Barley malt syrup is a robust-flavored natural sweetener has become a fixture in the natural foods realm in the last few decades. Find out what it is and how to use it.
With barley malt syrup’s stronger flavor, there’s a tendency to use it sparingly. Its price is more or less in line with other specialty liquid sweeteners. Though it comes from a different source, you could compare it most closely with blackstrap molasses.
Barley malt syrup is 65 percent maltose, a sugar that enters the bloodstream more slowly than simple sugars. The malting process also increases the levels of B vitamins in the product, and it contains trace amounts of some minerals.
How is barley malt syrup made? It’s made by malting barley grains, an elaborate procedure that starts by sprouting the barley and ends by heating the sprouts slowly in brewing vats to make a syrup (this syrup, called wort, is the brewer’s malt used to make beer). The syrup is then drawn off and evaporated, resulting in a highly concentrated sweetener.
What does it taste like? The flavor of this syrup is assertive, and while you can compare it to molasses, as mentioned earlier, it’s not quite as overpowering. It’s almost as thick as molasses and is just as dark and sticky. Barley malt is less sweet than either molasses, honey, maple syrup, or agave.
Where can you buy barley malt syrup? If your local natural foods store doesn’t carry it, you can ask them to special order. And of course, it’s available online wherever natural foods are sold. Shown above is one brand. You’ll most likely encounter Eden Foods brand, but I boycott their products for reasons that I don’t want to go into here.
How do you store it? Store the jars in a cool, dry place to prevent fermentation, and to be safe during warmer months, refrigerate it. If the syrup hardens, place the jar in a pot of hot (not boiling) water until it regains its fluidity.
How do you use barley malt syrup? This useful sweetener that may be used in a number of ways:
- It’s is excellent for use in yeasted breads, such as pumpernickel or rye. Use 3 to 4 tablespoons in a recipe yield 2 loaves. Its use not only contributes to the flavor but encourages the leavening process.
- Barley malt syrup is used in the making of certain varieties of bagels.
- Substitute it for other liquid sweeteners in muffins and quick breads that need a richness rather than a sweetness to their flavoring. Try it in squash or pumpkin breads and bran muffins.
- Use it to glaze sweet potatoes. Combine 1/3 cup of the syrup with an equal amount of hot water in a small bowl to loosen the consistency. Combine the mixture with 2 large partially cooked, peeled, and sliced sweet potatoes in a skillet with 2 tablespoons vegan butter. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until the sweet potatoes are evenly browned and nicely glazed.
- Use it to sweeten hot cereals.
- This syrup makes terrific “malteds.” For 2 servings, combine 1 banana, 1 cup plant-based milk, a few ice cubes, 1 tablespoon cocoa or carob powder, and 1/4 cup barley malt syrup in the container of a blender. Process until frothy.
- Substitute it for blackstrap molasses in any recipe where you find the flavor of molasses too strong, for instance, in homemade barbecue sauce.
A few recipes from around the web:
- Vegan Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Malted Vegan Ice Cream
- Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels
- Russian Rye Bread
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Thank you for your mention of boycotting Eden Foods. I had no idea that Hobby Lobby was not alone! As a mother/woman, I am outraged that Eden Foods would think that they have the right to inflict their religion on their employees. I wish that this topic would get more press. https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/boycott-all-eden-foods-products
Pam, I’m not sure if Eden Foods has changed its stance, as all this happened in 2013-2014. A court order might have reversed this, but I couldn’t find anything definitive. I haven’t changed my stance on Eden, though! Chances are the CEO hasn’t changed. Boycott is a powerful tool and I wish it would be used more. A few years ago, the CEO or owner of Barilla pasta trotted out anti-gay remarks and there was a big hoopla. He changed his stance, had a big epiphany, and did more than apologize. But who needs it? I still don’t buy Barilla. I’d rather support a company that has ethics in the first place, not because they’re pressured to do so. Thanks for your comment!