Commercial Wheat malt is often made from cracked HRSW Hard Red Spring Wheat which is another way of saying wheat fit for lifestock consumption. Indian Whiskey is often made from molasses. Hence a homebrewer seeking quality often has to rely on making their own malt. Here is a step by step guide:
Step 1: Immerse the wheat in a water bath. Any pest, infected wheat should float and should be removed.
Step 2: Overnight soaking in a strainer. The volume of wheat should also grow by 50% in the process. If you can crush the grain between your fingers then the wheat is adequately soaked.
Step 3: Put your soaked wheat in the sprouting basket. An ideal sprouting tray would have a lid to keep mold and pest away, perforated base to drain excess water and ensure a healthy air supply. To get the optimal yield you need to ensure uniform sprouting, which means in spite of bulk quantity, all grains should get uniform temperature, air and light. Try tasting the wheat, it should be soft and sweet.
Step 4: Wait till the spouts are there. You know the sprouting is complete when two germs are visible and the length of the longer germ is equal to 1/2 of the grain length (as seen in photo). Waiting too long will lead to loss in malt weight as the sprout will start feeding over the starch. Waiting too little will lead to incomplete enzyme action.
Step 5: Stopping the germination. You could do it by drying it strong sunlight, freezing the malt which leads to bursting of cells and releasing the sugars and enzyme for good action. Industrial batches can be lightly roasted to achieve the same.
Step 6: Crush the dried grain between the fingers to remove the sprouts. It contains no ferment-able sugar and most of the protein. hence removing this will greatly improve your wort efficiency.
Step 7: Say hello to grunt work. 2 Hours of roasting with enough churning to ensure uniform caramalization of sugars. If the wheat starts making cracking noise, add a little water to ensure darker caramels without risking burnt grain. I typically watch a nice bollywood movie alongside this process.
Step 8: Break your malt into three lots.
a) lightly roasted cracked wheat malt which is ideal for light beers. It also makes an excellent porridge which is healthier than the market Daliya/broken wheat.
b) Medium roasted malt great for most recipes.
c) Dark caramelized wheat malt for stout beer.
Step 9: Aerate: Apart from the malty flavor this grain will have a lot of foul smells and storing it in paper bag for 2 weeks helps reduce the unwanted odor and retain the pureness of nature.
Step 10: Crush (not grind) in a pestle mortar. Essentially reduce the size allowing efficient sugar dissolving
Step 11: When you boil it into a wort use a few drops in a refractrometer to guage when to stop. A hydrometer is cheaper but you need to cool 50ml every time you take a reading.
If you want to outsource all this trouble, then you can buy home made malt at Arishtam