Last Updated on July 19, 2021 by Chris Whitehair
So, What is Malt Vinegar?
Let’s Take a Look! Liven Up Your Next Meal
When you’re perusing the condiments aisle of the grocery store, chances are you’ll pass an array of vinegars. Examples include rice, apple cider, red wine, and others.
You may have also come across something called malt and asked yourself – what is malt vinegar?
When it comes to all vinegars, have you ever wondered…
What are they?
Are they all similar?
What are their differences?
At a basic level, vinegar is simply a fermented solution that contains acetic acid – the acid that gives vinegar its distinctive taste – and can be made from a variety of base ingredients (apple cider, red wine, etc.).
In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on:
- What is malt vinegar?
- What malt vinegar is made from.
- Uses for malt vinegar.
- How you can incorporate malt vinegar into your own cooking.
How is Malt Vinegar Made?
Malt vinegar is first made by malting barley; in this process, the barley grain is germinated – or malted – by getting immersed in water.
Once the grain starts to sprout, the barley is dried, and the germination process is stopped.
The malting process is important because it causes the starch in the barley to turn to sugar, which is needed for the next step in making malt vinegar – brewing.
Once the barley has been malted, it gets brewed into an ale by fermenting it with yeast.
Throughout the fermentation process, the malt’s sugars are converted into alcohol.
After the fermentation process is complete and ale is made, the ale actually gets fermented a second time, which creates acetic acid and turns the ale into malt vinegar.
How to Use Malt Vinegar
Any vinegar is a great ingredient for adding flavor to dishes – particularly when it comes to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.
We’re partial towards our own Flower City Flavor Company Traditional Dark Balsamic Vinegar.
But just like the ingredients they’re made from, different vinegars tend to complement different ingredients.
For example, champagne vinegar is light and subtle and pairs well with lighter proteins such as chicken and fish.
In comparison, balsamic vinegar is on the sweeter side and can stand up to ingredients like steak and grilled vegetables.
Unlike other vinegars, malt vinegar has a distinctive flavor of malt and tastes slightly lemony and sweet.
You’ve probably seen it most often served with the traditional English dish of Fish & Chips (which is absolutely delicious), but malt vinegar can also be used to add flavor to a variety of other dishes.
For example, malt vinegar makes a terrific pickling agent.
Its relatively bold flavor stands up to more strongly flavored produce, such as garlic and onions.
You may be asking what is malt vinegar also commonly used in?
Chutneys. Chutneys are relish-like sauces made from a combination of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.
As a result, the tart flavor of malt vinegar balances well with the fruit in the chutney.
From malt vinegar pickles and chutneys to chicken wings and homemade bread, we’ve included a few of our top malt vinegar recipe suggestions below.
Traditional Malt Vinegar Recipe Ideas
When you walk into a traditional English pub, it’s not uncommon to be served English Pickled Onions.
Think of it as the equivalent of being served roasted peanuts at a bar in the United States.
But unlike peanuts, these English Pickled Onions are sweet and tangy in flavor.
In the UK, English Pickled Onions are served on sandwiches, in salads or as a relish. Sometimes, even eaten straight out of the jar.
Try your hand (and taste buds) at English Pickled Onions with this English Pub Style Pickled Onions recipe, and create your own English Pub experience right at home.
Sticking with the onion theme, our next recipe suggestion is Caramelised Onion Chutney.
Similarly to English Pickled Onions, this Caramelised Onion Chutney has both sweet and tangy flavors; more prominent though is the distinctive savory and sweet flavor you can only get from caramelization.
Serve this flavorful condiment with toast points or crackers.
On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for something heartier, try using the Caramelised Onion Chutney with malt vinegar as a topping on a burger.
Unique Malt Vinegar Recipe Ideas
We’ve gone through some more traditional ways to use malt vinegar, so why not push the limits a bit?
We hope you’ll enjoy this roundup of creative recipes!
Since malt vinegar goes so well with french fries, it only makes sense that it is the star ingredient in this recipe for Salt and Vinegar Potatoes.
These potatoes are smashed into patties, brushed with malt vinegar, and roasted.
As a result, they come out crispy on the inside and soft and tender on the inside, with a deliciously salty bite.
When you order chicken wings at a restaurant, you’ll typically get a choice of flavors.
Buffalo, barbecue, garlic parmesan, etc. Less common but equally as delicious is salt and vinegar.
For example, this recipe for Salt and Vinegar Chicken Wings uses malt vinegar as both a marinade for the chicken wings and as a sauce, which results in a bold, zesty flavor.
What is malt vinegar used in besides cooking? This is something you may be asking.
Well, it is also used in some baking recipes.
When vinegar is used in baking, it reacts with baking soda, which helps dough rise as it bakes.
Feeling brave enough to try malt vinegar in a dessert?
You’ll be pleasantly surprised with these recipes for Chocolate Malted Milk Cake and Chocolate-Stout Vinegar Cake with Raspberry Coulis.
Malt Vinegar Uses in the Culinary World
Renowned chefs from all over the country are not asking “what is malt vinegar?”, they are using it in interesting and innovative ways.
Chef Paola Velez recently hosted a pop-up in Washington, D.C. called Doña Dona, at which she served a “Dulcey” de Leche donut with white chocolate, coconut, and malt vinegar.
Malt Vinegar FAQ
Here is a quick guide of some frequently asked questions on nutritional and general aspects of malt vinegar we’ve come across often.
Is malt vinegar gluten-free?
Malt vinegar is definitely NOT gluten-free. Malt is derived from grain barley and barley contains gluten.
Is malt vinegar vegan?
Yes, malt vinegar is considered vegan. There are no animal products in the ingredients or the brewing process. Barley, the main ingredient, is a grain.
Is malt vinegar keto?
Yes, malt vinegar is keto-friendly. There are no carbs in malt vinegar and most if not all malt vinegars will have straight 0’s on their nutrition facts panel.
What is the pH of malt vinegar?
Can malt vinegar go bad?
Generally speaking, no. As long as you follow proper food storage guidelines such as storing it away from direct heat or sunlight and in a dark and cool area like your cupboard, there should be nothing to worry about. Like other foods, its quality will most likely deteriorate over time, but not necessarily spoil. Check the bottle’s best by date and remember that the date is a guide for when the manufacturer believes the peak quality of the product will last until.
How many calories are in malt vinegar?
We haven’t found a single brand that shows more than 0 calories per serving on their label’s nutrition facts. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean there are absolutely no calories. The FDA allows labels to state 0 calories per serving if there are actually no more than 5 per. Regardless, you have nothing to worry about if you are using malt vinegar to lose weight.
Is malt vinegar kosher?
Heinz and London Pub both have the OU Kosher Certification on their respective bottles, so they are considered kosher. It can get a little tricky on why some seemingly inherently kosher foods can actually not be. Read the OU “What is Kosher?” article for details. Also to keep in mind, leaven or food mixed with leaven (known as chametz) are prohibited during Passover. Malt vinegar is definitely chametz.
Is malt vinegar halal?
According to Halal or Haram, yes, malt vinegar (and other vinegars) in their final form qualify as halal. Before the chemical transformation when vinegar is in its alcoholic base, this is strictly haram and can not be consumed.
Bourbon Barrel Malt Vinegar
We are so enamored here at Flower City Flavor Company with malt vinegar, we decided to make one ourselves!
In addition to the bright, light and sweet flavor you get from a traditional malt vinegar, since it has been aged in used bourbon barrels, the smooth notes of caramel, vanilla and oak come through.
There is nothing like this out there in the market, I hope you’ll consider grabbing a bottle!
Bourbon Barrel Malt Vinegar Recipes
We’ve added some of our own recipes for your enjoyment. Along side the recipes listed earlier, there are a plethora of ways to enjoy malt vinegar. You’ll wonder why you took so long to discover this hidden gem!
So, what is malt vinegar? In short, versatile. Unique. Delicious!
Hopefully in conclusion, we’ve opened your eyes to the “malt”-itude of ways you can use malt vinegar in your kitchen. What recipe will you be trying first?