Home malted wheat, drying methods and efficiency
I have been playing with malting my own wheat and use a couple different drying methods.
Greenhouse drying method: I have several large screens layed flat on the benches inside my greenhouse, spread the malted wheat on these and cover with another screen to protect it in case a bird might find it's way in there. Once dried, this still smells like typical wheat. When it is ran thru a grain crusher, it crackes open pretty good but is not destroyed.
Oven method: I also dry some of my malted wheat on cookie sheets in the oven. I set the oven on "warm" and leave the oven door cracked open. I have not measured the temp in there but would guess it is in the 150-160 range (definitely cooler then the oven's 200 degree setting). The resulting wheat has a slightly nuttier smell to it. When it is crushed it really busts apart, more than the greenhouse dried wheat.
What I am wondering is am I damaging the malted wheat by drying it in the oven? I had a lower than normal efficiency with my last brew (50% home malted oven dried wheat). In the past I have only used my own malted wheat in small amounts and things went well. I feel this time it was something I did and not the malted wheat but want to make sure. I really don't think I did a good enough job sparging and should have used some rice hulls in it. I also could have went with a longer mash time (I did 60 minutes). I was on a time constraint and I am blaming my rushing on the lower O.G. (should have been 1.044, ended up 1.036).
I will be repeating the same recipe again later this week and will be making some changes like those mentioned above. I just want to make sure I didn't screw up my oven dried wheat...any thoughts?
Typically wheat is dried at a temperature much lower than barley, between 95-110. I dry mine in the sun during the summer in large 25lb batches. In the winter or to make small batches I use a food dehydrator. I would guess your going to lose some corversion if you dry at that high of a temperature. That's really not a terrible thing if you just treat the resulting product as a higher kilned specialty grain, like crystal malt, rather than a base malt. Your oven method is almost identical to how I make my caramel wheat malt, except that I usually spritz it with water as it dries at the higher temperature.
Hope this helps.
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