Malted Wheat vs. Flaked Wheat – What’s The Difference?

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The practice of beer brewing has been in use for the last 7000 years, and it is done by using different forms of wheat, specifically flaked and malted. Both types of wheat can have different impacts on the resulting brew, so it’s important to be aware of the differences between these two and what effects they have on beer brewing as well as their other uses.

As its name suggests, malted wheat is malted, completely modified grain. On the other hand, flaked wheat is not malted, and it takes more effort to extract the sugar content. Malted wheat or grain is used to make whiskey, beer, malt vinegar, milkshakes, etc., and flaked wheat is lighter, crisper, and widely used in European beers. In this article, we are going to learn about flaked and malted wheat types to understand how they are different from each other and how they impact brews.

What is Malted Wheat?

Normally, malted wheat is used in brewing. What happens is, the grain is steeped in cold water, where it germinates and then dried. After drying, the grain goes through a process in which some enzymes break down complex carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates (sugars) – essential for the fermentation process. 

It has plenty of protein and glucan content, which is an issue when it comes to brewing. To avoid certain problems, the proteins are hydrolyzed so that they become water-soluble and make the malting process easier. In addition, the enzymes that convert complex sugars into simple sugars during malting are actually created in the process; that is, they are not present naturally.

Uses of Malted Wheat

Malted wheat is greatly used in the brewing of beer and is mostly done at homes at low commercial scales. Because of its high sugar content and greater consistency, it is consumed with light dishes and seafood. Moreover, beers made with malted wheat are consumed in hot weather because of their tangy taste and increased acidity that most people enjoy. Malted wheat is also used to make weissbiers that contain around 70% malted wheat and a refreshing taste. Moreover, malted wheat loaves of bread are also made at homes to replace the plain taste of bread.

Benefits of Malting

Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning it cannot be synthesized by the body and is required through diet. Some grains lack this amino acid, and malting changes that by increasing total lysine count in such grains. In addition, it improves the overall composition of amino acids of grains. Malting is known to play a role in enhancing the digestibility of protein and starch. This happens when the proteins and starch become structurally available to enzymes for modification in the malting process.

Phytates and tannins are anti-nutrients that inhibit or prevent the absorption of certain nutrients and lower the overall nutrition profile of a food. Malting helps to eliminate such anti-nutrients and increases the nutrient density of foods. In the case of wheat grains, malting increases nutrient density by modifying sugars and protein structures in them. It also increases the availability of vitamins and minerals present in wheat.

What is Flaked Wheat?

Flaked wheat is similar to unmalted wheat but is flakier and crisper, and more convenient to work with. It has a strong and deep grain flavour and is famous for adding cloudiness to the brew. Flaked wheat brewed beer is a great choice for individuals who prefer light and refreshing beers! In malted wheat, the grains have to be mashed to modify starch by activating certain enzymes. In the case of flaked wheat, we don’t really need to use a masher because the starches are pre-gelatinized.

The pre-gelatinized starch in wheat is a highly digestible form of starch and is dried, pre-cooked, and grounded so it can be used in multiple industries. It is used in brewing, baking, and also in pharmaceutical industries. Flaked wheat also has low enzymatic activity that is beneficial for preparing the wort for the beer.

Uses of Flaked Wheat

Flaked wheat is excellent to give a refreshing mouthfeel and has a crispy, light taste. For these reasons, it is widely used in the making of Belgian and other European beers that are paired with different cuisines that complement the flaky taste of these beers. Flaked wheat adds to the enhanced body and foam stability plus retention. It is used as a substitute of raw wheat or torrified one for quicker conversion and improved yield. Furthermore, it may be used in small amounts to improve head retention and body.

Flaked Wheat vs Flaked Barley

Flaked barley is employed and in use to add unfermentable sugars in the brewing process. This enhances the attenuation limit (total of sugars that the yeast is able to ferment; greater the attenuation limit, lesser the sugar content present) while also adding high molecular weight protein for head retention and greater body and turbidity. Also, flaked barley gives more of a grainy bite to beers and can be used to decrease the need for addicting different wheats.

This wheat product is unmalted and is packed with greater molecular weight protein, which will help to provide foam stability, as well as higher mouthfeel and turbidity. Flaked wheat is similar to unmalted wheat but is flakier and crisper, and more convenient to work with. It has a strong and deep grain flavour and is famous for adding cloudiness to the brew.

So What’s the Difference Between Malted Wheat and Flaked Wheat?

To summarize everything we’ve covered so far, here are some key differences between malted wheat and flaked wheat:

  • Malted wheat is malted, while flaked wheat is not.
  • Flaked wheat is raw, while malted wheat has undergone the malting process.
  • Flaked wheat is lighter than malted wheat.
  • Malted wheat is less crispy than flaked wheat.
  • Flaked wheat produces lighter beers than malted wheat.
  • Flaked wheat is easier to work with than malted wheat.
  • Malted wheat has more sugar content than flaked wheat.
  • Malted wheat has more starch content than flaked wheat.