What is a Malthouse?
This past fall we ventured to a different farm for pumpkin picking and I noticed a sign for “Deer Creek Malthouse” – the sign also said “No Customers Past This Point” which of course peaked my curiosity! What could be going on in that red barn on the hill? Covert Artisinal Farm-to-Table Malted Milk Ball Making? Some kind of prohibited distilling of illegal spirits? How are deer involved? I hit the computer as soon as I got home and found this site. It said,
“Welcome to Deer Creek Malthouse, the first commercial malthouse in Pennsylvania since prohibition. We provide craft brewers and distillers with high quality, sustainably farmed, artisan malts that bring truly local character and innovation to the craft beverage tradition.”
I was intrigued! Wanting to learn more about this malting process, I sent an email and received a reply from “Mark Brault, Owner, Chief Maltster” – best title ever – “Maltster”! I told Mark I pictured him with his feet up on a desk surrounded by apothecary jars filled with malted milk balls – kind of Willy Wonka-esque with a fleet of deer Oompa Loompa’s?! He replied that there was no desk or malted milk balls, but he’d be happy to show me around in exchange for baked goods! Yay! Field Trip! I rounded up a couple friends to go with me, Beth MacKenzie, former third grade student of mine and now a Certified Brewmaster and her Mom, Nancy, cooking contest champion and former teacher colleague!
Follow along on the photo tour of the Malthouse here:
We learned about the whole old-school malting process, got to taste malted grains and brews made with the malt. I even went home with a goodie bag of sample grains to test in some recipes! Yes, you can grind the malted grain and use as a flour. Depending what variety of grain it is and how long the grains spend in the kiln determines the flavor profile. The pilsner malted wheat grains were the lightest taste of the samples I received with a roasty-toasty-nutty-sweet flavor and just a hint of bitterness. Think of all the recipe possibilities!
I decided to try a malted wheat cookie – I thought the flavor would go well with an oatmeal cookie base along with some tart dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. I milled some of the pilsner malted wheat in my KitchenAid® All Metal Grain Mill® to add in as part of the flour and I also added some whole pilsner wheat grains in place of any nuts in the cookies. They do have a nice toasted crunch. The malted flavor turned out to be a perfect fit in the oatmeal cookie, it added a “roasty-toasty” maltiness and a nutty crunch to the moist-chewy cookies that we all loved! I’m excited to try out some more ideas…yeast bread…gravy…soft pretzels!
A Few Tips to Share:
Malted Grain Tips:
- You can make these cookies without malted wheat, just substitute the milled malted wheat with additional flour and the whole malted wheat for nuts or oats.
- You can buy malted grains at home brew supply stores.
Using KitchenAid All Metal Grain Mill:
- Make sure to read the Use & Care Guide that comes with the unit, there is a step before you mill for the first time where you want to wash the mineral oil off the grinding burrs that is used to avoid rust during storage (unit is all metal). If you don’t wash the oil off on that first use, the burrs could become clogged affecting the grinding action.
- Also included in the package is a two-sided cleaning brush and screw-driver tool. (photo below) The brush can be used to brush the unit clean and the screw driver fits perfectly in the screws on the front of the unit.
- Flour ground with the grain mill will have a coarser texture than commercially ground flour, as all the parts of the grain are utilized. You can remill the grain on a finer setting and you can also pass the flour through a fine mesh sieve to remove any remaining larger pieces if a finer texture is desired.
- The grain mill is only suggested for low-moisture, non-oily grains such as: wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, barley and millet.
- I found two youTube videos that are helpful for usage tips for the KitchenAid All Metal Grain Mill. Here’s one that shows milling and recipes usage and the other that focuses on cleaning and assembly.
Alternate Milling Methods:
- Here’s a site that explains alternate milling methods.
Pilsner Malt Oatmeal Cookies: Step-by-Step Recipe Tutorial:
Pilsner Malt Oatmeal Cookie with Dried Cherries and Dark Chocolate
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup malted wheat flour (I used pilsner)*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup whole malted wheat (I used pilsner)
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to combine and remove any lumps. Set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla. Gradually add in dry ingredient mixture.
- Stir in whole malted wheat, chocolate chips, cherries and oats.
- Scoop rounded 1-tablespoon portions and place them 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes until starting to brown, but still a little soft in the center.
- Cool for a minute on baking sheet then remove to rack to cool. Store in an airtight container. Freezes well.