The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sour dugh starter made with whey ?

opalcab's picture

Sour dugh starter made with whey ?

Hi this is my frist post and I just made a sour dough starter but I wonder if anyone knows about making a starter with whey from cheese making thats is my other pasion

mrfrost's picture

Someone asked this very question a week ago:

Starting(and maintaining) a starter is often complicated enough, using well established methods. Introducing the not so well known(whey) may not be the best idea.

Not sure if it's quite the same as whey from yogurt making, but whey from homemade yogurt can last for weeks, if well refrigerated.

You can often use whey to replace some(or all) of the liquid in bread and other pastry recipes. That may be a good way to use your leftover whey.

jeremiahwasabullfrog's picture

I'm a bit mystified as to why you would want to?

Is it for flavour, nutrition, or to avoid wastage?

For all of the above, I would tend to add my whey to the bread itself. Using it in your starter might be fine, or even great, but you're moving into unchartered territory, and it might be hard to predict what microbes the addition of whey might favour.

Anyway, experimentation and a curious mind are a good thing!! You might teach us all something!



nicodvb's picture

starters, whether rye or wheat. I started and fed with whey alone (leftovers from my cheese) two rye starters and they always seemed to be very happy.

AngelaPN's picture

If you make cheese with whole, raw milk, the whey will have cream bits in it.  Those bits will ferment if left alone for a few days.  It will start to look doughy.  Let it go for a week, then skim it off the whey and you'll have enough to make a delicious sour dough loaf.  Just add flour, salt, baking soda, and a sprinkle of sugar.  Then you can slice it up and eat it with your fresh cheese.  Yum!

A sour dough starter comes from fermenting something with yeast in it, and I believe, but am not positive, that almost every living plant and animal can potentially have some traces of yeast in it.  If given the right environment, it will reproduce rapidly. 

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi there,

I occassionaly make my own yogurt and use the whey when making a loaf of bread.

My gut instinct tells me  to keep to a traditional starter recipe and add the whey in your hydration levels when mixing a batch of sourdough.

There is nothing stopping you doing what you want to try. As a suggestion when taking out a portion of (established) starter to begin a feeding, instead of disposing of it begin a new starter by feeding it flour and whey and see what happens. There is no right or wrong in what you want to do. Have fun experimenting and if it works thats what counts. Then you share your results on this site.

If it wasn't for this bread website I would not not have learn't to make a starter on pineapple juice. All previous attempts failed.

I have used yogurt in my bread bakings with the whey, generally about 100 grms to 600grms to white bakers flour. Also there is nothing unhealthy about whey. It's just a nutrional by-product of dairy produce.


subfuscpersona's picture

...and too much acidity can weaken gluten development.

I make my own fresh cheese from whole milk (ricotta / paneer / queso blanco) and freeze the whey for bread baking.

I don't use whey when I build up or feed my sourdough starter, just as a replacement for plain water in the final dough.

In the past, when I subbed whey for the water in certain loaves that use a high percentage of sourdough levain and are retarded overnight for the bulk rise, I tended to have trouble with the oven spring. These were tried-n-true recipes that never gave me problems before. I ultimately came to the conclusion that the acid from both sourdough and whey may have weakened the gluten development during the long rises. (Using whey instead of water in the final dough was the only change I'd made.)

I now use the whey only for breads that use commercial yeast (I sub it for the water in a poolish or biga as well as using it in place of water in the final dough). It works very well for this.

Everyone has different experiences, but if you experience some problems with oven spring for freeform sourdough loaves using whey (instead of plain water) in the final dough, you might want to consider this.

Hope this helps. Do post back and let us know how your experiments work out. - SF

leostrog's picture

i added  unsalted fresh whey from my cottage cheese  both to stater and both to dough and it's work exellent ( I replace all my water for recipe to whey).

So , i make my fromage blanc with fresh starter ( therefore my whey is full with huge quantity of live Lactobacillus .With this afdditions my starter arise very quickly and my bread douch too.


dabrownman's picture

whey, from the left overs from cheese making and yogurt making, in SD bread for at lest the Egyptian times about 4,500 years ago - at least.  I am old but, not that old, and  have only been doing so for - decades.  Whey is great for for all kinds of breads, not just SD and starters love it too.  Never had a problem with it and tomorrow will be making MG SD YW bread with 2 different starters, one that used whey, has about a dozen different whole grains and soakers/ sprouts in it, along with potato, lentils, oats etc....  Whey works with all of them at the same time. - no problems and no worries.

You will love the bread that whey water makes.

leostrog's picture

Thank you for answer , I am so glad to know that this  is a common trend.

Could you explaine me- what means :MG SD YW?


dabrownman's picture

to my Multi Grain, Sour Dough, Yeast Water challah bread I referenced.  Sorry for the poor anachronism overload.  I used yogurt whey water for half the water in the dough - my usual percentage.