The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

should milk be scalded before using in bread dough?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

should milk be scalded before using in bread dough?

Many recipes for loaf bread that use milk advise that the milk must first be scalded (brought just to the boil). (Then, of course, you have to wait for the milk to cool.) I remember reading an explanation that something in the milk can inhibit yeast growth and the heat somehow corrects this.

Tell me, gurus, is it really necessary to scald the milk? If yes, why? If no, why not (can it just be a holdover from earlier times that has been mindlessly perpetuated)?

PS - I love long, involved scientific explanations, so please feel free to elaborate

Thanks in advance... 

 

 

chiaoapple's picture
chiaoapple

To my knowledge, the scalding requirement was before milk was widely pasturized. Now, there is no need to scald.

I'm no science person, so I can't give any explanations as to why unpasturized milk hurts yeast, but I think it has to do with a strain of bacteria?

Anyways, I still heat my milk a bit so it doesn't go into the dough cold and affect rising times.

Butler's picture
Butler

I noticed the different in the texture of my bread when I did and didn't scald the milk.

The crumb of the bread was coarser and denser when I didn't scald the milk.

Having been playing with some bread recipes with milk, I strongly recommend scalding of milk.

The lactose in the milk contributes to the favor and also strength the gluten in the dough. But it is the protease enzyme in it that is undesirable because they slowdown the yeast production and causes breakdown of the protein in the flour making the dough sticky. This enzyme is deactivated by the heat.

If you find that scalding milk is too troublesome,maybe you should consider using dry milk powder.

The substitition per cup of regular milk will be 40g of milk powder + 1 cup of water.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

But what Butler just said - "...I noticed the different in the texture of my bread when I did and didn't scald the milk. The crumb of the bread was coarser and denser when I didn't scald the milk..."

...according to what I read just yesterday that is correct, and now I can't remember the source from which I read it.  However there is unscalded milk in my Aunt's wonderful sweet bread dough I use for my chocolate cinnamon rolls and I don't scald the milk.  That dough is light and tender.  So I wonder if it makes a difference what you're making.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Zolablue,

A while back you mentioned you were working on a brown bread recipe from your Mother that was wonderful. Did you post it and I missed it? It sounded interesting. This forum moves so fast that when I get busy with computer work it's hard to keep track of all the threads.

Eric

zolablue's picture
zolablue

ehanner, sorry for the delay.  I finally got the notes rewritten in a way the recipe could be understood and made correctly.  I just made a post on it so look for "Memo's Brown Bread" which is my grandmother's recipe.  We called her Memo (Mee-moe).

Here is the link:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2630/memos-brown-bread

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I think it was Alton Brown that said the scalding instructions are just a carryover from before milk was pasturised (can't remember which episode, forgive me). I don't know if it really makes a difference in the crumb of bread, but if you think it does I'd suggest using the microwave to heat it up since there's no microbes to worry about killing inside the milk. If nothing else, I'd say nuke the milk so that the cold doesn't inhibit proofing. My latest bread experiment (baps) takes an extra hour to rise due to cold milk because I forgot to warm it before making the dough.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Quote:
I'd suggest using the microwave to heat [milk] up since there's no microbes to worry about killing inside the milk.

...and have no intention of buying one.

thanks for the suggestion though it is useless for me.

fthec's picture
fthec

Milk should be heated to around 190F if used in yeast breads.  The reason for this is that, if unheated, the serum protein present has a weakening effect on the gluten structure.  Heating milk denatures this protein.  For convenience, dried milk is often used because the serum protein is deactivated.  A 1/4 lb of dry milk equals 4 cups of whole milk, with the liquid being made up with water.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

thanks to all who responded - very helpful