What Does Malt Extract Do in Baking

Baking is a science, and every ingredient plays a crucial role in determining the texture, taste, and overall quality of the final product. One of the ingredients that can make a big difference in baked goods is malt extract.

But what exactly is malt extract, and what does it do in baking? In this article, we will explore the answers to these questions in detail.

What is Malt Extract?

Malt extract is a sweet, sticky syrup that is made from sprouted grains, usually barley. The sprouted grains are dried and then mashed, and the resulting liquid is boiled down into a thick, concentrated syrup. Malt extract is available in two forms – liquid and powder. It is often used as a natural sweetener, and it can also be used as a flavoring agent in baked goods.

How Does Malt Extract Affect Baked Goods?

Malt extract has several effects on baked goods, including:

  1. Adds Flavor: Malt extract has a distinctive, slightly nutty flavor that can add depth and complexity to baked goods. It is often used in bread, biscuits, and cakes to enhance the flavor profile.
  2. Enhances Color: Malt extract has a brownish color that can give baked goods a rich, golden color. It is often used in bread and cakes to create a deeper, more appetizing hue.
  3. Improves Texture: Malt extract can also improve the texture of baked goods. It contains enzymes that break down starches and sugars, which can create a softer, more tender crumb in bread and cakes.
  4. Extends Shelf Life: Malt extract can also help extend the shelf life of baked goods. The enzymes in malt extract can break down complex sugars into simpler sugars, which can make the baked goods more resistant to staling.

How to Use Malt Extract in Baking?

Malt extract can be used in a variety of baked goods, including bread, cakes, and biscuits. Here are a few tips for using malt extract in your baking:

  1. Substitute for Sugar: Malt extract can be used as a substitute for sugar in many baked goods. It is sweeter than sugar, so you may need to adjust the amount you use.
  2. Combine with Yeast: Malt extract can also be combined with yeast to make a natural bread improver. Simply dissolve the malt extract in warm water and add it to your bread dough along with the yeast.
  3. Add to Biscuits and Cakes: Malt extract can be added to biscuit and cake recipes to enhance the flavor and color. Simply mix the malt extract with the other wet ingredients before adding the dry ingredients.


Is malt extract gluten-free?

Malt extract is usually made from barley, which is not gluten-free. However, there are some brands of malt extract that are made from gluten-free grains, such as rice or corn.

Can I substitute malt extract for molasses?

Malt extract and molasses have similar flavor profiles, but they are not interchangeable. Malt extract is sweeter and has a milder flavor than molasses.

Where can I buy malt extract?

Malt extract is available at most health food stores and specialty baking stores. It can also be purchased online.


Malt extract is a versatile ingredient that can add flavor, color, texture, and shelf life to baked goods. It is made from sprouted grains and is available in liquid and powder form.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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