Malt is produced in malt houses using a variety of cereal grains. The raw material most often used for this purpose is the barley grain, which provides pale and dark malts for the brewing industry. The process of grain malting lasts 5–8 days and consists of several steps: cleaning and sorting, soaking, drying, pregermination and storage.
The chemical composition of the barley malt is affected by the grain chemical composition and its malting parameters. The hulled barley grain contains: carbohydrates (62–75%), proteins (10.5–14.5%), fats (1.9–2.6%), minerals (2.7–3.1%), B vitamins and vitamin E. The malting industry requirements regarding the chemical composition of barley grains allocated for malt production, concern mainly protein and starch. The most suitable protein content is considered to be 10.0 to 10.8%, while an acceptable content is 9.5 to 11.5%.
Malts are increasingly used as food additives, primarily because of their colour, taste and smell. They can also be used to increase the nutritional value of the product, or even as a carrier of enzymes and a sweetener. Malts can be added to bakery and pastry products, ice cream, malt coffee, cereal grain beverages (coffee alternatives), sauces, soup concentrates, baby foods, etc.
Products based on barley malt are worth consuming due to the increased digestibility of the grain after the malting process. According to the Expert Group on dietary guidelines for lactating women, barley malt is recommended in the diet of lactating women due to its lactogenic properties (increased synthesis of prolactin).