Maltose can be broken down into two glucose molecules by hydrolysis. In living organisms, the enzyme maltase can achieve this very rapidly. In the laboratory, heating with a strong acid for several minutes will produce the same result.
The production of maltose from germinating cereals, such as barley, is an important part of the brewing process. When barley is malted, it is brought into a condition in which the concentration of maltose-producing amylases has been maximized. Mashing is the process by which these amylases convert the cereal's starches into maltose. Metabolism of maltose by yeast during fermentation then leads to the production of ethanol and carbon dioxide.
In Southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, maltose is a common ingredient in confectionery. The most common way for them to consume is to put a layer of maltose inside two pieces of biscuits (usually cracker).