Classes of Malt Ingredients

Classes of Malt Ingredients

A distinguishing characteristic of all malts, whether standard or specialty, is the presence or absence of enzymes. Malt ingredients that contain enzymes are classified as diastatic. Nondiastatic malt ingredients are processed at higher temperatures, which inactives the enzymes. According to the American Institute of Baking, a diastatic enzyme is capable of causing the hydrolysis of starch, converting the starch to dextrose and fermentable sugar. The amount of enzymes available in Briess diastatic malt flours is identified by degrees Lintner. Lintner is a measure of diastatic activity that expresses the ability of cereal malt to produce sugar from a special soluble starch under specific test conditions. Higher lintner means higher diastatic activity. For example, Briess Maltorose Dough Improver has a standardized diastatic power of 20 degree Lintner, which is about one-tenth the amount of enzymes in Briess standard Malted Barley Flour.

Classes of malt ingredients are:

Standard Malt-Diastatic

Standard Malted Barley Flour is the functional malt ingredient milled from standard diastatic malt. In baking, high enzyme levels make diastatic malted barley flour an effective dough conditioner as a minor ingredient, often less than 1 percent, that adds no flavor or color to the crumb. The benefits of diastatic malted barley flour include increased fermenation, decreased proofing time, improved machinability and extensibility, enhanced crumb and browning of crust, and little or no flavor contributions.

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Other Malted Cereals

Cereal grains other than barley can be successfully malted. The most common include wheat and rye, both of which can be produced as diastatic or nondiastatic malts. When produced as diastatic malts, these cereal grains have enzymatic benefits similar to malted barley, but offer unique formulation, color, and flavor characteristics. For example, malted wheat flour is characterized by a "creamy" flavor, whereas malted rye has applications in rye-flavored breads and crackers. Benefits of diastatic malted wheat and rye flours include enhanced flavor and enhanced color.

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Specialty Malts-Diastatic

Diastatic specialty malts are dried further during kilning to develop intense bakery-type flavors, such as malty, biscuity, or nutty, while preserving some enzymatic activity. Because they have reduced enzyme levels, Diastatic Specialty Malt flours are used at higher levels (up to 3 percent) to contribute more crumb flavor and color to breads, pizza crusts, and other yeast-fermented dough systems. Benefits of Diastatic Specialty Malt flours include enhanced flavor and enhanced color.

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Specialty Malts-Nondiastatic

In addition to kilning at higher temperatures, an even wider variety of specialty malts are created through roasting. Nondiastatic Specialty Malts are characterized by pronounced flavors and colors.

Light roasting creates reddish hues and caramel/toffee flavors. Nondiastatic caramel malted barley flours provide distinctive flavors and warm colors without the addition of enzymes, so there is no breakdown of the dough system. Benefits of nondiastatic caramel malted barley flours include sweet caramel, toffee, and malty flavors ranging from subtle to intense; rich, warm colors; enhanced texture and eye appeal; nondiastatic (no enzymatic impact on dough systems); whole grain ingredients; and rich in dietary fiber.

Dark roasting creates dark brown to black colors and flavors typical of other roasted foods, such as coffee and cocoa. Two distinctive styles of dark-roasted nondiastatic Malt Flours include Chocolate Malted Barley Flour and Black Malted Barley Flour. Chocolate Malted Barley Flour has distinctive cocoa flavors and is dark brown. It can be used to provide cocoa flavor and color by substituting up to 25 percent of the cocoa in a formulation, or it can be used in small amounts for color and eye appeal. Black Malted Barley Flour has a neutral, dry, slightly acidic flavor and is often used in very small amounts (1-5 percent) to naturally color dark breads, crackers, and other dark colored baked goods while contributing little flavor.

When compared with cocoa, the color of dark roasted malts is more intense and much more soluble, with almost 70% of the flour solubilized. Dark roasted malt flours provide a source of fine, dispersed dark flour containing large amounts of soluble color. They work well in dark bread, cookie, and cake mixes, as well as baked and extruded pet food applciations. The benefits of nondiastatic roasted malted barley flours include chocolate or intense roasted coffee flavors at higher levels; no flavor contribution when used in small amounts for color; rich, dark colors; enhanced texture and eye appeal; nondiastatic (no enzymatic impact on dough systems); whole grain ingredients; and rich in dietary fiber.

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Malted Barley Extracts

Malt can be further processed to produce liquid or dried sweeteners called Malt Extracts. Malt Extracts can be made from any type of malted grain. However, similar to the term "malt, the term "malt extract" unqualified refers to an extract of matled barley. According to CFR, an extract of 100% malted barley can also be referred to s malt syrup. Extracts of other malted grains would be properly labeled as "extract of matled wheat" or "malted wheat extract".

If the extraction conditions are adjusted, some of the natural alpha-amylase present in the malt survivves the extraction process. Thus, it is possible to make a diastatic malt extract. Like malted barley blends, it is standardized to a certain enzyme activity, typicall 20 or 60 degrees Lintner. Unlike Malted Barley Flour, which contains a wide range of enzymes, only the more thermostable enzymes survive this extraction process. Fortunately for bakers, it is the more stable enzymes, especially alpha-amylase, they normally require for functionality in baking systems. Diastatic malt extracts act both as a sweetener and enzyme source for baking. Because they are enzyme active, their usage rate is usually less than 5 percent.

Beer comes in a variety of flavors and colors, from dark stouts and porters to rich copper Oktoberfests. Malt Extracts (the "unfermented sugars of beer") produced using specialty malts have a correspondingly wide variety of flavors, flavor intensities, and colors. Because of the many types that can be made, Specialty Malt Extracts can have many different functions in bakery products, but they generally serve one or more of the following purposes: fermentable material or yeast food, browning and flavoring agents, colorant, sweetener, and enzyme source. Selecting the right malt extract requires an understanding of the desired functionality and choosing the most appropriate product.

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Coextracts of Malt and Other Cereal Grains

Other unmalted grains or starch sources can be converted into extracts, using malted barley as a natural enzyme source in the extraction process. this is done most often for economy and, in some cases, to make a lighter flavored syrup. Most commonly, corn or raw (unmalted) barley is used as an adjunct (cheaper source of starch) to make these extracts, which are properly labeled as "extract of malted barley and corn" or "extract of malted barley and barley". The latter is sometimes correctly, but confusingly, referred to as "barley and malt extract".

For many years, coextracts of malt and corn and blends of malt extract and corn syrup were mistakenly labeled as "amtl syrup" or "liquid malt". This mislabeling and adulteration led to the establishment of methods (such as stable carbon isotope ratio analysis) to detect corn products mised with malt and to the issuance of an FDA policy statement on malt extract labeling. Since then, these coextracted sweeteners have generally fallen out of use, because much great savings can be realized by simply blending malt extract with corn syrup in applications where economy or a less intense malt flavor is desired.

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There are many classes of malt