Well, depending on your generation, the chances are pretty good that you've either grown up going to the old "soda fountain" to get a "malt", drank Ovaltine as a child while listening to the radio show, enjoyed eating those chocolate Whoppers, consumed it in baked goods, (without knowing!), or even had it as an infant in your formula, (if you were bottle fed.)
Malted milk is a powdered gruel mixture made from malted barley, wheat flour, and whole milk, which is then evaporated until it forms a powder. It comes in two forms: diastatic and nondiastatic. Diastatic contains enzymes which act as a rising agent, and is therefore primarily used in baked goods. Nondiastatic is a form that has a few more things added, (such as color, extra additives, and sugar), and is primarily used for drinking.
A London pharmacist by the name of James Horlick, wanted to utilize an improved formula he developed, (using the wheat and malted barley mixture), to supplement the nutrition of infants and invalids. However, his ideas were not well received in England, so he followed his brother William to Racine, WI, where his brother had been living and working in a nearby quarry. Shortly after arriving in 1873, the brothers formed their company- J & W Horlicks, and began manufacturing the product in Chicago, IL. In 1877, the brothers decided to purchase 15 acres of land in Racine, WI to build a large factory for their product. James wanted to improve his original formula to add more nutritional value, and to make it more easily digestible for infants and those that were ill, so 10 years after the initial manufacturing of the product began, they obtained their patent, added dried milk, and in 1887, the product was trademarked as "malted milk". Because the product took off sensationally, James decided to return to London in 1890 to set up an import business to expand their product in Europe, and other parts of the world. Not only did they become known world-wide for this revolutionary product, (as it was the first product that contained a milk that was "pure",disease free, and non-perishable), but their malted milk became a necessity in unexpected markets- such as for travelers and explorers! Explorers traveling the world on expeditions, found malted milk to be the perfect meal supplement; it's light and easy to carry, simple to use and make, was non-perishable, and was considered a "whole food". William Horlick was a supporter of the Byrd expedition to Anarctica in 1933-1935. In honor of the Horlick Brothers, Admiral Richard Byrd named a mountain range "Horlick Mountains", which is located in the Transantarctic Mountains of Antarctica. Wow, now that must be quite a product to actually have someone name a whole mountain region in your honor!! How crazy is that? Back in England, James was given the title of baronet on July 18,1914 by the Baronetage of the United Kingdom, for his contributions. It's also interesting to note that around 1935 in the U.S., Horlicks Tablets were produced, and sold in little glass jars as a candy. Beginning in WWI, (prior to when the tablets were mass produced for the market), these tablets were distributed to all of the allied troops as an energy booster, and were also included in lifeboat, liferaft, and aircrew ration/escape kits. In 1952, results were published from studies conducted that the use of Horlicks malted milk products were profound in treating gastric ulcers and even some forms of diabetes! Today, in terms of health and nutritional standards, malted milk products are higher in calories, saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugars in comparison to drinking fresh milk products. But, it depends on who is drinking it! Clearly, those who are in need of nourishment would be the greatest benefactors of this product, such as children, the elderly, or those that have been ill. The product is much the same now as it was then; high in calcium and protein, higher fats and carbs for energy, low in sodium, and a good source of iron, potassium, vitamin C, niacin, and magnesium. Since the year 2000, GlaxoSmithKline owns and manufactures Horlicks products worldwide, and their largest market is in India! Although Horlicks may not be as well known in the U.S. as other brands, such as: Carnation, Nestle, and Hershey's products, you can still find it on the shelves of certain stores like Wal-Mart!
Malt is a distinct flavor, and makes for a wonderful treat in beverages and sweets, as a supplement, and as an addition to your breads, cakes, waffles, and more!! Yumlicious!