The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough with whey

jamesjr54's picture

Sourdough with whey


We've started making Greek yogurt at home, which leaves us with lots of eft-over whey. We've made ricotta, and I've started experimenting with using whey for some portion of the water.   

Here's the formula I used:


100 g 100% starter

100 g KAF AP

70 g Water

30g Whey (yogurt-making byproduct)

16 hours


All of the starter

700g KAF AP

300 g Sprouted whole wheat

722 g Water

20g Kosher salt

Mix all but salt - autolyse 20 min

Add the salt and knead 10 mins

Bulk proof in fridge 8 hours

Next morning, out of fridge, stretch and fold every 30 mins for 2.5 hours (this dough was slow to develop)

Shape and proof 1.5 hours

Bake in cast iron 40 minutes at 485F. Covered for 20, then uncovered.

Taste is amazing. Not at all sour, but full-flavor. Browned up more with whey - because of the sugars? 



dabrownman's picture

in the bread i have used all whey for the liquid - no worries, use it up and make great bread.  The Maillard reaction happens between protein (amino acids) and reducing sugars under low -medium  heat.  There is lots of extra protein in whey so extra browning would happen.  At bread baking temperatures, well over 300 F, most of the browning happens because of caramelization.

Your bread with whey looks great and  more whey will mean more better!

Happy Baking


jamesjr54's picture

I've got some dough in the fridge with 75% whey for liquid. Good to know the details of what's going with the reactions. 

Thanks for the great info!

jamesjr54's picture

Cannot get over the darker crust with same baking parameters as far as time and temp. I preheat to 500F, then bake at 485F.  I recently attended a French Bread course at KAF in Vermont with Jeffrey Hamelman and James MacGuire. Jeffrey is a dark crust guy, and eschews taking the temp of the bread to check for doneness. He demonstrated that the bread reaches 200F interior about halfway through baking, rendering internal temp moot as a data point. He goes by look and feel.

The crust on these whey loaves is much closer to what he coaches, and the interiors were done to perfection.  

McCoy's picture

I'm pretty certain that whey from yogurt making doesn't tend to have a lot of protein. In terms of nutrients, I think the only thing it has in significant amounts is lactose. Lactose can contribute to both caramelization and Maillard reactions.

I'm impressed to hear you've done breads with whey for all the liquid. Was this sweet whey (from cheese making) or sour/acid whey (from yogurt making)? I've certainly ended up with dough that was too acidic using whey from yogurt making, and despite being lower hydration than other breads, the gluten just fell apart and I was dealing with shaping and baking a gloopy puddle.

hanseata's picture

Making my own Greek yogurt was my reason to bake with whey, too.

For future whey use you might also check out Dan Lepard's wonderful Pumpkin Whey Bread. He uses all whey instead of water.



isand66's picture

Nicely done.  You should try adding some of your fresh ricotta in your bread as well.  Just make sure to compensate for the liquid which is around 72% water.


rossnroller's picture

I second Ian's suggestion re ricotta. Adds a lovely touch to the texture of the crumb and a subtle note to the flavour profile. Important that it's fresh (no probs there if you're making your own) and well mixed up and incorporated in the dough.


jamesjr54's picture

Will try with next batch. Thanks!


kygin's picture

You might want to edit the directions to clarify when to add the salt.  I'm sure it's during kneading, but the way it's written, it would be easy for someone following the directions to forget it. :)

jamesjr54's picture

Forget the salt?!?!? Never  OK sometimes!