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Old 11-29-2007, 09:31 PM   #1
Chad
 
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Diastatic malt powder is used in baking to help convert some of the starches in flour into sugars that the bread yeast can eat. In theory it can give you more a more active rise and better texture in the bread.

In practice, however, I've found that this stuff just causes my bread to overproof and become flabby and hard to form. Thus it just sits on my shelf. I was glaring at it the other day, resenting what I'd spent on it when the words diastatic and malt lit up my little grey cells. Duh! These are the same diastatic enzymes used to convert starches to sugars in the mash. Man, I felt like an idiot. Sure enough, Ingredients: Malted barley flour, wheat flour and dextrose. So I've got a bag of malted barley with active enzymes, some wheat flour and some corn sugar. Any reason not to stir a pound of this into my next mash? I've got some poorly crushed grains that could certainly use a little more diastatic oomph, the wheat would probably add a little mouthfeel and body and the dextrose is just a fermentable sugar.

There's a risk of a stuck sparge with adding what is physically very much like a pound of flour to the mash, but other than that does anyone see a reason this wouldn't work?

Thanks,
Chad


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Old 11-29-2007, 09:46 PM   #2
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DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!









(sorry, I'm a little punchy right now.)



 
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad
I've got some poorly crushed grains that could certainly use a little more diastatic oomph, the wheat would probably add a little mouthfeel and body and the dextrose is just a fermentable sugar.
I don't think the problem with poorly crushed grains is the diastatic power, I think it's just that the insufficiently-crushed kernels don't allow as much of the starch to make it into solution - in which case upping your diastatic power wouldn't help much.

If you were trying to use a large amount of adjuncts without diastatic power it might help... Could be useful for partial mashes. But, I would think that by the time you added all that flour to the mix, you'd just be doing more harm than good.

 
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
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I just made a beer that included a loaf and a half of Swedish rye bread, probably about 4 cups worth of the two flour combined, baked, then processed into crumbs and added to a mash of 2.5 lbs 6 row and 1.5 lbs pale malt, 0.5 lb crystal, 6 oz Special B and 6 oz aromatic. OG ended up at 1.052. Smells great. It goes into secondary this weekend

 
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:00 PM   #5
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A pound or two certainly won't hurt. You could probably even make beer out of it, although it would be a bit strange as Diastatic malts tend to be formulated to have very little flavor.
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:08 PM   #6
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The diastatic malt flour is made from grinding the thin barley malt cleaned out of brewers malt. The thin kernels are higher in protein and enzyme levels and work for this application. The malt flour will work fine in a mash if you need added enzymes for starch breakdown. It may come in handy if you wanted to make a wheat beer high in unmalted wheat and low in malted barley. Unless you have a thick grain bed in your lauter tun, the added flour should not be a big problem at say a pound or so.

Dr Malt

 
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:53 PM   #7
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Okay, the grand experiment is tomorrow. I'm doing a parti-gyle brew with a double mash. The first runnings from both mashes will be made into an Old Ale (about 1.090) for long aging and the second/third runnings will become a Mild (1.036 or so). I'm going to add 1/2lb of the diastatic malt powder to each mash and see what happens. At worst, nothing. At best, I might get a little better conversion. In either case I get this stuff off my shelf and put it to good use. Should be interesting.

Chad
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:54 PM   #8
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Somewhat unrelated, but have you tried experimenting with dough folding during the fermentation?

I did this for the first time yesterday after I had a bad experience earlier in the week (dough soup on the baking stone...bread was good, just not formed).

I made a 78% hydrated dough yesterday and was able to shape it into great batards with this technique. At an hour, you just pour the dough out, fold it like an envelope twice, and put it back. I did it again at 2 hours, then shaped.

 
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:55 PM   #9
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Yup, it's a handy technique for wet doughs. I tend to run my whole wheat breads at about 75% hydration, pizza doughs and things like that about 65%, so gentle folding makes life much easier. There was a lot of attention to the folding method earlier this year when the NY Times did a "no knead" bread recipe. Their version was startlingly similar to the technique that British baker Dan Lepard has been using for years, but it did generate a lot of buzz.

Chad
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:32 PM   #10
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Okay, the experiment is complete. The results are here. In short, the diastatic malt powder helped (I think). My efficiency numbers were great. However, the flour made draining the mash tun a tooth grinding experience. The first mash was like mud. It took nearly two hours to drain and sparge 12 pounds of grain+goo. I added rice hulls to the second mash and it was much easier to deal with.

I'm glad I did it. I'm glad the stuff was put to good use. I'll never do it again.

Chad


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