Benefits of Malted Barley Flour that Will Surprise You?

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Do you enjoy the flavor of freshly baked bread but have struggled to make it at home? Malted barley flour has the potential to be the secret ingredient to your baking success! Malted barley flour is a flour that is manufactured from malted barley. It’s high in enzymes and nutrients, making it an excellent baking ingredient.

Let’s delve into the realm of malted barley flour, covering its several aspects, such as the various advantages it offers and its wide range of types.

What is Malted Barley Flour and Its Types?

Malted barley flour is prepared from malted barley, which has been germinated, steam-dried, hulled, crushed, and lastly filtered. It is often manufactured from a kind of barley with six rows on the seed head. Technically, it has more enzyme activity because it has been malted. It contains alpha-amylase, which aids in the breakdown of complex sugars and starch in the dough into simple sugars like maltose, making it easier for yeast to feed on.

Let’s dig into diastatic and non-diastatic are the two kinds of malted barley flour.

Diastatic

This is what is usually meant when malted barley flour is mentioned: it contains active enzymes and is used in baking. It doesn’t have any flavor, thus it’s “flavor-neutral”, though some specific ones may have little flavor. Nor does it impact the color of food. What it does is moisturize the crumb.

Non-diastatic

It has no active enzymes and is used for flavor, a variety of uses, and in baked products to provide a glossy top and a soft, fine crumb. It is often called “malt powder”.

In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified malted barley flour as an additive to all-purpose flour, wheat flour, and whole-wheat flour that is used in bakeries.

How Malted Flour Differes from Mal Flour?

Malt flour and malted flour are different from each other in terms of their ingredients and how they are made. Malt flour is made by grinding the inner endosperm of malted barley, while malted flour is made from flour that has been treated with malt.

Malted flour contains sprouted barley malt, which is a source of amylase, an enzyme that helps break down the flour’s starch into sugars. This makes it a great option for yeast to use while fermenting bread dough. On the other hand, diastatic malt flour is a type of malt flour that contains active enzymes, which also promote fermentation and give a distinctive flavor to baked items.

What Includes in the Malting process of Barley?

The malting process of barley includes four main steps steeping, germination, kilning, and roasting, these are discussed in detail below.

Steeping

The steeping process begins with sorted and cleaned raw barley transferred into steep tanks and covered with water for the next 40-48 hrs. Then the raw barley was dipped and drained alternatively until it rises in moisture content from 12% to 44%. In this process, water absorption activates naturally existing enzymes and enables the embryo to produce new enzymes.

These enzymes break down the carbohydrate and protein matrix enclosed with starch granules in the endosperm, open the starch reserves of the seed and initiate the growth of the newly developed acrospires (sprout).

When barley reaches a sufficient moisture level and allows a uniform breakdown of proteins and starches, that means the steeping process is completed. The percentage of the kernel is used to determine the completion of a steeping process called ‘chit’, and properly steeped barley is called ‘chitted barley’.

Germination

Germination is the second process and is known as the ‘control’ phase of malting. In this process, steeped grains are transferred to the germination room and kept oxygenated through a flow of humid air at a temperature between 16°C and 19°C. This process prevents growing roots from matting. In this process, soluble starches, amino acids, and malt sugar are produced from usable yeast nutrients.

Kilning

Kilning includes drying the grain at the temperature of 80°C to 90°C to dry it down to 3-5% moisture and arrests germination. This process is done to preserve nutrients in the grain by eliminating the embryo. Then grains are blown through the large volumes of hot air. The kiln temperature and air flows are varied, producing different colors and flavor profiles in malt. At the end of kilning, small rootlets are removed from the resultant malt and the latter is taken for roasting.

Roasting

Roasting is taken through 4 distinct stages: steeping, germinating, roasting, and cooling. First, grains steeped in the tank for 34-46 hrs to reach 42-44% moisture. Then gains are transferred for germination which lasts for almost four weeks. Once germination is done, the malt is ready for roasting.

The roasting process takes place in two roasting drums and roasted at up to 460˚C temperatures for 2 ½ – 3 hours on average time. Lastly, roasted malt is transferred to the cooler for 35 – 60 minutes. There the temperature is dropped to <15˚C to fix the color and flavor compounds.

Then this finally produced malted barley is converted to flour, which is widely used in various industries such as Bakeries, Restaurants, and the production of cookies, cakes, pies, and pet foods.

What are the Key Benefits of Malted Barley?

Malted barley flour provides several health benefits due to its high nutrient content, some of which are mentioned below:

Enriched in Nutrition

Malted barley is an excellent source of nutrition such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and dietary silicon that promote bone health. The malting process improves the nutritional quality of barley and gives a nutty flavor and aroma to flour, which some people enjoy a lot.

Improves Digestive Health

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, malt extract supports the growth of probiotic cultures that aid good bacteria in the gut. This bacteria improves immune function, regulates cholesterol levels, and enhances nutrient absorption.

Improves Heart Health

Malt boosts regulating cholesterol levels which help improves heart health. A study conducted by the National Laboratory of Medicine showed that rats fed malted barley had lower levels of bad LDL and VLDL cholesterol than those fed wheat bran. Another research suggested that barley also helps reduce belly fat, waist circumference, and body mass index, but they needed to confirm all these suggestions.

Stimulates Better Mood

A study published in Scientific Reports found that malt contains a component called hordenine and has the potential to stimulate a good mood and improve mental health. This hordenine triggers a specific dopamine receptor in the brain that promotes a better mood. Barley has an element that causes mood-elevating effects, especially when consumed via beer.

Prevent Gallstones

Barley has high fiber content that may help prevent gallstones.

Gallstones are solid particles that can develop spontaneously in the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder stimulates bile acids which digest the fat.

Most probability gallstones do not cause any signs or symptoms. However, as time progresses, enlarged gallstones can get stuck in the bile duct and cause severe pain. Such cases often require surgery to remove the gallstones from the gallbladder.

Insoluble fiber in barley helps prevent the formation of gallstones and also reduces the possibility of gallbladder surgery.

Parting Thoughts

Malted barley flour is a versatile ingredient that can enhance the taste, texture, and nutritional value of various foods. Its unique flavor, rich nutritional profile, and functional properties make it a popular option in food industries such as bread, muffins, cakes, and many other baked goods. From professional baker to home cook, adding malted barley flour to recipes can take culinary creations to the next level.

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