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Malt Herb: Health Benefits, Uses, Facts Photo Gallery
Malt can be prepared from any grain, but is usually made from barley. To make it, the grain is steeped in water until it begins to germinate (the acrospire should be the length of the grain), and then it is killed by heat. The higher the temperature to which it is heated the darker the malt. During germination an enzyme called diastase is formed and, if the sprouted dead grain is stirred up in water and kept gently warm, the diastase converts the starch into a mixture of dextrin (office gum) and malt sugar (maltose). In brewing this is known as ‘wort’. For kitchen use, one would usually buy malt extract, a brown sticky substance obtained by extracting the soluble part of the malted grain with water, then filtering, and finally evaporating it in a vacuum pan.
Malt extract contains malt sugar, which is less than a third as sweet as ordinary cane sugar, ferments easily, and tends to retain moisture. It is, therefore, not only suitable for making home-made beer (suitably flavoured with hops) but also for making brown bread. It promotes activity in the yeast and causes the bread to keep moist for longer than it otherwise would. Apart from its sweetness, malt has a very definite flavour which it imparts to cakes or bread if used in quantity.
Malt coffee is a coffee substitute made by roasting grain which has undergone the malting process. This is a wellknown substitute for coffee in times of scarcity or when natural coffee has been taxed out of the reach of the poorer people. It is also, because of its food value and freedom from stimulants, used as a children’s or invalids’ drink.
Malt vinegar is vinegar made from fermented malt liquors. (See Vinegar.)