The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using milk in a soaker

varda's picture
varda

Using milk in a soaker

I am about to start baking from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads with his basic formula.   This calls for a milk soaker left out overnight on the counter, made with scalded milk.   I am reluctant to do this as the last time I baked a bread with a milk poolish (unscalded) it was delicious but both my husband and I felt ill after eating it.   Doesn't milk go bad overnight at room temperature?   Does the scalding offer some protection?    Thanks.  -Varda

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if it bothers you.  No yeast is involved right?  It will take longer to warm up so try a low setting in the microwave or set in a bowl of warm water before mixing into the dough.

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

Scalding the milk should kill any active bacteria... I would think it would be safe on the counter... and would clabber up like homemade yogurt... but the fridge would work too... although maybe the clabbering is something that is desired in the recipe.  I would think that it would be SAFE once scalded.

Regards, Diane

Heidela123's picture
Heidela123

I never worry about the milk and or eggs left in overnight rises
Between the fermentation going on and the baking to 190-200F I doubt anything is left to kill us or make us sick. Could it have been anything else I wonder?

From te time i was a little kid I was taught to scald milk for flavor not sanitation. Milk is sweeter scalded and you can infuse vanilla, saffron ect
better as milk scalds
Stomach upset with fresh bread is not uncommon
I know lot of folks have complained of reflux issues from fresh bread, even in my personal life my son can not eat it fresh from the oven especially a heavily fermented loaf, until it sits a day, then he is fine.
I just think most bacterial growth is is killed baking temps or I wouldn't feed it to my 2 year old grand daughter who is cramming an overnight egg bread now

Hope this helps

varda's picture
varda

For some reason Reinhart says soaker with milk on counter, biga with water in refrigerator.   Don't quite get that.    Thanks Mini - I have my soaker in the refrigerator now .   Diane, I hope clabbering is not required - I guess I'll see if the bread is a flop.   Heidela, you are probably right that the milk wasn't it, but I don't know what else it could be, and just thinking about it makes me feel a bit queasy.   -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

My understanding is thus:

Soakers and bigas in his book have different 'functions' and are part of his 'epoxy' method.

Soakers are simply flour, liquid and salt.  No yeast so they are used by him to primarily soften the grain and get a head start on the gluten development.  Technically there is a bit of fermenting going on due to wetting the grain but the salt slows it down and he does say to refrig. if you aren't going to use it within 24 hrs. because it will begin to ferment the longer it sits even with the salt.

The biga has the yeast.  It's 'job' is to begin the fermentation process and he doesn't want it fermenting too much hence the refrig. to slow it down.  It is essentially your starter or pre-ferment as the grain will ferment even though it is in the refrig.

I don't worry about adding milk except in the summer when the temps are hot here.  Then I do put a soaker containing milk into my refrig.  Probably don't have to but it makes me feel better :-)  

Now that I am culturing soft cheeses and butter - all of which sit out for long periods of time, I realize my fears are based on ignorance.  Milk has been around longer than refrigeration and people have been letting it sit out at room temps. with very tasty results.  

Hope you enjoy the loaf you make using your soaker.

Take Care,

Janet

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Did you notice that I finally got WGB?   See it only took 10 times of you suggesting it to get me off the dime.    It looks great so far.   Very nice book and very clearly written.   Thanks for your input.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I did notice but I was trying to stay focused on one topic or else I get carried away :-O  Didn't want to confuse myself or you :-)

I am very anxious to hear how you find the outcomes of his method to be to what you are used to doing since you use 'regular' flours and I don't.  You have a better background for comparison.

I love how he writes too.  Makes it very simple to understand and move from one step to the next.  His method is what pushed me into trying sourdough as a starter.  Such an easy step once I understood what a biga was and how it worked.  I have been hooked on using sd ever since I discovered how easy it is to use and maintain.  

A side note just because I mentioned sd above.....One of the reasons I love using sd is how long it keeps breads fresh.  I baked a loaf for my sister and BIL who live in Wisconsin on Dec. 23.  Due to the holidays it took until 2 Jan. to arrive at their house.  I heard from my sister today and the loaf is still fresh!!!!  That would never happen with an IY loaf.

All books come in good time I find.  Always when the time is right too....It isn't like you haven't been busy working on other projects...

Take Care and Enjoy,

Janet

 

varda's picture
varda

with KA WW.   I am trying out 100% whole wheat sandwich breads for a friend and trying to keep things simple as she is not a bread baker, but very good in the kitchen.   So no sourdough, and I want my test loaves to be made with commercial flour.   I can't argue with the taste of this one, but I need practice making this kind of loaf.   I'm looking forward to trying more of PR's formulas.   I was looking at old posts on this site, and noticed a certain amount of disapproval toward PR's vocabulary, baker's percentage, etc.   But maybe he has learned the standards since BBA as I haven't seen anything out of line in WGB.   It seems very well put together, and very helpful for learning how to bake with whole grains.   -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

His language has improved in WBG.  (He used to call his starter a 'barm'.)  What I like about him is that he is learning as he goes and he has a passion for bread.  He has a nice clip on TED about his 'epoxy' method that demonstrates that love.

It seems to me that his books are geared more towards the beginner/ intermediate homebaker who may or may not want to get into more serious stuff.  His format, when I first started to bake again a couple of years ago, was a lot simpler for me to understand and follow than Laurel's format in her Bread Book.  I could never get a light ww loaf using Laurel's recipes but could right from the start using Peter's recipes.  ( I now convert Laurel's recipes to sd and bulk ferment them all overnight and all turn out nice and soft so his book helped me utilize her information to get the results I was after.)

His use of % is minimal.  His charts are there but not with the recipes and he doesn't go into explaining the math. in a detailed manner as it is addressed in other bread baking books geared more for intermediate/advanced bakers, i.e. those of us suffering from CBS :-)

In writing this I hope I am not sounding negative towards his books.  I LOVE THEM and his WGB opened up a whole new baking world for me like no other book had.  As you know from your experience, different books offer different things so it really isn't fair to compare.  His WGB is unique as there are very few bread books for people who bake with 100% whole grains.  That he took the time to discover ways to improve loaves using whole grains and then publishing it says a whole lot to me about his dedication to creating wholesome breads that are easy to bake for a beginner baker.  Not many serious bread books are geared towards the homebaker either.  He knew he was addressing a small audience and many authors wouldn't step out on that limb in today's world that is so focused on profit....

Anyway I am rambling again.  Today's loaf is one of his and it smells heavenly.  It is his rendition of an Anadama Loaf.  First time for me to try it out and I am pleased with the outcome.  Just have to see how the people slated for this one like it and  how my son likes it.  I am amazed by how light it is considering all the corn meal it contains....

Wonders never cease.

Take Care,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Yes.  

(Sorry just kidding.   Short reply to long post.)  

margaretsmall's picture
margaretsmall

This is an interesting question. If your milk clabbers overnight, the pH has dropped and the milk has acidified. So the question is, will the yeast act differently in a more acidic environment? I think (but please correct me if I'm wrong) the yeast will work faster, based on the fact that some bread machine directions suggest adding 'bread improver' which is vitamin C basically, or lemon juice.  However, if the milk is scalded, any tendency to clabber will be much reduced because most of the naturally occurring cultures will be killed or severely knocked down. So my guess is clabbering is not the intention.

Margaret

varda's picture
varda

Margaret, Thanks for the feedback.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

cream fresh, buttermilk and sour cream by leaving milk out at room temp for up t0 24 hours - no scalding - it just goes sour to some extent - then refrigerate.   We make yogurt at 110 F for 12 hours or so but it is scalded.  Also make English muffins by leaving the milk dough out on the counter overnight too.

The oven temp for bread should kill everything that did go bad I would think -  if baked to 205 F in the center.

I'm guessing it is not a problem and your pevious illness was caused by something else.

varda's picture
varda

Then I wonder what made us sick.   Thanks for the information.  -Varda

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

....one of the reasons we like to use acid juice to start starters, to keep the higher pH bacteria count down.  

The milk may be "clean" but the flour isn't esp. if whole wheat.  (Milk has a lower pH than water.)   I would suspect the flour more than the milk.  Or eating fresh bread.  Carbohydrates are known to create intestinal gas.  If a sugar substitute type of jam is also eaten on the bread, double whammy!  Sugar free gum, candy and jam are known for flatulence.  

varda's picture
varda

than the usual issues that you describe so eloquently.   So I don't know.    I eat a lot (too much, I'm sure) of bread, and have never gotten sick from it before.    Maybe it was the olive oil I substituted for butter that just didn't go down right, and nothing to do with bacterial contamination.  

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Hi Varda,

I've been making PR's 100% WW sandwhich loaf >=1x weekly for several months.  We routinely stock 1% organic UHT milk in the fridge for tea and coffee.  Has worked fine in all seasons as soaker for that formula, out on counter overnight (and over-day: set one up this morning!) in seasons where kitchen temp ranges from 58˚F (now) to 80˚F (summer).  UHT obviously keeps bug count to near zero.  But fridging the soaker with more buggy milk will probably have minimal effect on outcome.  Just remember to take it out, with the biga, when you retrieve the latter to warm it up at mixing time!

I'd be curious to see how that loaf comes out in the hands of a baker with your seasoned chops.  My wife likes a dense 100% WW crumb but I'm still frustrated by how dense this one comes out, despite attempts to fix it, around the periphery of the loaf.  Sufficiently airy for me in the center, but dense near pan and (somewhat less so) at top.  I'm sure you can do better.

Congratulations on you and your WFO making the latest issue of Jarko's Bread!

Tom

varda's picture
varda

I'm not to worry, but I will still refrigerate, since it doesn't seem to do any harm.    I just cut into my first loaf of PR WW.   Nothing to brag about but really tasty.   Just had a PB&J with it.   There is no air passing through this loaf, but not particularly denser at the edges.   I am using the biga version.

Thanks for your good wishes.  -Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

The only 100%ww loaves through which air passes are txfarmer's death-by-KA-beating shredables.  Yours looks like it has nice spring and definitely more uniform crumb density than (most of) mine.  fwiw, I use White Gold Honey, olive oil and most recently, One Degree Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat flour.  Wonderful flavor for sandwich bread.

Nice baking, as always, Varda.

Tom

varda's picture
varda

that I ignored PR's  instructions for mixing the dough as I found his approach overly fussy, and threw it in my Bosch Compact at low speed for around 25 minutes until I thought it was developed enough.    That could explain differences in crumb.   Other than that I went with his approach.    I used regular honey, vegetable oil, and KA WW.     I have never baked with sprouted whole wheat flour but it sounds great.    Thanks for your encouragement.   I haven't baked much by way of either sandwich bread or 100% whole wheat, so it's a learning experience.   -Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Aha.  Good clue, your mixing.   Me, I never know whether I should be mixing/kneading this one more or less than I do.  And yes, his epoxy method is a headache.  I spread the biga on the counter, sprinkle the final ww + yeast (+ malt sometimes) on it, stir the honey+oil+salt into the soaker, spread that mix on top of the biga/ww/yeast and then use a bench knife to chop and fold until it's together enough to knead. 

Yep, having focused more on naturally leavened formulas so much, this one is strangely challenging.  Just because it ain't SD doesn't mean it's necessarily 'easier' to reach the ideal with.  These CY preps tend to race away from me, even in winter.

Happy Baking,

Tom

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Varda,

This looks really nice.  Good spring and the crumb looks nice and soft too.

I don't mix according to his instructions either. Find the dough needs longer to develop the gluten so the crumb is even like yours.  I follow txfarmer's method of kneading and find it works great.

Janet

varda's picture
varda

I will go look at txfarmer's methods as I can't remember what they are.   I really like this bread, and a few of my friends put in orders so I'll have to get up to speed.   -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sounds like you are on to something :-)

Here is a link of hers:  HERE

This formula has become the base for most loaves that I add flakes to.  Works every time.

Have Fun,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

When Txfarmer was posting this stuff I wasn't baking that type of bread.   Her instructions look terrific.    -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I love the way blogs etc are saved here.  Just waiting for when we are ready to try something new.  A treasury and wealth of knowledge and skill extraordinaire.  To top it all off - the bakers are here to help us better understand their formulas.  Something I value highly.  A 'living' baking book!

Her 100%ww with bulgar loaf is great too.  A bit trickier to work with but excellent in outcome.  Your friends will like you even more :-).

Take Care,

Janet