Many individuals are familiar with malt powder due to its one-time popularity at soda fountain shops. The substance has many other uses, however, including its perhaps unexpected involvement in beer brewing. Particular needs for the powder will thus largely dictate your powder choice. In addition, taste is an important factor, particularly the sweetness level of the product. Other considerations include storage method, nutritional value, and a clear distinction between malt powder and malted milk powder.
For a truly authentic malt experience, you should make sure that you are choosing a malt powder product rather than a malted milk powder product. The former is made from barley, so products containing pure barley are considered real malt powders. Malted milk powder, on the other hand, often includes ingredients like wheat and powdered milk. Although malt powder may be more expensive and harder to locate, it usually provides a more intense flavor.
Other flavor variables may inform a powder decision as well. Some brands produce an overall sweeter taste than others, which may or may not parallel your preferences. Online consumer reviews can provide an idea of this and other particular brand differences. Many malt powder users do observe that well-known supermarket brands often possess a slightly sweeter taste than lesser known brands found in natural foods stores or by mail order. If you desire still more enhanced taste, several brands offer the powder in various flavors such as strawberry or chocolate.
You might also evaluate what use you will have for the product. Generally, malt powder may be either diastatic or nondiastatic. Nondiastatic is perhaps more commonplace, and it serves as sweet flavoring for substances ranging from milkshakes to pancakes. When malted milk is created, this substance can then be used as an ingredient in sweet candies like malted milk balls.
In contrast, a diastatic powder works well for bread making because it breaks down starch, which induces rising. The beer brewing process may be eased with this substance as well. Further, diastatic powders give substances a shiny and brown appearance. They are less sweet than non-diastatic powder forms, which explains the differing uses.
Since malted milk has the consistency of sugar, it is also subject to the same storage drawbacks as sugar. Both products tend to harden when exposed to moisture. As such, a powder will function better if it comes sealed in an airtight container. A product with a resealable top is even more beneficial.
Health and dietary information is another important factor in many edible products, including malt powder. Advocates have long boasted about the perceived health benefits of this substance in comparison to sugars. Brands that mostly contain maltose sugar may indeed offer some dietary positives, as this sugar type does not typically raise the concentration of blood sugar. A true malt powder is also usually fat-free.