Barley malt: properties of this natural sweetener

Less caloric than sugar, barley malt is a natural sweetener obtained from the germination of barley and can be used either alone, spread on bread, or as a sweetener for baked goods. Let’s see its nutritional properties and benefits.

Barley malt is a sweetener of natural origin that is obtained from the maceration and subsequent germination of the homonymous cereal. Barley is a cereal belonging to the Graminacee family, from its processing a very sugary product is obtained , which can be used both to sweeten drinks and sweets, and to facilitate the leavening process of leavened products. Malt can also be obtained from other grains such as corn, wheat or rice.

Barley malt exists both in liquid form, with a consistency similar to a syrup, and dry. The processing cycle consists of several moments and takes place in special processing factories, called malterie.

The barley grains are first macerated in large containers filled with water, which will be absorbed causing them to become swollen. They are then placed in germination chambers for about 7-10 days. Finally, to stop the development, drying and then cooking in water will be carried out. Barley malt has a lower sweetening power than common sugar, with a bitter aftertaste.

Barley malt: calories and nutritional values

Barley malt provides about 320 calories per 100 grams, therefore less than those of white sugar, which are about 390. Its sweetening power is due to the large presence of simple sugars, in particular maltitol. Below is the table with the nutritional values ​​of barley malt.

Nutritional values ​​per 100g of barley malt:

  • Kilocalories: 318
  • Fat: 0 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 71.3 gr
  • Of which sugars: 71.3 gr
  • Waterfall: 21 gr
  • Proteins: 6.2 gr
  • Fibers: 0 gr
  • Soccer: 61 mg
  • Iron: 0.96 mg
  • Phosphorus: 236 mg
  • Potassium: 320 mg
  • Sodium: 35 mg
  • Magnesium: 72 mg
  • Thiamine or vitamin B1: 0.01 mg
  • Riboflavin or vitamin b2: 0.39 mg
  • Niacin or vitamin B3: 8.12 mg
  • Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5: 0.17 mg
  • Pyridoxine or vitamin B6: 0.5 mg

Barley malt: nutritional properties

Unlike white sugar, barley malt has a high mineral content, especially phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. The predominant sugar is maltose. Let’s see the characteristics of the components most represented in this sweetener.

  • Phosphorus: phosphorus enters the composition of various enzymes, thus participating in numerous processes that take place in the body. Furthermore, we find it in bones and teeth, so it is important not to have a deficiency of this mineral in order not to have problems with the osteoarticular system. In barley malt we find 236 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams;
  • Potassium: Potassium is a mineral present in abundance in barley malt, about 320 mg per 100 grams. It is excellent for counteracting arterial hypertension and water retention, thanks to its diuretic effect which allows to eliminate excess fluids;
  • Magnesium: Magnesium, like potassium, is also essential for the contraction of muscle fibers and for the transmission of nerve impulses. Its deficiency can cause muscle cramps, nervousness and insomnia;
  • Maltose: Maltose is a simple sugar, in particular a disaccharide, formed by the union of two glucose molecules. It has a higher glycemic index than glucose.

Barley malt: health benefits

The consumption of malt, compared to white sugar in the diet, has several advantages. Let’s see below what are all the benefits of barley malt.

✓ Has energizing power

In barley malt there are also slow-release sugars, which make it possible to supply energy over time. The richness of minerals then makes it a suitable food for those who practice sports, perhaps accompanied by a source of fiber and a protein source to lower the glycemic index. Also ideal in case of debilitation to give a boost of energy.

✓ Has anti-inflammatory properties

In a study, barley malt, produced by a controlled germination process, was shown to produce high levels of butyric acid in the serum of rats and can therefore have anti-inflammatory effects. These rats were fed a high-fat diet, and the administration of barley malt increased the levels of butyric acid, which stimulates the proliferation of good bacteria and has anti-inflammatory action. The glycation products present in barley malt, however, partially canceled its effects.

✓ Easy to digest

In barley malt we find some elements, present in sprouted barley, which favor digestion. In order not to cancel this effect, it is good not to consume barley malt with large and high-fat meals, which slow down digestion.

✓ Helps in cancer prevention

In 2010, two Italian researchers discovered that from maltol , a substance present in malt but also in chicory, coffee and coconut, it was possible to obtain substances with anti-carcinogenic properties.

✓ Promotes leavening

The addition of barley malt to the doughs that need to rise facilitates the leavening. This applies to both sweet and savory doughs. The substances contained in barley malt, in fact, help the yeasts to develop better and therefore to make the doughs grow. In addition, it also increases its digestibility.

Barley malt: some usage tips

Barley malt can be used as a sweetener for coffee or other beverages such as tea and herbal teas. It can be used simply on bread, preferably wholemeal, or instead of sugar in the preparation of desserts. Finally, it can be added in small quantities to leavened products to facilitate leavening.

Barley malt can be used as a natural sweetener for both drinks and desserts. In particular it is indicated in baked goods because its composition favors the activity of yeasts, enhancing both the flavor and the scent of the finished product.

To replace sugar with barley malt, the percentage of water contained in it must be taken into account and therefore use 120 g of malt instead of 100 grams of granulated sugar, reducing the liquids contained in the recipe (eliminating 20 grams or increasing the flour). It can also be used on its own, simply by spreading it on bread or adding it to vegan cheeses like honey.

Barley malt is widely used in sports nutrition. The sugars contained in it have a prolonged action over time and therefore constantly provide energy.

We now propose a vegan recipe based on barley malt : very, very fast sesame seed bars. The ingredients are: 250g sesame seeds, 100g barley malt, 60g brown sugar. The procedure is just as quick: you have to dissolve the malt in a saucepan, as soon as it begins to boil, add the sugar and seeds and let it cook for 5/10 minutes. Turn off and spread the mixture on a sheet of baking paper evenly. Allow to cool not completely and cut into bars to the desired size. Wait for them to cool completely before enjoying them. They keep up to 10 days in a hermetically sealed container.

Barley malt: contraindications and potential negative effects

Barley malt cannot be consumed by celiacs, as barley is a cereal that contains gluten and there may be traces in the malt that derives from its germination. Diabetics can not use barley malt, due to the high sugar content in it.


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