The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yogurt Whey in a sourdough = No gluten?

DoubleMerlin's picture

Yogurt Whey in a sourdough = No gluten?

So I made yogurt last night, and I had about a cup and a half of whey after I strained it. My girlfriend used a half cup in muffins, leaving a cup left over. About to make a loaf of sourdough, I replaced a cup of water with the whey. I did about 1.5 cups of 8-hour old starter. I mixed those straight into the final bread, adding around .5 kg of bread flour and .25 kg of whole wheat partial malt bread flour, and enough water to hit what felt like 65-70% hydration. I let it ferment overnight, and in the morning, it was weird.

The gluten just never wanted to develop. I make this sourdough loaf weekly, and the starter is supposedly at least 13 years old. I started with a couple of stretch & folds, but the dough was just tearing. I kneaded it hard for about 2 minutes, and it still never came together. To proof it, I just lumped in a loaf pan. I baked it at 400 for 40 minutes, and it split around the rim, and had unsightly holes all around the sides.

I blame the whey. I've never used it before, and it seems to have just made the dough too slack. Probably all of those yogurt bacteria proteases. No me gusta.

Still tastes real good, just not pretty in the slightest.

mwilson's picture

What your describing happens when there's excess acidity in the dough. The gluten is there but it's very taut but it won't stretch much and consequently tears. An autolyse helps. Essentially what your dealing with is a dough that is excessively strong. 

mrfrost's picture


For the last year or so I've been baking solely with sourdough, and almost all of my doughs are made with homemade yogurt. I bake, on average, about 5 pounds of bread a week, and make about a gallon of yogurt a month.

Haven't experienced the issue. Haven't baked with just the whey though in a few years.

clazar123's picture

I wish I had taken pictures when this happened. It is not that the gluten is too tight and tears, it is like the strands of gluten in the lump of dough tear all at once and you end up with what looks like a wad of torn hairs stuck in sticky dough. You actually see the individual strands and it pulls apart with almost a whisper touch-absolutely no resistance.  Is that what you mean? I only experienced this when I used kefir or kefir whey  and starter in whole wheat flour-usually home milled. When I didn't use the kefir/kefir whey, I didn't seem to have a problem. I also experienced this when I used WW, starter and a long,cold retardation-no kefir- so acidity may be a factor. Both situations produce acidity.

I have not found a solution other than to not use kefir and the strange thing is that I used to use it in my breads and it seemed to produce a fluffier texture. So in my kitchen-no kefir/whey with WW.

DoubleMerlin's picture

The bread tastes amazing and is light and fluffy, but if I didn't put it in a loaf pan it wouldn't have risen up, only out. What y'all are saying does make sense, but I have made loaves more sour than this one using only sourdough. If making bread with whole yogurt doesn't give you this problem, perhaps it's either something in the whey, or my particular methods that day. I haven't had a bread look like this in months, which is why I got so scared and full of blame.

gary.turner's picture

Is it possible that proteases in the whey are breaking down the gluten complex? I'd consider that a possibility if the yoghurt's milk is not heated enough, both in time and temperature to denature the enzymes.

Just a thought.