London pharmacist James Horlick developed ideas for an improved wheat and malt-based nutritional supplement for babies. Desperate for his opportunities in the UK, Horlick joined his brother William, who had gone to Racine, Wisconsin, in the United States, to work in a relative's quarry.
In 1873, the brothers formed J & W Horlicks to manufacture their brand of children's food in nearby Chicago. Ten years later, they obtained a patent for a new formula improved with powdered milk. The company originally marketed its new product as "Diastoid" but trademarked the name "malted milk" in 1887.
Despite its origins as a health food for infants and invalids, malted milk found unexpected markets. Explorers appreciated its nutritious, non-perishable and light qualities and took the malted milk on treks around the world. William Horlick became a patron of Antarctic exploration, and Admiral Richard E. Byrd named the Horlick Mountains, a mountain range in Antarctica, after him. Back in the US, people started drinking Horlick's new drink for fun.
James Horlick returned to England to import his American-made product, eventually becoming a baronet. Malted milk became a standard offering in soda shops, and found greater popularity when mixed with ice cream into a "malt", for which the malt shops were named.
Malted milk is a powder that contains barley malt, wheat flour and milk powder. Today it is used in confectionery in the preparation of candies and various sweets. The density of malted milk depends on its ingredients or the amount it has of these; but on average its density is 3.02 gs. per cubic centimeter.
Its most common uses are: malted milk cookies, malt shakes, malted soy milk, malted hot drinks and is used in some bagel recipes as a substitute for non-diastatic malt powder.
"Malted Milk" is the title of a blues song written by Robert Johnson, performed by Eric Clapton on his album Unplugged.
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