It's not just for the malt-shop anymore!

Why You Want Malt in Your Kitchen

by Debra Karplus

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Do you remember the old Archie comics when Archie and Veronica and friends hung out after school and on the weekends at Pop's Malt Shop? And, you probably watched the popular sit-com Happy Days, which ran from 1974 to 1984, or at least you have viewed reruns; it actually took place during an earlier decade or so and featured numerous scenes and episodes at Arnold's Malt Shop.

These days, you can stand in line at many Dairy Queens, and for a few cents more than a milk shake, you can order a malt. Many local ice cream parlors around the country sell malts in addition to their usual fare of sundaes and cones.

So what exactly is malt?

According to the Huffington Post, malt comes from a cereal grain, typically from barley, but can be from other grains as well. The "malting process" involves soaking the grain, drying it in hot air, and then mashing it. Malt became popular around 1903. If its name sounds familiar, it is because it is a main ingredient in beer, whiskey, and malt vinegar.

Why use malt at home?

Because the grains such as barley already have fructose and sucrose in them, malted grains can be used as a sweetener instead of sugar or honey.

But malt, especially barley malt, has some great nutritional value that is essential to a healthy diet. According to, malt is good for bones because it is high in phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. And because the barley is malted whole with its hull, and the hull contains most of the nutrients, it is high in B Vitamins also.

You may be able to skip that daily dietary supplement that you take each morning and replace it with a spoonful or two of malt in your oatmeal, cold cereal, or yogurt. Or enhance the flavor of your morning brew with a spoonful of barley malt.

What are some other ways to use malt?

If you are into beer making at home, then you already know one use for malt. And for a great hot beverage considered to be a caffeine-free coffee alternative, use barley malt in one of the commercial products such as Pero or Postum that you can find in many supermarkets. A $7 container might last you quite a long time!

If you enjoy making desserts, you'll appreciate the wide variety of recipes for breads and baked goods, such as peanut butter malt cookies found on Do an online search for "recipes using malt," and you will find plenty of ways to use this incredible sweetener.

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Where can you buy malt?

Many of the recipes call for barley malt in its liquid or syrup form, which sells for about $7 for a quart jar. Your local supermarket may not sell barley malt. And maybe your health food store or co-op doesn't either, but they may be happy to special order it for you, so don't be shy about asking. Malt can easily be used it its solid or powder form. Expect to pay about $5 for a two-pound bag. And if you can't find it at a grocery, you might be surprised to find malt in a store that sells beer making supplies like Friar Tuck.

It's definitely worth giving malt a try both for its nutritional value and for its ability to enhance the flavor of your favorite hot and ice cream beverages, breakfast foods, breads, and desserts. Buy a small quantity and try it out. You are likely to go back and buy a larger quantity at a better unit price.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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