Jim Hillibish: Diastatic malt flour, pass it on
I kept hearing the raves of diastatic malt flour. The unbridled enthusiasm triggered my doubts, and not until a friend of mine paved the way did I become a believer. It’s pretty amazing stuff.
This white powder is yeast booster. It generates diastatic enzymes that bread yeast feeds upon. You notice it right away. The yeast proofs in about 20 percent of normal time.
There’s more. All that yeast action speeds conversion of starches to sugar. My loaves are beautiful with it, perfectly browned all around.
Malted wheat or barley is allowed to sprout, then toasted and ground. The sprout is the key to its success, containing the magical enzyme.
I’ve settled on a teaspoon per loaf. I tried more, and the dough expanded fast into a huge ball. When I baked it, it collapsed in the center, a common mistake with malt flour. A little does a lot.
My bread’s “wheaty note,” a quality standard of bakers, increased. All that extended rising created a fine-textured loaf. I noticed this week that the shelf life of my bread seems to have doubled.
Finding malt flour is a chore. It’s not something you’d see in a grocery store. I inquired at health-foods store to blank stares.
Obviously, this stuff is a trend. When I bought mine six months ago, it was $12 a pound. Now it’s way less than half that.
Be careful ordering. You want diastatic. The regular malt flour, used in cookies and malted milk, does not have the miracle enzyme.
P.S.: I tried it in my yeast-rolls recipe. Great stuff.
MALTED DINNER ROLLS
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup margarine
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cold water
2 (.25-ounce) packages active dry yeast
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon diastatic malt flour
Melt margarine in hot water. Add sugar and salt and stir. Add cold water and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast. Mix in 3 cups flour and diastatic malt. Add eggs and 2 1/2 - 3 cups more flour. Mix, cover and let rise until dough doubles in size.
Punch down and let rise 30 more minutes or until doubles. Make walnut size balls of dough. Place about 2 inches apart on a well-buttered 9-by-13-inch cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Brush top of rolls with margarine while hot.