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Fun with Malt Spray

Just for fun, I put 7 oz of warm water and .5 oz of amber medium malt syrup in my spray bottle. This of course is the spray bottle I use to spray my bread dough just before baking, not a new whacky tanning spray!!  I had two – 1 lb loaves of basic white sourdough that I was working with. I sprayed the first loaf with plain water and it came out like this:

Then I made up the mixture and sprayed the second loaf with the malt syrup water combo. Here is what it looks like:

The loaves were about the same length, although you cannot tell in the pictures because of the camera angle,  whichever loaf was in front looked the longest. The loaf that was sprayed with malt syrup and water definitely “opened” up more and was larger. I think the malt/water may have allowed more expansion. Here is a picture of the interior:

The one sprayed with malt is on the right. The malt sprayed loaf had a darker crust which was thinner and crispier. The water sprayed loaf was lighter, had more definition, a better “ear” and was crunchier. Neither one was better. It would be whatever your preference is. I liked them both and did not have a preference, but it was fun to try it out and see what happened. I do think if you spray with a malt/water mixture, it is better not to slash as deeply.

Have fun baking, I always do!  Teresa

Edited to add: Pour out your leftover malt/water mixture when you are done and clean out the bottle really well or you will end up with a molded mess. Also, experiment with adding even more malt to the water to see what results you get.

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14 Comments

  1. September 2, 2010    

    Salt and sugar are hygroscopic as well, a small amount of molasses or malt syrup won’t hurt your crust. Your problem may be over proofing because yes the flaps won’t sit up and give you pretty ears if you over proof, but it is also the hydration of the dough. You need to be around 63 – 64 % or less for good ears. A really wet dough won’t give you ears.

  2. September 2, 2010    

    No, I’m slashing as a “flap” the blade is horizontal when it goes in. Does it have to do with the proofing? Because you say these loaves are slightly underproofed and the slashing looks great. I know when overproofing was my problem previously, that the slashes were completely 2-D.
    These loaves can’t have proofed the same amount of time if they went in one after the other right? They still are developing in the fridge?
    I ended up not using molasses this time because I remembered it’s a humectant and I didn’t want moisture to be drawn to my crust! 🙂

  3. September 1, 2010    

    No don’t slash on the diagonal, slash parallel to the length. Think of slashing a flap rather than a cut. You should be slashing sideways at an angle instead of downwards. Maybe I should give you some private lessons!

  4. September 1, 2010    

    Oh, and I also slash on the diagonal and my ears still do not come out as 3-D as yours. Isn’t their a guesstimate as far as depth? I would guess I’m slashing about 1/2″ in, and even though that seems deep to me, I can tell my bread is still being constricted.

  5. September 1, 2010    

    I agree with drfugawe, ithe interior and ears look exactly the same as a loaf I got into the oven on time and one that I let proof just a tad too long…I’m guessing the malt sprayed loaf went in last? The color is pretty! I dont’ have malt syrup but maybe I will try molasses.

    • September 1, 2010    

      I think you can see from the picture that both loaves were slightly underproofed. Notice the tearing of the crust. So it isn’t a case of one being proofed and one being overproofed. They were proofed for the same amount of time, I was just guessing that the malt on the crust may have allowed a longer expansion time hence the more open crumb and the larger looking loaf. Who knows!

  6. TONYK TONYK
    August 23, 2010    

    RE: DIASTATIC MALT POWDER —

    I GOT SOME WHEAT STRAIGHT FROM THE FIELD FROM A FRIEND AND THEN SPROUTED IT AND THEN DRIED IT AND GROUND IT IT MAKE THE MALT POWDER AND IT WORKS WONDERFULLY WELL — I THINK EVEN BETTER THAN THAT WHICH I BOUGHT — WHAT FUN !!!! — I AM LUCKY TO LIVE IN AN AGRICULTURAL WHERE I CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN —

    TONYK

  7. August 23, 2010    

    I love the big pockets of air. However I’m struggling to get my crumb to be anything more than a uniform small bubbles. Any tips? Could it be that I am handling the dough too much when I shape it for proofing?

    • August 25, 2010    

      Hi David, make sure your baking stone is REALLY hot. Preheat for at least an hour. Also, the wetter doughs make larger holes easier, but a lower hydration dough will also produce nice holes if the dough isn’t cold and you have a full proof. Don’t compress the dough too much when handling it and make sure to use the roasting pan method of steaming, it helps the dough expand more fully. Teresa

  8. August 23, 2010    

    Hi Tony, slash the bread like a flap instead of straight down and slash it somewhat parallel to the length instead of diagonally. I would try the diastatic malt powder mixed with the water, what could you lose by experimenting? Just remember to have fun!

    Hi Patty, I get my malt powder online. There are many places where you can purchase it, just Google, ” malt powder” and see what you come up with. However, I did use malt syrup for this experiment. I think you can get malt syrup in any brewery supply or health food store.

  9. Patty Patty
    August 23, 2010    

    Hi Teresa! Where do you get malt powder, besides at a brewery? I always use brown sugar when that’s called for in a recipe. I like the color you got using the malt spray!

  10. TONYK TONYK
    August 23, 2010    

    I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS —

    HOW DEEP DO YOU SLASH THE BREAD TO GET THE NICE EAR AND LARGE SEPARATION —

    I HAVE DIASTATIC MALT POWDER, COULD I MIX THAT WITH WATER TO GET THE SAME SOLUTION AS YOU SPRAYED ON THE LOAVES —

    TONYK

  11. August 23, 2010    

    Hi Dr. Fugawe, not a scientific experiment, just for fun. Although the dough was weighed and timed, they were baked one after the other. And yes, they could have been different even in the same baked batch, but I was just trying to see what a maltsyrup/water mixture might look like. It was good, I did like the outcome. The crusts were different enough that I think the experiment had some merit. As far as crispy and crunchy…. I have always thought of crispy as being a light crackly thinner crust and crunchy as being a thicker harder more bite kind of crust. The malt/water loaf would have been even darker if I had used even more malt to water ratio, try it out and see what you get.

  12. August 23, 2010    

    Interesting!

    Did they both bake at the same time? And both had the same proofing time, etc.? But this is a complex game we play – I’ve often baked two “identical” loaves, and they didn’t look the same after baking – ???

    I see you also make a distinction between crispy and crunchy – I’ve always thought of these as identical – what’s your definitional difference?

    Looking at your pics, I’d have expected the loaf with the malt spray to have been much browner yet than it turned out – Yes?

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