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.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.)
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