WHAT IS IT?
Malt vinegar is a vinegar made from an ale (beer) that is, itself, made from malted barley. The powdered, dry, version uses IP maltodextrin, an unsweet, neutral-flavored starch chain, as a “flavor truck,” that captures the flavors of the vinegar.
What is vinegar? It’s the result of bacteria that convert an ethanol, drinkable alcohol, like wine, or a beer, into acetic acid.
The powder is hugely useful in coating foods, producing dry mixes where the liquid would not work as well, and in more carefully controlling the amount of acetic acid added to liquid foods, and beverages.
Malt vinegar is famous for its considerably sour front with a mild, nutty sweetness at the end of its run on the palette. It is that nutty, toasted barley sweet that distinguishes it from other forms of vinegar.
Acetic acid bacteria is found commonly over most parts of the world. Vinegars date back to 3000 BC, extensively used by ancient civilizations including China, Egypt, and early European civilizations.
Malt vinegar is a cereal (grain) vinegar, which is unique in Europe to the British isles. Its exact point-of-origin
- Added to malt powders used in milk shakes;
- Potato chip dry flavoring;
- Added to seasoning for poultry, fish;
- Beer base.
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- A tangy twist: Sprinkle a tiny bit on top as a finish for flan;
- In the dry rub of my Ribs N’ Chips for a bit of sour-nutty that defines these British-themed bones;
- Lightly coat a tomato, before topping my Britburger™, a cheeseburger with a top layer of cheddar and a bottom layer of melted stilton, a criss-cross of bacon, and a smattering of english beans. No pickles required with a tomato tart tang!
- My Bogus Baked Beans – Toss a touch of tomato paste, malt vinegar powder, brown sugar, and bacon bits into a can of white beans in the pan to maintain the thick, but make beans quick!
The word “vinegar” originated from the Old French words vin alegar, which translates as “sour wine,” but it goes back much further than that, probably to the origins of man. The Babylonians were the first to write about it extensively.
Malt vinegar is unique because it was the first cereal-based grain vinegar in Europe, most likely originated in Scotland, or Northern England, where the grain was traditionally farmed. Cereal-based vinegars go back millennia in China. The addition of malting the grain, germinating it, then drying it out, before fermenting it, was a unique contribution to vinegar by the Scots or the Britons.
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