Diastatic Vs. Non- Diastatic Malt
Note: Not commonly used for sour-dough applications.
Note: Even though Non-diastatic is added as a sweetener yeast doesn’t consume it in the same was as a simple sugar.
Note: Diastatic is great for a heavy loaf and adding volume.
Diastatic malt has long been a secret of professional bread makers in Europe. It is made from sprouted grains that have been dried and ground. In bread recipes, it replaces the sugar or honey needed to feed the yeast and brown the crust. Because diastatic malt is full of enzymes and vitamins, it increases the nutritional value of the bread. In addition, the action of the enzymes on the yeast and flour improves both the flavor and appearance of the bread; it creates a finer texture and helps the bread stay fresh.
Diastatic malt has enzymes to promote yeast growth. Also gives breads better texture, flavor and improves shelf life. The Non-Diasatic can be used 1 to 1 for sugar and is generally added for flavor. It can also be added to water for boiling bagels and getting the distinctive shiny appearance.
Non-diastatic is simply added as a sweetener, diastatic malt breaks down the starch in dough to yield sugars on which the yeast can feed. Having some around in long fermented breads is very important.
Mills will typically put in 1/10% malted barley flour (barley because barley malt is cheaper than wheat malt) to provide diastase (enzyme), which converts the starch in damaged starch granules to sugars that are utilizable by the yeast over an extended ferment. The use of more diastatic malt than this can result in slack, sticky dough, and will not improve yeast action. Malt is not made from cooked grain, but rather sprouted grain.
Diastatic malt powder is powdered malted grain, usually barley, but wheat, and rice may also be malted. “Diastatic” refers to the diastatic enzymes that are created as the grain sprouts. These convert starches to sugars, which yeasties eat. Maltose, a simple sugar that yeasties love is usually made in abundance by the enzymes.
Diastatic malt powder is available in some health food stores as well as homebrew supply shops.
You can make your own: sprout a cup of wheat berries by covering them with water in a jar for 12 or so hours, dump out the water & rinse with clean water, and place the jar in a darkish, warmish, place. Rinse the berries every day with clean water and return to their place.
In 2-3 days they will begin to sprout. When the sprout is as long as the berries themselves, dump them out on paper towels, dry them off, and set on a cookie sheet in the sun for a day or so to dry out. Then put the cookiesheet in a 100F oven for an hour or three. Do not let the temp get above 130F or the enzymes will be destroyed.
Then grind the dried malted berries into flour, and use it in your favorite recipe at a rate of approx. 1t. per loaf.
I did this for the first time last week, and the bread made with is has a lovely wheaty note that was not produced in the past when I used brewer’s (barley) malt.
-Gediastatic and non-diastatic malt powders are both dried barley malt syrup, which is about 85% solids to 100% solids for the dry. the difference is that nio-diastatic is dried at a higher temperature, which causes the amylase enzymes to deteriorate and go inactive.
amylase alpha and beta metabolize starch into sugar and facilitate fermentation.
malted barley flour is a whole other animal, since it’s ground from malted (i.e., sprouted/germinated) barley that is dried and then milled into flour. malt extract is subject to a couple of other steps of extraction and dehydration. barley malt flour, which is rich in amylases, is often used in patent flours as a dough conditioner and as an additive to improve fermentation.
as a practical matter, unless you’re using untreated (i.e., organic) flour and are not slow-fermenting or using a pre-ferment, the enzyme activity of the malt isn’t going to make much of a difference.
I use both diastatic and non-diastatic liquid and powder (and also low-diastatic powder) in bagels, kaiser and other rolls and haven’t noticed a significant difference in the quality or duration of the ferment, or the taste and texture of the bread.
Makingg and Using Diastatic Malt
Diastatic malt can be made at home using wheat berries, purchased from a health food store, and your food dehydrator. When using it in bread recipes, remember that it is very potent and only a small amount is needed.
Don’t forget that your dehydrator makes a wonderful place to raise your bread.
The method: Place one cup of wheat berries in a wide-mouth glass jar and add 4 cups tepid water. Cover with a piece of nylon net; secure with a rubber band. Let soak about 12 hours. Drain off water (save for soup stock or use to water your plants – it’s full of minerals). Rinse well with tepid water, and drain completely. Repeat rinsing process 3 times a day for 2 days or until the little shoots are about the same length as the grains.
Rinse and drain once again. Place on teflon sheets and allow to dry at medium heat in your dryer. Grind dried sprouts to a fine flour in an electric grinder or blender. This will yield about 1 cup of diastatic malt. Store in a tightly closed glass jar in the refrigerator or freezer. It will keep indefinately.
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon diastatic malt
1/4 cup warm water
4 Tablespoons oil
1 egg, beaten
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
Soften yeast & malt in water. When mixture bubbles, add oil and egg. Blend well and let rise for 10 minutes.
Mix flour, milk, and yeast mixture to make soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into round, flat buns and place on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with cold water & sprinnkle with sesame seeds. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until double.
Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes.
The diastatic power (DP), also called the “diastatic activity” or “enzymatic power”, of a grain refers to the grain’s ability to break down starches into sugars. This is determined by the amount of “diastase,” today known as α-amylase, enzyme present in the grain. It generally refers only to malts, grains which have begun to germinate; the act of germination includes the production of a number of enzymes such as amylase which convert starch into sugar; thereby, sugars can be extracted from the barley’s own starches simply by soaking the grain in water at a controlled temperature: this process is called mashing. Other enzymes break long proteins into short ones and accomplish other important tasks.
In general, the hotter a grain is kilned, the less its diastatic activity; consequently, only lightly-colored grains can be used as base malts, with Munich malt being the darkest base malt generally available.
Diastatic activity can also be provided by diastatic malt extract or by inclusion of separately-prepared brewing enzymes.
Diastatic power for a grain is measured in degrees Lintner (°Lintner or °L, although the latter can conflict with the symbol °L for Lovibond color); or in Europe by Windisch-Kolbach units (°WK). The two measures are related by
A malt with enough power to self-convert has a diastatic power near 35 °Lintner (94 °WK); the most active, so-called “hottest” malts currently available, American six-row pale barley malts, have a diastatic power of up to 160 °Lintner (544 °WK).