastatic and non-diastatic forms too.

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Not a full answer, but the ascorbic acid listed as an "antioxidant" is vitamin C, which is used to help bread rise by strengthening the gluten. You may not need it in your own custom mix, but you may actually need to add a bit (.03% by weight is typical) to get the right rise.

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