Malted barley flour Q and A

Have you wondered just what is malted barley flour? Thanks to our friends at Briess, all SPI Group sales managers are knowledgeable malt experts !

Q: What is malted barley flour?
A: Malted Barley Flour is a whole grain flour milled from whole kernel malted barley. It has approximately the same particle size as wheat flour.

Q: How is malted barley made and why is it considered “natural”?
A: Malted barley is made when raw barley is naturally processed (malted) using only water, heat and time. Because the raw barley is minimally processed, it is considered “natural”. There are three steps of the malting process:

1) Steeping— Raw barley is alternately submerged and drained for 40-48 hours in steep tanks until a moisture level of 40% or greater is achieved. This activates the embryo to initiate enzyme development and growth of the rootlets. This is the beginning of germination.

2) Germination— Steeped grain is then moved to a germination compartment where germination continues for four to seven days at controlled temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. During germination the barley is modified. Modification refers to the breakdown of complex proteins and carbohydrates which opens up the starch reserves. Enzymes in germinating barley include high levels of alpha amylase, and lower levels of beta amylase and proteases. This is known as the diastatic system and that’s where the term diastatic malt comes from. More on that later.

3) Drying (kilning)—Drying on a kiln or roaster halts germination. Gentle kiln drying preserves enzymes and develops malty flavors. Higher temperature drying in a kiln and/or roaster results in more unique flavor development and decreases or completely denatures enzymes.

Q: Is Malt the same as Malted Barley?
A: According to the USDA, “Malt” is considered the same as “Malted Barley” for labeling purposes. When other grains are malted, the grain must be identified on the label, i.e., “Malted Wheat” or “Malted Rye”. All malts are GRAS ingredients.

Q: Why barley? And why malt it in the first place?
A: Barley is the ideal cereal grain for malting and, ultimately, brewing. 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. The process of malting barley opens up the starch reserves, making them more readily available for brewing. That’s why malt, or malted barley, is the basic ingredient used in the production of beer. Malt provides complex carbohydrates and sugars necessary for fermentation, as well as contributes flavor and color that are uniquely characteristic of beer. All of these benefits are equally beneficial to many food applications, whether the malt is diastatic or nondiastatic.

Have more questions? Want to know how to use malt in your new product development? Contact your friendly SPI Group sales representative for more information!