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I bought a small container at a farmer's market labeled (with a sticker) "Dry Malt" or "Dried Malt". It wasn't until I got home and researched a little that I discovered there are two types of malt with very different purposes. Is there a way to tell which I purchased?

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The main difference between diastatic and non-diastatic malt is that diastatic malt has active enzymes which help break down starch into sugar.

To test if your malt is diastatic:

  1. Take two bowls.
  2. Add a tbsp of flour and 2 tbsp of water for each bowl and lightly mix it.
  3. Then put a small amount of yeast in each bowl. Make sure they both get the same amount.
  4. Then put a small amount of malt powder in one of the bowls.

If the malt is diastatic, the bowl with the malt will start bubbling much earlier than the bowl without the malt. The malt will break down the starch into simple sugars which the yeast consumes. As the yeast consumes the sugar, it release carbon dioxide which are the bubbles you see.

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i havent seen a good home test for active enzymes

comparing yeast activity with and without malt powder does not distinguish between diastatic and non-diastatic products, as non-diastatic malt powder contains maltodextrin, a sugar which will feed yeast and cause it to become active rapidly

making sure you have diastatic rather than non-diastatic malt requires brand and/or seller reliance, or understanding how diastatic malt is produced and processing all available information about the product

in general, you need sprouted grain (usually barley) that is dried and milled at low temperatures, as high temps destroy enzymes

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