Malt Products Corporation


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As you probably are aware, bagels originated in Vienna over 300 years ago. They are said to have been very crusty and chewy back then, with a distinctive flavor and color. Today's bagel, on the other hand , is quickly evolving into a soft roll with a hole in it. Why? Customer demand, easier make-up, longer shelf life, use as a sandwich instead of being eaten by itself, in short, the many criteria pushing and pulling the original bagel formula have caused the industry to change the finished product to suit as many demands as possible.

According to the A.I.B., over five billion bagels were sold in this country in 1994. And based on a survey by Information Resources Inc., while bread, rolls, buns, and English Muffins all had 1994 sales dollar increases of 2 - 3.7%, fresh bagels rose 62.7% and frozen bagels rose 16.2%. These dollar sales increases undoubtedly are being followed by poundage increases also, as I understand the 1995 bagel is being scaled at 6 - 7 ounces (verses the average 3 ounce size) in order to comply with consumer demands.

The bagel is perfectly positioned for today's nutritional demands for a low-fat, low cholesterol, high-carbohydrate, grain-based food.

Who among us has tasted what I refer to as an "original bagel", perhaps better know as a "cement doughnut" or "Brooklyn Jawbreaker"? Some of you no doubt remember the dark brown chewy crust and dense crumb, and in particular, the very characteristic flavor. What contributed the most to that characteristic flavor? Malt, of course! The only "original bagel" I am aware of still being made today can be found in the New York City area - and they do use malt - just as their ancestors did.

What is Malt?

Malt Extract - Saccharide Profile
1 - 2%
7 - 10%
1 - 3%
39 - 42%
10 - 15%
Higher Saccharides
25 - 30%

Most Malts are slightly more than half as sweet as sucrose. The saccharide profile of Malt Extract, for example is 1-2% fructose, 7-10% glucose, 1-3% sucrose, 39-42% maltose, 10-15% maltotriose and 25-30% higher saccharides.

Since perceived sweetness basically is attributed to the mono and disaccharides fructose, glucose and sucrose, you can see why the overall sweetness of malt extract is lower than that of sucrose. With sucrose arbitrarily rated at 100 in sweetness value or scale, malt extract is about 55. Malt syrups, those with cereal adjunct, are rated at about 65. Keep these sweetness values in mind if the application you propose needs sweetness and you want to use a type of malt.

To give you an idea of Malt's wide application range, it can be found in the ingredient clauses of breakfast cereals, infant foods, saltine crackers, variety and party breads, crispy or hard rolls, soy milk, pet foods, pharmaceuticals, granola cereals and bars, rice cakes, pretzels, beverages, ice creams, cookies, icings, fillings and, of course, bagels. In addition, Malt also enhances chocolate and cocoa items by rounding out the bitter notes, resulting in a smoother, more mellow, chocolate flavor.

How is Malt Made?

The basic process used to produce malt will be described in general terms.

The basic malting process consists of three steps: steeping; germination; and drying.

Incoming raw barley is cleaned and graded to size, then put into cylindrical steep tanks with conical bottoms. Water is added and the barley allowed to absorb moisture to a 45-45% water content. The barley/water mixture in the steep tanks is agitated and aerated. When the optimum absorption has been achieved, the steeped grain is transferred to germinating beds.

Many variations in bed size exist in the malting industry but generally, as long as proper temperature and oxygenation conditions are available and maintained, they all seem to be satisfactory. Germination time varies from four to seven days, depending on the type barley and germination conditions.

The germinated "malt", or "green malt" at this stage, is fed into kilns and dried rapidly to about 6-12% moisture. This stops the germination, but leaves the activated enzymes intact. These enzymes, basically alpha and beta amylases, with some proteases, also are referred to as the diastase system, thus, the term "diastatic" for describing enzyme-active malt.

Final stages of processing the dried malted grain into liquid extracts or syrups involve crushing, "mashing" with water in mash tuns, then to lauter tuns and finally to the evaporators. During mashing, some of the barley starch is hydrolyzed into fermentable sugars. Also, by "mashing in" other cereal adjuncts, usually corn grits, at this stage, many other syrup variations are possible. The prepared mash goes to the lauter tuns where starch hydrolysis is continued and completed. The liquid portion of the lauter stage, or wort, is then drawn off to the evaporators. The residue from the lauter tuns, basically hulls, is usually sold as a high protein animal feed.

Depending on the type of malt desired, light or dark, diastatic or non diastatic, the evaporation conditions are adjusted accordingly. the final liquid malt from the evaporators is then packed in pails, drums, totes, trucks or railcars.

Basic Malt Extract profiles are shown here. The liquid Malt Extracts are evaporated to a uniform solids level of 79-82% and differ only in color and the presence or absence of diastatic activity. While these depict standard products, keep in mind that many different extracts can be produced. These could differ in any category - the solids could be higher or lower, although less than 70% solids is not recommended due to malt's ready fermentability when diluted. On the other hand, if extracts are evaporated to more than 82% solids, the viscosity is increased exponentially - for example, at 84% solids, you can almost walk on the extracts! Of course, these higher solids, extracts have to be kept very warm in order to handle them and are produced only for special applications.

Malt Extracts (All Barley)
Typical Analysis
   Light Dark 60º Lintner Dry
Solids (%) 79 - 82 79 - 82 79 - 82 96.5 -98.0
Ash (%) 1.0 - .5 1.0 - 1.5 1.0 - 1.5 0.8 -1 .0
Reducing Sugars as Maltose (%)  55 - 65 55 - 65 55 - 65 71 - 75
Protein (% Nx5.7) 3.5 - 5.5  3.5 - 5.5 3.5 - 5.5 5.2 - 6.7
pH (10% solution) 5.0 - 5.6 5.0 - 5.6 5.0 - 5.6 5.6 - 6.2
Color Transmittance  70 - 85 40 - 55 70 - 85 60 - 85
Enzyme Activity (ºLintner) Nil Nil 60º * Nil

Reducing sugars (sucrose is not a reducing sugar) can vary with the type barley used initially, as can the protein. these sugars are important in helping produce the brown crust during baked due to the Maillard reaction. pH is fairly uniform although more acidic or more basic forms are available.

Color is very adjustable with temperature as is the enzyme activity. In fact, to produce an enzymatic, or diastatic extract, the evaporation temperatures obviously have to be maintained lower than the kill temperatures of the diastatic system. Conversely, the temperature is raised for the non diastatic types to kill the enzymes and raised further to produce the darker colored forms of malt.

The Dry malt Extract shown is the spray-dried form of the liquid non diastatic extracts. It too, can be varied depending on the desired levels of its various physical characteristics. While Dry Malt Extracts are easier to handle than the liquids, they are more expensive than the liquids and are hygroscopic as well. However, when used in combination with other dry ingredients such as in mixes, the dry malts work fine. This is due to their dispersion and consequent reduced tendency to attract moisture.

Note the similarities of these malt Syrups to the Malt Extracts. Solids are still 79-82%, pH is the same range and colors are very similar also. The differences occur in the reducing sugars and protein. The reducing sugars are higher due to the corn adjunct and the protein is lower because of corn's lack of protein. By the way, these profiles depict a malt to corn ratio of about 65:35. Many other ratios are possible, from 10:90 to 90:10, depending on the user's desired applications and physical characteristics. While these products are made using he natural diastatic system, there are products on the market achieving similar characteristics and profiles which use added fungal enzymes, not the natural diastatic system, and are physical blends of malt extracts and corn syrups. If you recall, the process described earlier used malted barley and corn grits in the mash stage of production, resulting in what are considered natural products.

Dry non diastatic malt syrups are the spray dried forms of their liquid counterparts. While only two standard items are shown, other variations of color and flavor are possible, from lighter to darker and from mild malt flavor to a pronounced malt flavor.

Dry Diastatic Malt, a dry blend of malted barley flour, wheat flour and dextrose, as compared to the previous dry non diastatic malts, shows lower reducing sugars, higher protein and a lighter color. It should be stressed here, however, that dry diastatic malt contributes very little in terms of flavor or color versus use of liquid diastatic malt. If liquid diastatic malt were to be dried, the enzymes, or diastatic system, would be rendered inactive due to the heat that must be used in the drying process. Therefore, the only way to achieve a dry diastatic malt is by dry blending the malted barley flour, which is enzymatically active in the range of 200º Lintner, with the standardizing ingredients wheat flour and dextrose. (While it is a "malt", malted barley flour does not have a malt flavor nor does it contribute much to color. It basically is just a flour with enzymatic activity.) The blending ratios used will vary depending on the beginning activity of the malted barley flour versus the desired finished product Lintner values of either 20º L. or 60º L. Basically then, by using dry diastatic malt, the only beneficial characteristic available is that of enzymatic activity (not color, not flavor, not crust characteristics). Conversely, of course, by using diastatic malt, the beneficial malt characteristics are available to the user.

Of general interest perhaps, particularly to the nutritionists, is the next listing of the compound found so far in malt extract. This is a compilation of many test results from many different extracts since the barleys used do differ somewhat from variety to variety and from region to region - even field to field! Of course, most of the compounds listed are present in only very small amounts with the exceptions of maltose and higher saccharides and some of the minerals.

Keep in mind that malt contributes maltose (sweetness), mineral salts, soluble proteins, dough conditioning enzymes, flavor, color, and nutritive materials which promote vigorous yeast activity, accelerate dough conditioning, and adds flavor and aroma to the finished products. Diastatic malts, either liquid or dry, supplement the amylase in the wheat flour to provide sugar for fermentation and improve dough handling by helping modify, or relax, the gluten in the wheat flour. non diastatic malt, also liquid or dry, basically add flavor and color, as well as sweetness. the type malt to use should be the one which optimizes the effects of the other ingredients reduces processing requirements, balances the flavor level and results in a richer, more saleable finished product.

How Can Malt Improve Your Bagel?

While the preceding may have confused you somewhat when it comes down to the question, "which malt should I use?" or, "should I use malt?", let me assure you that a type of malt exists for use with any given type bagel and that malt does improve your overall product.

From my perspective, the types of sweeteners used in bagels across the country range from High Fructose Corn Syrup to sucrose to brown sugar to molasses to diastatic liquid malt syrup to non diastatic liquid and dry malt syrup. There are combinations of sweeteners used as well. Sound even more confusing? Let's"unconfuse" it by briefly reviewing the characteristics of these sweeteners I just mentioned.

Taking sucrose first, or sugar, if you prefer, it is is about the sweetest of the sweeteners just mentioned. It usually is used in the dry, granular form and at usage levels of 2% to 6% based on flour. HFCS (the 42 type) is as sweet, or a little sweeter, than sucrose but is used in the liquid form. Since this grade of HFCS is about 76% solids, the moisture difference between it and dry sucrose should be adjusted by appropriately modifying the amount of formula water. Both sucrose and HFCS contribute to the crust color of bagels and, of course, add sweetness and provide food for the yeast during dough fermentation. Brown sugar, in addition to the attributes of sucrose, adds flavor and color to bagels. Since brown sugar is a mixture of sucrose and molasses, some bagel producers merely add the two components separately.

Now, assuming you want to produce a bagel with eye appeal, good taste and a medium to soft crumb, the sweetener having the ability to impart all these characteristics is - brown sugar - with the exception of malt. malt versus brown sugar in bagels, at equal solids levels, produces bagels with a richer crust color than brown sugar, with more of a pleasing, cereal-like flavor, and with a softer crumb. the type malt used is a 20ºL liquid malt syrup, shown here. It is a dark brown liquid, (not available in the dry form as the enzymes would be destroyed by the heat used in drying) about 79 to 82% solids, has a high reducing sugar content for good yeast activity, and has a fairly neutral pH, making it compatible and synergistic with the flavors of the other ingredients present in the bagel formula.

Viscosity at room temperature is such that the Malt Syrup pours easily regardless of the container. It, as well as all malts, is water-soluble and incorporates rapidly into bagel doughs.

Its microbiological profile indicated it is a very "clean" product, with a maximum of 5,000 Total Plate Count and less than 20 Yeast and Mold per gram. It is sterile when packed and should keep for up to at least six months in the original, unopened container.

The next illustration shows the nutritional profile of Liquid Malt on a 100 gram basis. It is basically a carbohydrate comprised mostly of complex carbohydrates rather than the "sugar" carbohydrates. In other words, and as shown before, the amount of mono and disaccharides or "sugar carbohydrates, is lower than that of the higher saccharides. Of particular note are the absence of fat and cholesterol. therefore, if you are interested n making no-fat and no-cholesterol claims, Liquid Malt can assist you. The vitamins and minerals present can assist you also in making nutritional claims. It is realized that the amount of Liquid Malt present in your products is fairly small, but these "goodies" are present nonetheless and will still add to your overall product's required nutritional label panel.

Nutrient Content of Liquid Malt Syrup
Calories  400 g
Moisture 20 g
Protein 1.2 g
Ash 0.5 g
Carbohydrates * 78.3 g
---Complex 52.0 g
---Sugars 26.3 g
Vitamin C 2.0 mg
Thiamin trace
Niacin 2.7 mb NE
Riboflavin 0.15 mg
Fat 0
Cholesterol 0
Total Dietary Fiber 0
Iron trace
Calcium 3.0 mg
Sodium 5.1 mg
Potassium 96 mg

Liquid Malt Syrup is a combination of malt and corn grits whose formula was developed after many field trials under different conditions and using a variety of finished product requirements. Of course, while Liquid Malt provides the optimum characteristics of color, flavor and crisp crust to most bagel formulas, there are other variations of bagels which require different malts to achieve their desired characteristics. As long as these variations are within the realm of barley's ability to produce a malt meeting the required differences, a malt can be specially produced. For example, a wide range of brown colors is available, from light tan to almost black. In terms of transmittance, light malts can be produced up to 95T and dark malts actually down to zero T. Transmittance, by the way, is the scale used to read color in the laboratory using a dilute sample of malt. Also, flavor intensity can be modified, if desired, by adjusting or changing the initial barley used, and/or the germination time and temperatures used throughout the process. The ratio of malt to corn also plays a big part in determining flavor - the higher the malt percentage, the more malt flavor.

A typical Bagel formula, shown here, uses 4.5% Liquid Malt, based on flour.. The finished products made from this formula exhibit good rich crust color, good keeping quality, and have good flavor as well.

Typical Bagel Formula
   Ponds Ounces
High Gluten Flour
Water 48 --
Yeast -- 9
Salt 1 --
Liquid Maple Syrup  4 8
Total Weight 153 17

Another variation is this Deli Bagel Formula. Note a total of 5% sweetener is specified, but two sweeteners are indicated, Malt Syrup and Liquid Brown Sugar. This double whammy ensures good flavor, color, sweetness an keeping quality.

Realistically, bake temperature does play a major part in determining crust color and crispness. Since malt readily caramelizes with temperature, the amount and type of malt present can greatly effect the finished crust color. Oftentimes, bagels can achieve the desired crust color faster with malt, rather than with other sweeteners, thus reducing both bake time and bake costs. While the lye bath gelatinizes the surface starch, which also caramelizes in the oven, it has been found that malt in the dough does increase the degree of crust caramelization. In fact, and this is a tip, about 1/4 ounce malt per gallon of water in the lye bath accelerates crust color development dramatically. Also, the crust color itself, instead of being somewhat dull, is shinier and richer looking due to the malt.

Malt Availability

Liquid Malt is available nationwide from Malt Products Corporation through strategically located public warehouses. It is packaged n five gallon pails, 55 gallon drums, totes and in bulk. The dry forms of Malt are available in 50 pound bags. The tote bin contains the equivalent of five drums in the space of four drums as it is the size of a standard pallet. It weighs about 3,500 pounds gross weight and is handled easily by most fork-lifts. It is one unit with a metal pallet, not wood, being part of the basic cage and jug. It is also returnable, eliminating the problem of drum disposal.


It is hoped this discussion of the general description of malts, their processing, applications, and special use in bagels, will be of use to each of you in the bagel industry. Various types of malts, especially Liquid Malt, have been described and suggestions made as to their application and functional possibilities.

Liquid malt is a very important intermediate ingredient in that it provides flavor, color and essential crust characteristics to bagels. Sweetness and nutritive values are also contributed by Liquid Malt. Your current no-sugar added, no fat and no cholesterol claim is not compromised by use of all-natural Liquid Malt.

Where else can the consumer find a product exhibiting the nutritional attributes and well as the overall eating enjoyment offered by bagels? There aren't very many such products to be found. Good luck in your individual endeavors to make better bagels! I hope my remarks have been of interest and will prove useful to those endeavors.

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