There have been tremendous marketing efforts and consumer interest in the so-called ancient grains. Einkorn, emmer and spelt, which are sometimes referred to as ancient wheats, are frequently included in this category, and have gained some attention among brewers. The objective of the current study was to compare the malting behavior and quality of einkorn, emmer and spelt cultivars obtained from the same growing environment. Aside from standard malt quality traits, the levels of β-amylase, protease, xylanase, wort arabinoxylans and wort phenolic acids were measured. While protein levels of the samples were higher (11.4–14.0%) than normally selected for wheat malt, the results indicated that malts of acceptable quality in terms of extract and amylolytic activity can be prepared from the three grain types. However, the ideal malting protocol will likely differ between the grains. The kernels of einkorn are significantly smaller, and steep hydration and malt modification are quicker. In terms of potential health benefits from antioxidant capacity and dietary fiber, wort from einkorn trended to higher levels of free and conjugated ferulic acid, as well as high-molecular-weight arabinoxylan.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited