7 Treacly Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes

Barley malt syrup is extracted from barley. It is a thick, sticky, dark syrup with a nutty flavor. Barley malt syrup has a unique flavor and is used in a variety of desserts. Unfortunately, despite its popularity among bakery experts and amateurs, it is not commonly available. I suffered the misfortune of realizing this bit of information when I went out to buy barley malt syrup last week.

However, the staff told me they don’t stock barley malt syrup at all! Despite the setback, I didn’t want to quit the dish I was making, so I went on to replace it with something similar. 

Therefore, today I will present to you a list of 7 uncanny alternatives for barley malt syrup you may not have thought of previously. But first, for those who don’t know what barley malt syrup is, let’s do a shallow dive into it.

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes

What is barley malt syrup?

Barley malt syrup is a grainy syrup made from sprouted barley. It is used in baking as a natural sweetener and the production of drinks like beer. Barley malt syrup is described as malty, and it’s half as sweet as refined white sugar.


How to store barley malt syrup?

It would be best if you store barley malt syrup in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will prevent it from fermentation. However, in summers or on sweltering days, store it in the fridge as a precautionary measure. The syrup would turn hard, but that can be easily reversed by dipping the jar in hot (not boiling!) water to restore its thick consistency.


What is barley malt syrup good for?

Barley malt syrup boasts a low glycemic index value as compared to table sugar. Therefore, it also helps lower the blood glycemic index. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it to people with blood sugar issues. Moreover, It is suitable for relieving conditions like IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and constipation.


Is barley malt extract healthy?

Yes, it is! Barley malt extract has a lower glycemic index than table sugar. It is also proven to improve gut health by minimizing unhealthy bacteria in your gut. In addition, malt barley extract is rich in fibers. 


Does barley malt syrup have any side effects?

If you are not taking barley malt syrup in unhealthy large amounts, it is safe to ingest. However, it can be bad for your tooth health as some of the sugars can be converted into acid by bacteria present in the mouth. These acids then harm the protective tooth enamel.


Barley Malt Syrup Uses

Barley malt syrup is used as a topping on pancakes or as glazing for sweet potatoes. In addition, it is used as a sweetening agent in gingerbread, cakes, brownies, cookies, etc. Finally, it has also found its use in making beverages or milk drinks.


7 Easy to Find Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes

As mentioned, barley malt syrup can be a challenging ingredient to find. If you are one of the ill-fated ones who cannot obtain barley malt syrup, try these 7 equally delicious alternatives.


1. Molasses

Up until the 1880s, Molasses was the most popular sweetener in the US. However, after World War I, sugar prices fell drastically – even lower than molasses. And it replaced molasses as the leading sweetener. 

Molasses is what remains after the sugar crystals have been extracted. It is thick, sticky, and sweet. So, despite what the appearances suggest, molasses and barley are not the same things. But you can use either as an alternative to replacing the other. 

Molasses is of three major types:

  • Light Molasses
  • Dark Molasses
  • Blackstrap Molasses

Of the three, blackstrap molasses is the most approved substitute for barley malt syrup. This is because they have similar colors and consistency. However, blackstrap molasses is still a lot sweeter than barley malt syrup, so you would have to cut down its amount by a bit.

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes- Molasses


2. Honey

If you are one of those looking for a gluten-free alternative for barley malt syrup, honey is just the thing for you. Apart from its long list of benefits, honey is easy to find and inexpensive to buy. Honey is the oldest known sweetener and very similar to barley malt syrup in color and texture.

However, honey is twice as sweet as malt syrup. So remember to reduce its amount to half as that of barley malt syrup. Moreover, honey may not be the best choice for blood sugar issues as it has a high glycemic index value.

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes - Honey


3. Brown Rice Syrup

Now one for the vegans! Brown rice syrup is another excellent barley malt extract syrup substitute. It is 100% naturally occurring and cruelty-free. It is made from cooking brown rice and breaking down the starch in them. Brown rice syrup is low in calories. So you may add it to your dish without worrying about any extra calories. 

Brown rice syrup is not quite as sweet as barley malt syrup, so remember to add a extra portion of brown rice syrup to your dish compared to barley malt syrup. But at the end of the day, it is still a sweetener and possesses a higher glycemic index value, making it a not-so-great option for people who need to control their blood sugar values.

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes - Brown Rice Syrup


4. Maple Syrup

As you can gather from the name, maple syrup is extracted from maple trees. It is obtained chiefly from North America and Canada. The color of the syrup depends on what time the sap was extracted. Maple syrup is famously used on pancakes. Maple syrup has 33% maple content and 66% water. However, its imitations, which are sold under the name of pancake syrup, usually contain less than 3% maple content.

Typically maple syrup found in stores has a dark brown color and thick consistency. Therefore, it is called the Grade A Dark Maple Syrup. It is very sweet, a lot sweeter than barley malt syrup, and therefore should be used in lesser amounts as a substitute. Although maple syrup has its own distinctive taste, it shares a nutty undertone with barley malt syrup, making it an excellent barley malt syrup replacement.

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes - Maple Syrup


5. Maltose

Maltose is another sweetener you can use to substitute barley malt syrup. It might not be a pantry product, but maltose is commonly used in beverages and bread. As our global community has begun its collective journey towards a healthy lifestyle, fructose and fructose-containing foods have become increasingly unpopular. Maltose is now replacing corn syrups and other sweetening agents in the kitchen. It is a lot healthier but less sweet than table sugar. Along with sugar, maltose is a great barley malt syrup substitute for bagels


6. Korean Rice Syrup

Korean rice syrup, or ssal-jocheong as known in Korea, is a sweetener made from rice malt barley. Its main ingredient being malt barley makes it a must-try substitute for barley malt syrup. Although it may be a rare product in your local markets, it makes a fantastic substitute for barley malt syrup. 

Traditionally, Korean rice syrup is used as a glaze for foods and in desserts like Ttok. You can make Korean rice syrup at home, although the process is long (almost 24 hours) and very taxing. Due to their similar flavor profiles, you don’t have to vary the amount of Korean syrup rice when substituting it for barley malt syrup. 

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes - Korean Rice Syrup


7. Sugar

When you are out of every fancy sweetener, you can always substitute barley malt syrup for sugar. You may use either brown sugar or white. It is a good thing this ingredient is ever-present in the house. Sugar is rich in glucose and fructose content, which gives it a very sweet flavor. It is a great substitute of malt syrup for baking. To avoid it from overpowering your dish, add it in half the amount your recipe requires.

Take care that sugar is a powder, and it may change the consistency of your recipe. So if there’s a dish that calls explicitly for barley malt syrup, consider other syrupy alternatives.

Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes - Sugar


Frequently Asked Questions

Is malt syrup the same as barley malt syrup?
Yes! Barley malt syrup is alternatively also known as malt syrup.
Can I make bagels without barley malt syrup?
Yes! You can replace barley malt syrup in bagels with alternatives like honey or maltose. However, your bagels will lose some of their authentic nutty flavor.
Does barley malt syrup have to be refrigerated?
Yes! It would be best to always refrigerate your barley malt syrup after opening, especially in the summer season.

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