Malt flavoring is an extract that can be used to make a variety of edible items, including beer, whiskey, milkshakes and certain candies and baked goods. The term “malt” comes from the process associated with making malt flavoring, “malting.” The origins of malt flavoring are simple, but it can be used to create a number of different food items.


Malt

Malt is normally made from barley, a grain. It can also be made from other grains. It is turned into malt flavoring with a process called “malting.” Malt can be brewed at home with the proper equipment and knowledge or it can be purchased in a grocery store. Malt extract comes in two forms: a liquid and a dried version. The liquid form is generally darker in color, either brown or black, while dried malt is usually white or pale beige.

Process

Malt flavoring is made by germinating barley or other grains. This is a process that occurs by soaking the grains in water. Then, after they are thoroughly soaked, the grains are dried with hot air that is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit to stop the germination. If the germination is not stopped in time, the plant will begin to grow. This process alters the grain’s starches, turning them into sugar. From here, the malt is ready to be made into an extract, malt flavoring, and then added to a variety of foods and drinks.

Uses of Malt Flavoring

Malt flavoring is most frequently used in the brewing of beer. After the malting process is complete, the substance goes through a second process, called “mashing.” During this process, the sugars are extracted from the malt to remove sweetness. This produces a viscous liquid called wort, which, when concentrated, is malt extract. Malt flavoring is also used in a variety of foods, including baked goods and breads, breakfast cereals, milkshakes and candies.

Cautionary Information

Many food products specify on the packaging as to whether there is gluten in the food. Since malt flavoring comes from barley, it is not always guaranteed to be gluten free. Gluten is a complex combination of proteins found in the grain. For people with Celiac disease or another illness that causes them to have gluten sensitivity, foods with malt flavoring should be avoided. If these individuals eat or drink something containing malt flavoring, contact emergency professionals.