The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What happens if I use Milk instead of Water for bread?

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Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

What happens if I use Milk instead of Water for bread?

I make my bread using the No Knead method.

What would happen if I would subsutite Whole Milk instead of using the water it calls for?

Thanks.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

You would enrich the dough with milk proteins and fat. You will need a bit more milk than the amount of water required (because of the milk solids). The dough will be softer, the crumb less open. You will have to bake it at lower temperatures than a lean bread.

In other words, your bread will be more like a sandwich bread.

Karin

G-man's picture
G-man

There is some disagreement on this issue, because people get varying results. Those few who have cited Science (with a capital S!) say that the enzymes can serve to break down/otherwise prevent the formation of gluten, leaving you with a loaf that is...less than impressive. There is a lot of advice to scald the milk first, which breaks down enzymes.

There are those who argue that modern milk pasteurization methods do this for us, in addition to eliminating many of the potential health benefits (not to mention potential illnesses) from milk.

Personally, I use powdered milk and avoid the whole thing. It tastes just like normal milk when it's in baked goods, however horrible it may be on its own.

Michigan Hiker's picture
Michigan Hiker

My family likes the softer texture milk gives to the bread I make. But I aways scald it before using it as I have had very bad results if I do not. What I do is scald it and then add a small amount of cold water to bring the temperature down to a safe level for the yeast. 

blinsen's picture
blinsen

I almost always sub in buttermilk when water (or milk) is called for, either in part or in toto.  That subtle tang generally rounds the flavor quite well, although it does soften the crumb a bit.  Be aware, though, that heating cultured buttermilk in the microwave to get it to the desired temperature for instant yeast will separate it.  It's a bit startling to see, but nothing to worry about for your bread.  And yes, you do need to up the amount a wee bit.  I've not been able to get my hands on actual buttermilk, thin on the ground here in VA's close-in (read 'cow-deprived') DC suburbs, so I don't yet know what happens with the good stuff. Alas.  

blinsen's picture
blinsen

I almost always sub in buttermilk when water, or milk, is called for, either in part or in toto.  That subtle tang generally rounds the flavor quite well, although it does soften the crumb a bit.  Be aware, though, that heating cultured buttermilk in the microwave to get it to the desired temperature for instant yeast will separate it.  It's a bit startling to see, but nothing to worry about for your bread.  And yes, you do need to up the amount a wee bit.  I've not been able to get my hands on actual buttermilk, so I don't yet know what happens with the good stuff. Alas.