Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baker's secret

I found out about a secret that European bakers have. It's called Diastatic Malt (DM) All it really means, is sprouted, dried, and ground wheat. DM is used as a substitute for sugar or honey. Many kinds of bread call for a sweetener simply to activate the yeast and brown the crust. DM acts the same way sugar and honey do, but without the added calories and sweetness.

" It is rich in enzymes and vitamins, so when the malt is added to the dough, the bread's nutritional value increases. The action of the enzymes on the yeast and flour improves the flavor and appearance of a loaf of bread, and, in addition, gives it a finer texture and helps the bread stay fresh longer."

Those are enough reasons for me to use DM!!!
Many health food stores sell DM, but as with (almost) all things, making it yourself is much more economical. The process is a little long, but fairly simple.

  1. Grab 1/2 cup - 1 cup Wheat Berries from your food storage, and rinse well
  2. Place wheat berries in a jar, and cover with water. Other website say to put it into a glass jar, and cover with cheese cloth. But since I don't have either of those, I improvised. I used one of my "magic bullet" cannisters, and placed a lid (with little holes) on it. I figured the cheesecloth is to strain the berries, which should work fine with this special lid too.
  3. Let it sit in a dark/warm place for 12-24 hours
  4. Drain the water. This water is very rich in nutrients and can be used to water plants, or used in soup or bread.
  5. Rinse with clean water, then drain again
  6. Let the berries rest for 3-6 hours, then repeat the rinse and drain process.
  7. Repeat step 5 and 6, until little sprouts appear
  8. When the sprouts are about 1/8" long, rinse one last time.
Drying & Grinding
  1. Spread berries on a cookie sheet
  2. Place cookie sheet in warm oven for 6 hours. Be careful not to let the temperature go over 120 degrees (it would kill the enzymes) OR use a crafty dehydrator -which I don't have.

    Tip: If your oven does not go down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, turn it on to the lowest setting for 5 minutes every hour until the grains are dry.

    OR: As my friend Renee suggested, place the cookie sheet on your car's dashboard on a warm sunny day, and save yourself some electricity/gas.

  3. Make sure they are completely dry before Grinding
  4. Run your sprouted berries through your grain mill, into a fine flower

Tip: When grinding it is important to use pulse so as not to raise the temperature too high. You don't want to kill the enzymes after all the care you've put into making your dried sprouts!


Store your Diastatic Malt in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay good for a very long time.

Replace 1 tablespoon of sweetener with 1/2 teaspoon of diastic malt.

I made my first rolls with my diastic malt. I made the dough on Saturday, and let it rise overnight in the fridge. Then, it was rising too long, so by the time I finally got them baked, they were kind of flat. (really good taste though). So now I don't know whether the diastic malt was the problem, or if it was because of some other factor. I guess I need to make a few more recipes to see.


Wendy said...

wow you sure are researching a lot of fun stuff! did it taste more "dutch"

Jill said...

We need to come and visit you guys! You have way too much fun. You are always up to something creative and fun.

Renee Campbell said...

Oh I hate it when breads dont rise! Hopefully it wasnt the DM. I had to start mine over but Ill let you know if my bread turns out OK.

Nancy Sabina said...

It's very cool that you're doing that. Good luck!

Grampa Earl said...

Good thing you have a dehydrator now, because the windshield in the sun may easily exceed 120 degrees. I can't wait to taste another batch.

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