Malt refers to a grain product which is used in different types of foods and drinks for fermentation as well as to add nutrients and flavor. Malt is derived from cereal grains that have undergone partial germination and were dried. Any type of cereal can be turned into malt, but barley is the most commonly used one. Grains such as rice, rye, corn, and wheat are rarely used to produce malt.
The malting process is performed by soaking the grains in water and then drying it with hot air to allow them to germinate. This process also enables the starch in the grains to transform into different types of sugars, such as fructose and glucose.
There are two kinds of malt powder, namely diastatic and nondiastatic. The first type involves the process wherein enzymes convert starch into sugar, while the second one doesn’t involve any active enzymes. Diastatic malt powder is commonly used in baking, more specifically, to make bread rise. On the other hand, nondiastatic malt powder is usually used to add flavor to beverages.
Malt is commonly used for the brewing of beer. Actually, the flavor and taste of beer primarily come from the malt that is used to produce it. Special malts produced through controlled heating are also used to enhance the beer’s color. A barrel of beer, which is equivalent to 31 gallons, requires 25-50 pounds or 11-22 kg of malt. In addition to the production of beer, malt is also essential for the distillation of alcohol used in whiskey and other drinks.
Malt extract is added to breakfast cereals, flour, baked goods, confections, baby food, and malt vinegar for flavor, starch content, as well as enzyme activity. The extract is acquired by mashing the malt, eliminating the solid particles, and then using an evaporator. The result of this process is a heavy syrup that has vitamins, minerals, and sugar.