Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

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, and 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, and its technology is now far advanced. In summary the process involves steeping the grain (selected for its malting quality) 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.