Diastatic malt powder is a flour made from barley grains that have been sprouted, dried at low temperatures, and then ground into a powder. The sprouting and low-heat drying process activates enzymes inside the barley grain. When enzymes are active, they’re called diastase and they break down starch so it can transform into sugar.
It’s most commonly made from barley grains, but a variety of grains can be used, such as wheat, rye, oats, etc.
Some bread flours will already have barley malt powder added to help yeast grow in doughs. If an all-purpose or whole wheat flour doesn’t have malted barley listed in the ingredients, you can add malt powder for the same outcome. You only need a small amount (1/2 – 1 teaspoon per 3 cups of flour).
What Does Diastatic Malt Powder Do?
Diastatic malt powder helps feed yeast in the fermentation process of, most commonly, beer and doughs. Yeast can’t digest starch until it’s broken into sugar, which is where diastatic malt powder comes in. Its active enzymes break down the starches in wheat flour and transform them into soluble sugar molecules called glucose. Most commonly, it’s used to give doughs a strong rise, improve texture, and give them a brown, crunchy crust once baked.
Although there aren’t really substitutions for it, there are some work-arounds. You’ll find them here.
How Do You Make Diastatic Malt Powder?
Diastatic malt powder can be made by sprouting barley, or another suitable grain. Sprouting is achieved by soaking the grains for several hours to activate the germination process. They’re then drained and given several days to sprout while following a wash, drain, aerate process twice a day. You will eventually see shoots coming out of the grains, and once they’re about the same length as the grain, they’re ready to be dried and ground into a powder. Find the full sprouting process here.
To ensure you don’t kill the active enzymes, you must let them dry at a low temperature (below 40 C / 104 F). Once the grains are completely dry, you can then grind them into a fine powder.
Find full instructions here.
What Is The Difference Between Diastatic And Non-Diastatic Malt Powder?
Diastatic malt powder is made from sprouted grains that are dried at a low temperature to preserve the active enzymes, while non-diastatic malt powder does not contain active enzymes and is more commonly used to add malt flavor, a bit of sweetness, and a darker color to baked goods, desserts, and beverages.
What Is Malted Barley Flour?
Malted barley flour is simply barley that has been sprouted, dried, and ground into a flour. In most cases, malt powder is referred to as malted barley flour when it’s diastatic and to be used in doughs. In this case, the term “flour” is simply used in place of “powder”.
You may also find wheat flours that have malted barley added to them, in which case, it’s not the same as concentrated malt powder.
Is Diastatic Malt Powder The Same As Malted Barely Flour?
If the diastatic malt powder is made from barley then it is the same as malted barley flour. Malted barley flour is used in doughs to help yeast grow during the fermentation period, which means, it must contain active enzymes that convert starch into sugar for the yeast to feed on. Look for the term “diastatic” or “active enzymes”.