Barley malt has been used to make beer and whiskey for many centuries and is also a common ingredient in home-brewed beer. Available in many grocery stores or online, it isn’t hard to get hold of. Still, you might find it enjoyable to try making at home. In this article, we’ll discover how to make barley malt syrup from scratch with just a few ingredients.
What You'll Learn Today
What is Barley Malt Syrup Made Of?
Malt is traditionally made from grains of barley that have been sprouted and then heated to make a syrup. This is then extracted from the remaining grain. Malt extract is made by evaporating the syrup to produce a highly concentrated sweetener.
Sprouting the barley using water and heat unlocks enzymes within it, releasing its full nutrient power. The sugar in malt syrup is made up of 65% maltose which is assimilated slowly into the bloodstream, unlike other simple sugars.
What Does Barley Malt Syrup Taste Like?
Barley Malt syrup is a dark brown sticky liquid with a moderately sweet taste. It is less sweet than other syrups such as honey, molasses, agave, or maple syrup.
It tastes of malt, which is used in products such as Ovaltine or the chocolate-covered candy Maltesers.
Where Can I Buy Barley Malt Syrup?
It is generally easy to find in natural food stores, and you may even find it in some grocery stores. One sure way of getting some is by shopping online.
How to Store Barley Malt Syrup
If you buy or make barley malt syrup, it needs to be kept in a cool, dry place, especially during warmer months when you may prefer to refrigerate it.
Home-made syrup must be stored in sterilized glass jars with a resealable airtight lid. This is because the syrup can ferment.
Should you find your syrup has gone hard, you can soon loosen it up by placing the jar in warm water. Don’t place your jar in boiling water as it may break.
How to Use Barley Malt Syrup
It can be used in yeasted bread such as rye or pumpernickel. Simply add a few tablespoons to the recipe, and it will impart its flavor and help with the rise. It’s also found in the ingredients of some bagel varieties.
Use it in place of sweeteners for baked goods, on cereal, or in hot milk drinks. You can also substitute it for blackstrap molasses in homemade barbecue sauce.
Is Barley Malt Syrup Healthy?
Barley malt syrup has a broad range of health benefits. It is full of antioxidants, five times as many as fresh broccoli, and 50% more than blueberries.
It is also filled with vitamins, minerals, micro minerals, and amino acids, which support health in a variety of ways. It can also help to strengthen the heart, lower the risk of infection, inhibit some forms of cancer, and promote anti-aging.
Professional athletes use malt extract to help them recover and is also helpful for gut health as it feeds good gut bacteria assisting with the absorption of essential nutrients that can prevent illness and enhance overall wellbeing.
Sometimes it can be hard to stay cheerful, but malt syrup can help there too. It contains Hordenine, a compound that has been found to boost happiness by activating the dopamine D2 receptor in the brain.
Malting also increased vitamin B levels which are nutritionally beneficial and help with:
- Brain function
- Cardiovascular health
- Cell health
- Energy levels
- Hormones and cholesterol production
- Muscle tone
- Proper nerve function
- Red blood cell production
(The above section is intended for information purposes only and not as any form of medical, diet, or other health guidance.)
Making Barley Malt Syrup
If you’d like to try making your own barley malt syrup, it is a straightforward, if somewhat time-consuming, process.
2 lbs of wholegrain unhulled barley
Fresh, clean water
- In a large sieve or collider, thoroughly wash the barley until the water runs clear.
- Place the grain into a large pot and cover with water adding an additional few inches of water on top. Leave overnight.
- The next morning, drain off the water and allow the grain to breathe for a few hours by spreading it out on a tray.
- Soak the grains again in fresh water until the evening, then strain off the water and tip the grains into a clean cotton cloth or teatowel.
- Fold up the corners of the cloth and secure firmly so the grains cannot escape.
- Soak the fabric in water and wring out the excess.
- Hang the cloth up overnight.
- The following morning unwrap the cloth and spray the grains thoroughly with water. Close the fabric and spray it with water regularly throughout the day to keep it moist.
- Do the same thing again each day until the grains are well sprouted and ¼ to ½ inch in length. This usually takes around 3 to 5 days.
- Dry the sprouted grain by spreading it out thinly in a food dehydrator or in an oven placed on its lowest heat setting. You can also use the hot sun by spreading it out on clean, black plastic.
- Once dry, using a rolling pin, crush and mash the sprouts. Spread them out in a layer on a baking tray and place into a low oven set between 200°F and 250°F until you see a thick dark syrup forming from the sprouts. Pay close attention as you don’t want them to burn.
- Strain off the syrup to remove all the impurities and bottle it in sterilized glass jars with tight-fitting lids.
In this video, you can see barley being processed to the malting stage at home:
Barley malt syrup can be found quite easily in stores or online. If you’d like to try making it yourself, it can be quite a fun process. However, the amount of syrup you can produce is likely to be relatively small, as it takes large quantities of sprouted barley to make even a minimal volume.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about making barley malt syrup, you can find other barley-related articles, along with many more about animals and farming, on our site.