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Immagine del Malto Diastasico su Biancolievito

Diastatic Malt: What It Is And How To Use It

Diastatic Malt is often found in recipes for leavened products such as bread, panettone, etc. You can also see it as an extract or even as malt syrup, which can create some confusion.

I receive many messages with the same frequency asking if this ingredient is essential for the recipe’s success if it can be substituted, or where it can be found. What better opportunity than to answer your questions?

table of contents

WHAT IS DIASTATIC MALT

When we talk about Diastatic Malt (extract or syrup), we are referring to an ingredient derived from the germination of cereal; the most common of these is undoubtedly barley, but there is also wheat malt.

If you’re curious about how Malt used in recipes is made, here are the three main steps:

MALTING: In this first phase, the germ growth inside the grain is induced. For this reason, barley (or wheat) grains are hydrated in warm water and then allowed to germinate in a warm environment. During this process, the grain undergoes a series of reactions that transform its starch into maltose sugar, which will be used to grow the sprout. This reaction is produced by particular enzymes called Amylase.

DRYING: Once the barley grains have sprouted, they are heated to stop germination. The result is Malted Barley (or wheat).

MILLING: After the grains have been dried, they are milled to obtain malt flour.

For the production of Malt Extracts, which are most commonly used in baking and pastry, Malt Flour undergoes additional steps (Saccharification and Concentration) that significantly increase its maltose sugar content.

Regardless of the format (flour or extract), Malt is an ingredient that has 2 essential characteristics:

Presence of enzymes capable of breaking down starches into simpler sugars (these enzymes are called Amylase).

Availability of simple sugars (maltose) that are immediately available to the dough’s yeasts.

For informational purposes, you will often find a number identifying the Malt; this number (called Pollak units) identifies the starch’s ability to transform starch into sugar. The higher this number, the richer the Malt will be in enzymes that allow this transformation. In general, this value ranges from 6,000 to 24,000 units.

WHAT DOES DIASTATIC MEAN?

This different denomination of Malt refers to the content of enzymes that allow the breakdown of starch into sugars, as we just mentioned.

Hence, the main difference:

Diastatic Malt has a high concentration of these enzymes. Therefore, it can break down starches and produce simple sugars (maltose and maltodextrins). This type of Malt is mainly used for sourdough-based products and for long fermentation.

On the contrary, non-diastatic Malt has fewer enzymes and mainly provides simple sugars. During fermentation, this type of Malt cannot break down starches to produce additional sugars for the yeasts.

THE VARIOUS TYPES OF MALT

The main types of Malt that we can find in supermarkets and that are used at home are mainly 3:

MALT FLOUR: It is obtained from the milling of malted grains. This type of Malt has good enzymatic capacity (13,000 Pollak units) but contains little maltose sugar.

MALTED EXTRACT IN SYRUP: This is the classic dark syrup (similar to honey) often found in supermarkets. Unlike malt flour, syrup has a higher enzymatic capacity (16,000 Pollak units) and a high content of simple sugars (about 80%).

MALTED EXTRACT IN POWDER: This is the most practical format. It has medium enzymatic capacity (8,000 Pollak units) and a high content of simple sugars (about 90%).

WHAT IS DIASTATIC MALT USED FOR?

Using Diastatic Malt means adding immediately assimilable sugars and enzymes to the recipe. The enzymes can produce additional sugar as food for the yeast and break down the starches in the flour.

For this reason, the use of Malt in recipes is particularly recommended in these cases:

Sourdough-based doughs. In the first dough, adding malt extract (about 2% of the weight of the flour in the first dough) favors a more controlled and uniform fermentation over time. Furthermore, the fermented dough will retain a good quantity of sugars.

Long Biga bread doughs: At the end of its maturation (18-24 hours), the biga will have exhausted its sugar content. Adding Malt to the final dough will provide an additional source of sugars so that the biga can continue to ferment.

In these cases, the main advantages of using Diastatic Malt are mainly 3:

  • A more regular and active fermentation.
  • A greater alveoli of the product.
  • better coloration and fragrance of the product during baking (due to the higher sugar content, especially maltodextrins).

HOW TO USE DIASTATIC MALT?

The amount of Malt to use in the dough depends on its diastatic power: The higher this number, the less quantity will be necessary. For simplicity, I will refer to Malt Extracts of medium power (about 8,000 Pollak units), such as those commonly found in supermarkets. Always refer to the dosages indicated on the labels of individual products.

For good results, it is essential not to exceed its use. For this reason, I recommend using it at a rate of 2%—3% of the weight of the flour you are using in the dough.

Using Malt is very simple: You need to mix it with the flour or dissolve it in the dough’s liquids.

Also, I do not recommend using diastatic malt in a starter dough like sourdough, biga, or poolish, as it would produce fermentative solid activity in the initial dough, risking acidification.

HOW TO SUBSTITUTE MALT?

Thanks to its numerous benefits, malt is undoubtedly a great ally in preparing leavened dough. However, its use is only essential if you can get it.

In light of what we have said, substituting diastatic Malt in the recipe doesn’t make much sense because, even if we compensate for the sugars by adding honey, we will lose the entire content of enzymes essential for obtaining the advantages we discussed.

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9 comments about “Vi Presento il Malto Diastasico”

    1. Ciao Elena,
      nel caso di un pane senza lievitazione, l’unica funzione è quella di conferire un colore più dorato al prodotto, ma in un pane azimo ha poco senso aggiungere il malto!

      A presto!

Lascia un commento

Your email address will not be published. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *

Immagine del Malto Diastasico su Biancolievito

Diastatic Malt: What It Is And How To Use It

Diastatic Malt is often found in recipes for leavened products such as bread, panettone, etc. You can also see it as an extract or even as malt syrup, which can create some confusion.

I receive many messages with the same frequency asking if this ingredient is essential for the recipe’s success if it can be substituted, or where it can be found. What better opportunity than to answer your questions?

table of contents

WHAT IS DIASTATIC MALT

When we talk about Diastatic Malt (extract or syrup), we are referring to an ingredient derived from the germination of cereal; the most common of these is undoubtedly barley, but there is also wheat malt.

If you’re curious about how Malt used in recipes is made, here are the three main steps:

MALTING: In this first phase, the germ growth inside the grain is induced. For this reason, barley (or wheat) grains are hydrated in warm water and then allowed to germinate in a warm environment. During this process, the grain undergoes a series of reactions that transform its starch into maltose sugar, which will be used to grow the sprout. This reaction is produced by particular enzymes called Amylase.

DRYING: Once the barley grains have sprouted, they are heated to stop germination. The result is Malted Barley (or wheat).

MILLING: After the grains have been dried, they are milled to obtain malt flour.

For the production of Malt Extracts, which are most commonly used in baking and pastry, Malt Flour undergoes additional steps (Saccharification and Concentration) that significantly increase its maltose sugar content.

Regardless of the format (flour or extract), Malt is an ingredient that has 2 essential characteristics:

Presence of enzymes capable of breaking down starches into simpler sugars (these enzymes are called Amylase).

Availability of simple sugars (maltose) that are immediately available to the dough’s yeasts.

For informational purposes, you will often find a number identifying the Malt; this number (called Pollak units) identifies the starch’s ability to transform starch into sugar. The higher this number, the richer the Malt will be in enzymes that allow this transformation. In general, this value ranges from 6,000 to 24,000 units.

WHAT DOES DIASTATIC MEAN?

This different denomination of Malt refers to the content of enzymes that allow the breakdown of starch into sugars, as we just mentioned.

Hence, the main difference:

Diastatic Malt has a high concentration of these enzymes. Therefore, it can break down starches and produce simple sugars (maltose and maltodextrins). This type of Malt is mainly used for sourdough-based products and for long fermentation.

On the contrary, non-diastatic Malt has fewer enzymes and mainly provides simple sugars. During fermentation, this type of Malt cannot break down starches to produce additional sugars for the yeasts.

THE VARIOUS TYPES OF MALT

The main types of Malt that we can find in supermarkets and that are used at home are mainly 3:

MALT FLOUR: It is obtained from the milling of malted grains. This type of Malt has good enzymatic capacity (13,000 Pollak units) but contains little maltose sugar.

MALTED EXTRACT IN SYRUP: This is the classic dark syrup (similar to honey) often found in supermarkets. Unlike malt flour, syrup has a higher enzymatic capacity (16,000 Pollak units) and a high content of simple sugars (about 80%).

MALTED EXTRACT IN POWDER: This is the most practical format. It has medium enzymatic capacity (8,000 Pollak units) and a high content of simple sugars (about 90%).

WHAT IS DIASTATIC MALT USED FOR?

Using Diastatic Malt means adding immediately assimilable sugars and enzymes to the recipe. The enzymes can produce additional sugar as food for the yeast and break down the starches in the flour.

For this reason, the use of Malt in recipes is particularly recommended in these cases:

Sourdough-based doughs. In the first dough, adding malt extract (about 2% of the weight of the flour in the first dough) favors a more controlled and uniform fermentation over time. Furthermore, the fermented dough will retain a good quantity of sugars.

Long Biga bread doughs: At the end of its maturation (18-24 hours), the biga will have exhausted its sugar content. Adding Malt to the final dough will provide an additional source of sugars so that the biga can continue to ferment.

In these cases, the main advantages of using Diastatic Malt are mainly 3:

  • A more regular and active fermentation.
  • A greater alveoli of the product.
  • better coloration and fragrance of the product during baking (due to the higher sugar content, especially maltodextrins).

HOW TO USE DIASTATIC MALT?

The amount of Malt to use in the dough depends on its diastatic power: The higher this number, the less quantity will be necessary. For simplicity, I will refer to Malt Extracts of medium power (about 8,000 Pollak units), such as those commonly found in supermarkets. Always refer to the dosages indicated on the labels of individual products.

For good results, it is essential not to exceed its use. For this reason, I recommend using it at a rate of 2%—3% of the weight of the flour you are using in the dough.

Using Malt is very simple: You need to mix it with the flour or dissolve it in the dough’s liquids.

Also, I do not recommend using diastatic malt in a starter dough like sourdough, biga, or poolish, as it would produce fermentative solid activity in the initial dough, risking acidification.

HOW TO SUBSTITUTE MALT?

Thanks to its numerous benefits, malt is undoubtedly a great ally in preparing leavened dough. However, its use is only essential if you can get it.

In light of what we have said, substituting diastatic Malt in the recipe doesn’t make much sense because, even if we compensate for the sugars by adding honey, we will lose the entire content of enzymes essential for obtaining the advantages we discussed.

Share

9 comments about “Vi Presento il Malto Diastasico”

    1. Ciao Elena,
      nel caso di un pane senza lievitazione, l’unica funzione è quella di conferire un colore più dorato al prodotto, ma in un pane azimo ha poco senso aggiungere il malto!

      A presto!

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Your email address will not be published. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *

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