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Jul 1, 2006 08:00 AM

Malt / Ovaltine thoughts

I was playing around with ovaltine tonight.
A few weeks ago, some dear Chowhound posted an intriguing recipe for a malted cheesecake, that I shopped and prepared for, and wanted badly to make, but it hasn't happened like that yet.
So now I have Ovaltine in my cupboard, which is malt to my best knowledge, and I'm kind of facinated by the taste.
What is malt, and is there better malt than Ovaltine out there?
The Ovaltine is interesting taste, but then it has this lingering backtaste that I associate with super-packaged artificial supermarket shelf products, (not to mention it's way too sweet, which is why I mixed it with butter and unsweetened chocolate)
I recall a JamaicanAmerican friend of mine waxing poetic about a Guiness/malt drink she enjoyed as a kid, and her sister craved anything malt during her own pregnancy.
So what is malt, where do you get it, and did any of you grow up with it? Any malt recipes? and where is malt going, because even those Ovaltine jars are hard to find.

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  1. According to the King Arthur Flour catalog, malt powder is made from barley malt, wheat, milk, and a touch of salt. I've used it as a flavoring ingredient in baked goods, and of course it's the stuff you add to a milk shake to make it a malt.

    To my knowledge, Ovaltine probably contains malt powder and some other preservative ingredients. -- Okay, here's what I found from a Google search: barley and malt extract, dried skimmed milk, sugar, whey powder, glucose syrup, vegetable fat, full cream milk powder, fat reduced cocoa, caseinates, egg powder, emulsifier, stabilisers, flavouring and vitamins. I also found another site that suggested that dried, powdered beef broth might be an ingredient -- maybe it depends on where it's made, or what country/market it's intended for.

    There is also a separate chocolate-flavored Ovaltine that makes something like chocolate milk when mixed with milk.

    1. You can get a can of Carnation malt. Ovaltine is a drink mix. Doesn't anybody remember Captain Video? HeeHeeHee

      1. I have here a jar of "European Formula" Ovaltine made in Thailand. The ingredients are: barley malt extract, skim milk, cocoa processed with alkali, whey, glucose syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (may contain one or more of the following: soybean oil, sheanut oil, palm oil), eggs, salt, vanillin (an artificial flavor), vitamins and minerals.


        1. Malt, as you probably have figured out, is usually short for 'barley malt.' To understand barley malt, one needs to first take a look at

          After you've got barley under your belt, take a gander at

          Finally, you've got

          Ovaltine contains malt as an ingredient, but it is definitely not the same thing as malt nor is it the same thing as malted milk.

          The artificial backtaste you're picking up could be a number of ingredients. My money is on the vitamins or the dried skim milk. It's overly sweet because the sugar hides (or partially hides) the off taste of the dried milk and the vitamins AND because it's for kids, who like sweet beverages.

          The most easily obtained formed of malt is, as a previous poster mentioned, carnation malted milk. Almost every supermarket I've come across carries it. If you're looking for pure malt without the milk, I'd track down a beermaking supplier. Those are a lot harder to find. If you do go the beermaking route, make sure you purchase non-diastatic malt (for flavoring) rather than diastitic malt (for brewing).

          The malt drink your friend grew up with was probably in the exact same vein as malta goya:

          If your supermarket has a Latino section or if you live near a Latino grocer they should have malta goya or another brand of malt drink. Just a warning, if the sweetness of ovaltine is a bit of a turn off for you, malta goya will send you cringing. Malta goya is sweeter than sweet. I think it's one of those things you need to grow up with.

          I grew up with carnation malted milk and malted milk balls. Although I still enjoy them once in a while, my favorite form of malt is beer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scott123

            Wow, just about all the secrets to malt are now unlocked.
            I think my friend would have an ice cream float with the Malta Goya, but God that does sound sickeningly sweet.
            I'll be on the seach for Horlicks now. Thank you all.

          2. If you want unflavored. unsweetened malt powder without all the additives in Ovaltine, the kind you can mix in a glass of milk or a shake, or use in baked goods or psncakes (or make malted milk ice cream with, mmm), the best brand is Horlicks. It's got a much better, maltier flavor than Carnation, but it seems no ice cream parlors (not even mom-and-pop types) use it. (This is apparently kind of an obsession of Jim Leff's; I first learned about Horlicks from reading a bunch of posts of his from years ago on the old board). Horlicks can be a bit hard to track down. You can buy it from the Vermont Country Store for something like $8 a jar (plus shipping, of course), but apparently it's mostly popular in Asian countries now, so if you have access to a large Chinese (especially Hong Kong) supermarket, you'll likely find it there. I recently found that an Indian market in my neighborhood sells lots of Horlicks products (made in India) in large jars for a few bucks, mostly flavored - chocolate, vanilla, etc. - similar to Ovaltine but with a lot less crap, but I think also plain (I didn't look that closely, as we have a good stock already). It seems to be markted (like Ovaltine was back in the day, I guess, as a nutritional beverage for your growing tyke.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Mmmm, Horlicks. The malt drink of choice of all discerning South Africans! You can try South african online mail order places. Where are you located? It's probably in the Brit/SA section of Fairway in NYC. A milkshake made with horlicks, vanilla ice cream and milk is a gustatory delight.

              Milo is a chocolatey version of malt. Also popular in SA (there are chocolate bar and ice cream versions, too), and also in the ethnic section of a lot of US supermarkets (is it popular in South America? It's always alongside dulce de leche). Might be fun to play around that in the kitchen.

              I also know that malt balls, like maltesers, are great roughly chopped and sprinkled on vanilla ice cream...