Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Maltster

Malt     or malted grain is grain which has been induced to germinate. It can be had either whole or in milled form. In the West most malt is made from barley, which is chiefly used in making beer and whisky, and for the production of malt vinegar; but it is also important in bread-making, and a little is turned into malt extract.

Malting is the task of maltsters. The process involves steeping the grain until it 'chits', which means that rootlets burst through the seed coatings; letting germination proceed for a limited time, the length of which depends on end use, and then killing the embryos by heat; kilning the 'green malt' to varying degrees of dryness and colour; and milling it, if appropriate.

The purpose of all this is to bring about chemical changes, of which the most important is the secretion by the growing embryo of an enzyme, amylase, which converts starch in the grain to maltose, a sugar. Dextrins, which are gummy carbohydrates with a slightly sweet taste, are also produced. The resulting malt is suitable for fermentation. If beer or vinegar is to be made from it, the milled malt is 'mashed' in hot water to produce a filtered liquid which is the 'wort' of brewers.
- The Oxford Companion To Food, p. 475, Alan Davidson, 2006
Here's my malted wheat and barley. It's the source of the only bread we eat. Mr. Weber would like it to be the source of the only beverage he drinks. I don't have that down yet; but the bread, this I could do with my eyes closed. I make it every week. The final product makes one fine peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (The first photo is after 24 hours, 8 of which was a soak. The next two photos are after 48 hours.)

Photos: Bix


caulfieldkid said...

Let me know when you are ready to tackle the beverage part. I can help :)


Bix said...

No way, you make beer? You're a fanatic cook!

caulfieldkid said...

I'm not sure I would go quite that far. I do get together with some guys on a regular basis to brew. I'm by no means the "brew master," but I do know and understand the process. We're actually getting together tonight. There's talks of possibly getting a stout started. I don't really weigh in on the discussion, of what to make next, anymore. It's understood that I have a standing vote for something with lots of hops (IPA or double IPA etc).

I'm not certain if this has to do with being from the south (certainly it's the perception but I would wager it's pretty much anywhere you go), but it's not difficult to find homemade spirits either. That process is actually easier and quicker than brewing. (I know that by theoretical knowledge only. We don't do any distilling. It's just not worth the risk.)

Anonymous said...

Seldom miss your blog and would like to try this bread. Notice there are no recipes listed today and hope they reappear and when they do, is the bread recipe listed? Hope so. Good news about the tomatoes in glass.


Bix said...

A brew group. Love it. When my husband made beer, I was struck by the amount of work there was in cleaning the bottles. If I ever made it, I would pour it into one big container and put a tap at the bottom. Of course, it would always be at room temperature then.

Bix said...

Hi Marj. I can't recall if I ever posted it. I'll look and if it's not there I'll post a recipe.

It took me about a year to troubleshoot it and I'm still playing with grain ratios. For me, it's fun, one of my hobbies.

caulfieldkid said...

You can use a growler instead of individual bottles. They hold a 1/2 gallon (although I'm sure the size can vary), which is easy to dispose of with a group. They do cut down on the bottling time. Also, many hands make light work.

If want to fork over the cash for the set up you can also keg it.

It's fun, and a general excuse to get together and hang out.