Malted milk

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For the type of biscuit, see Malted milk (biscuit). For the Robert Johnson song, see Robert Johnson.
A jar, mug, and a couple of teaspoons of Horlicks malted milk

Malted milk is a powdered gruel made from a mixture of malted barley, wheat flour, and whole milk, which is evaporated until it forms a powder.

Malt powder comes in two forms: diastatic and nondiastatic. Diastatic malt contains enzymes that break down starch into sugar; this is the form bakers add to bread dough to help the dough rise and create a good crust. Nondiastatic malt has no active enzymes and is used primarily for flavor, mostly in beverages. It sometimes contains sugar, coloring agents, and other additives.


Explorer Ernest de Koven Leffingwell poses with cases of Horlick's Malted Milk on Flaxman Island, Alaska, circa 1910.

London pharmacist James Horlick developed ideas for an improved, wheat and malt-based nutritional supplement for infants. Despairing of his opportunities in England, James joined his brother William, who had gone to Racine, Wisconsin, to work at a relative's quarry. In 1873, James and William formed J & W Horlicks to manufacture their brand of infant food in nearby Chicago.[1] Ten years later, they earned a patent[2] for a new formula enhanced with dried milk. The company originally marketed its new product as "Diastoid", but trademarked the name "malted milk" in 1887.[3][4]

Despite its origins as a health food for infants and invalids, malted milk found unexpected markets. Explorers appreciated its lightweight, nonperishable, nourishing qualities, and took malted milk on treks worldwide. William Horlick became a patron of Antarctic exploration, and Admiral Richard E. Byrd named a mountain range in Antarctica after him. Back in the US, people began drinking Horlick's new beverage for enjoyment. James Horlick returned to England to import his American-made product back home and was eventually made a baronet.[1] Malted milk became a standard offering at soda fountains, and found greater popularity when mixed with ice cream in a "malt". "Malt shops" owe their name to the Horlick brothers.[3]


See also[edit]