Substitution for Malt Powder

Finding a substitution for malt powder is a simple matter of figuring out which recipe you’re using and then choosing from among several options which alternative will go best with that recipe. So, the real question is why you are using malt powder in the first place, and what ingredient will help highlight your recipe.

What Is Malt Powder?

First, let’s discuss malt powder.

Three different kinds of malt powder exist, and they can vary greatly — diastatic malt powder, non-diastatic malt powder, and malted milk powder.

So, before going any further, know that you can use each of these powders for each other. Diastatic malt powder and non-diastatic malt powder are not much different in terms of portions, but malted milk powder is cut with flour and evaporated milk, so you’ll need to adjust the portions.

What are these powders?

Diastatic malt powder is produced when barley grain is germinated, or soaked until the tiny seedlings sprout from the grain, and then dried. This process unlocks the enzyme in barley that converts the starch to sugar, so the grain is sweeter. These enhanced sugars are easier for yeast to access in bread or pastry dough for baking or in wort for brewing. Once the grains are dried, they are ground to a fine powder.

Non-diastatic malt powder goes through this same germination process, but the grains are then toasted, which deactivates the enzyme, so the yeast cells are not riled up by the powder. Instead, this powder only lends color and sweetness to baking products.

Finally, malted milk powder is a product sold as a delicious and nutritious product that can be added to smoothies or drunk alone. It is a combination of non-diastatic malt powder, flour, and evaporated milk.

What Does Malt Powder Do in Baking?

In baking, diastatic malt powder is added in small amounts, usually less than one teaspoon per three cups of flour. The powder is used to activate yeast to a greater extent, encouraging the bread to rise faster and higher and giving it a nice golden crust.

Non-diastatic malt powder is used instead of diastatic malt powder when the flour used in baking already has activated yeast. Because it has been toasted, this powder lends a nuttier, sweeter taste to baked goods and will lend golden tones to the baked goods.

If you’re out of both diastatic and non-diastatic malt powder, you can use malted milk powder as a substitute even though that was not its original purpose. It will promote browning, add flavor, and add more sweetness. It can also add hints of roasted, toasted, earthiness. The evaporated milk will also contribute milky flavors along with notes of toffee and butterscotch.

What Is Similar to Malt?

If you don’t have any of these powders, and you are hoping to experiment with adding these subtle hints of flavor and color to your baked goods, you can try several other options.

Maca Powder, which comes from maca root, is perhaps the closest in similarity to non-diastatic malt powder. It does not have the same enzymes as barley grain, but it does have similar nuttiness in terms of flavor, and it will lend a brilliant golden hue to your crust.

Coconut milk powder is more similar to malted milk powder in that it will offer the cooked milk flavor and the silky texture.

Soymilk powder and rice malt syrup are two non-dairy options that have subtle flavors and sweetness that can be great if you’re trying to avoid allergic reactions.

Ovaltine is a wonderful substitute for malted milk powder if you’re interested in a bit of chocolate being added to the mix.

In terms of nuttiness, quinoa powder and almond powder are two more amazing substitutes for malt powder.

Brewer’s Malt Vs. Baking Malt

If you’ve been wondering about the differences between brewer’s malt and baking malt, they are few and far between.

Both are made from barley grain that has sprouted and dried. The only real difference is that brewer’s malt is typically toasted, so that if you’re hoping for diastatic malt powder, baking malt is the way to go. Just be careful not to get non-diastatic malt powder by mistake.

In the end, you have several options for malt powder, even just from within the three types of malt powder. Which one you choose from those three, or from among the others listed here, will have much to do with how you want to prepare your baked goods. For milkier, earthier flavors, you can choose one of the milk powders. For nuttier, toastier flavors and more golden crusts, you can opt for maca or almond powder.

Either way, you’ll love the contributing factors any one of these powders will bring to your breads and pastries.

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