The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Real Scalded Milk instead of bakers powdered milk (or even more importantly instead of water)?

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

Real Scalded Milk instead of bakers powdered milk (or even more importantly instead of water)?

I have been looking for a softer loaf and used milk instead of my starter. I like things to be more real than fake/processed (part of why I prefer to bake instead of eat the nasty store bought lumps of chemical flavored goo). Milk powder seems pretty processed from what I heard... so why not just use REAL Milk and scald it first (in order to break down anything that would hinder the gluten and rising)?

Related, since this is the Sourdough section of the forum, is there any harm in using milk in the mix? With Sourdough it obviously has a lot of sitting out time at room temp or warmer. Am I hurting anything by having milk at these temps for hours at a time?

I just made King Arthur's Sandwich Bread for the King (their early president's recipe from the early 1900's or late 1800's I believe). It called for milk powder. I used milk and it was a great! Soft loaf. Excellent texture.

pmccool's picture

Indeed, the King Arthur recipe for sourdough English muffins that I typically use calls for milk as the liquid, rather than water.  I was a bit nervous the first time I tried it, thinking that the overnight ferment might not be so wonderful, but it came out just fine.  So has every batch since then, with no sign of spoilage. 

The milk I use is your typical store-bought pasteurized stuff, without bothering to scald it. 


isand66's picture

I've used milk and cream in with my sourdough starter and have had not issues.

baybakin's picture

I never worry about using milk products in sourdough starters, the acidic environment created by the yeast/bacteria are quite hostile to pathogenic bacteria growth, granted that you keeep the starter covered.

mrfrost's picture

I scald virtually all the milk that I use for bread making. This includes scalding the milk for making yogurt and buttermilk that is mainly used for baking. When I buy fresh milk, I usually immediately make it into yogurt or buttermilk. I usually keep canned milk on hand for regular milk but I still (properly) scald it, as I've read that even though it has already been heated enough to kill all the bacteria, all of the ("bad for bread") enzymes may not have been neutralized. Store bought powdered milk, same thing. Been doing this for the 3+ years I've been making bread. That baker's special powdered milk is too hard to get, along with being too expensive.

There are several threads here(search) where Baker's Special/scalded milk is discussed at length.

I also freely/judiciously use these milks in my sourdough "sponges", with the understanding it is at "my own risk".


Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson


This is exactly what I've read. It's not a safety thing anymore rather something in milk that interferes with the gluten if not scalded. But... I'm not experienced enough to know if it'd change the rise of the bread or not. I've read that it does. I'm inexperienced enough to believe things I read. ;)


dabrownman's picture

every kind of milk, buttermilk, yogurt, whey from yogurt and cheese making, canned milks, scalded milk of all kinds, cream, dry milk powders etc.  All worked fine and never interfere with any SD breads made with them.  In the old days, way before any of us was alive, folks used fresh milk and maybe that could be a problem but I think that it is an old wives tale about scalding milk before using it in baking - probably left over from crazy old Great Granny Minnie in the AZ  Territory at the turn of the century. Don't worry, I just made her up :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but the amount of glutathione can vary thus the variation in results using unscalded milk