What is Malt?


What is Malt?

Malting is the process of sprouting and drying a grain seed. The product of this process is a malted seed. According to CFR (21 CFR 184.1443a) (2), "Malt is an enzyme preparation obtained from barley which has been softened by a series of steeping operations and germinated under controlled conditions." Thus, for descriptive and labeling purposes, the use of the term malt, unqualified, refers to malted barley. The term malt is synonymous with malted barley because the majority of the cereal grain malted in the world is barley, which is malted for use in beer. Barley is the ideal cereal grain for malting because it is self-contained, having a husk to protect the germ, high starch-to-protein ratio for high yields, a complete enzyme system, self-adjusting pH, light color and neutral flavor.

Standard Malt and Specialty Malt

The malting process is a three-step process that requires only two ingredients: raw cereal grain (usually barley) and water. The majority of malt produced in the world is standard malt which is characterized by a high amount of enzymes and light malty flavor and color. Standard malt is used in large quantities, up to 100%, for beer and very small quantities, often less than 1%, in yeast-fermented dough systems. By varying the times and temperatures of the three steps of the malting process, however, a wide range of specialty malts characterized by little to no enzyme activity and enhanced to robust flavor and color can be created. Specialty malts can be used in larger quantities, up to 25% in some applications, to deliver flavor, color and functionality to a wide range of foods including baked goods, bars, cereal, cookies, crackers, granola, gravies, roux, prepared foods, pet food, snack foods and more.

Barley is the perfect cereal grain for malting