The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

using whey in bread dough?

franbaker's picture
franbaker

using whey in bread dough?

I make my own yogurt, and strain some of it for Greek yogurt/labneh, so I end up with a lot of extra whey -- way more than I need for starting the next batch of yogurt, soaking beans, and making sauerkraut, which use up only a few tablespoons a week. It's got a lot of calcium in it as well as LAB and other goodies, so I hate to waste it. I know I can use it in place of yogurt or buttermilk in baking soda baked goods (blueberry muffin season should start this weekend -- hooray!), but I'd love to be able to substitute it for other liquids when making bread. Since I'm still learning to make bread properly, it's a little early to start substituting things in recipes, but this is something I'd like to be able to do consistently and long term, so I might as well learn how to do it soon. At some point I'll just try it, but if anyone else has tried it, or has ideas about how the pH will affect the fermentation time or anything else, I would love to hear about it.

Elsie_iu's picture
Elsie_iu

In the past, I subbed yogurt whey from homemade yogurt for 100% of the water. For most of the time, no prominent problem was observed. However, there was once where the dough failed to rise properly. For details, you may like to refer to this post: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/56168/3030-freshly-milled-barleysprouted-white-wheat-sourdough

Dabrownman explained to me the theory behind in the comments of the post above. The low acidity of whey may hinder yeast activity, especially when the lactic acid bacteria are acidifying the dough at the same time. To play safe, try to limit the use of whey to 20% of total liquid.

I found that whey, though acidic by itself, imparts a sweeter flavour in the resulting bread. The lactose in whey also promotes browning, giving a better  browned crust. It adds complexity to bread so it's worth a try.

Happy baking!

franbaker's picture
franbaker

That bread you made seemed like it would be delicious, even though the texture wasn't optimal. I read through the post and comments. It seems like the whey may present more problems when: 1) it's more acidic, 2) it's used with sprouted grains, and 3) when it's used with a wild yeast starter; although it may present problems at any time. It's really interesting to me that you used whey many times without any difficulties at all. I wonder if it's possible to predict when trouble will ensue.

I'm pleased that I can use the whey up to 20% of the liquid probably whenever I want to, but would like to be able to use more of it, at least some of the time. I do like the effect is has in quick breads, and the effect a yogurt soaker has on a WW commercial yeast bread. I have a bunch of pH strips, which I've discovered are useless for checking the pH of my starters, but seem to work with the whey; my whey seems to have a pH of about 5 when it's reasonably fresh.

I think for now I'll avoid the whey when I'm working with sprouted grains in warm weather. I've been having issues with doughs fermenting and proofing much more quickly than expected, and don't want that problem to get worse.

I think I could substitute it for yogurt/buttermilk in a soaker in a WW commercially yeasted bread. It sounds like the extra maltose would not be a problem. But I should probably still use plain water in the biga.

In other cases, does anyone know if it would be useful for me to check the pH of the whey and proceed according to what the pH of the dough should be? What should the pH of the dough be? Is there an optimal pH range for sourdough breads, and another for doughs made with commercial yeast?

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

i too make my own yoghurt and often use the whey to make bread..i usually sub 25% of total water. All the rest i freeze for future use...check out thispost @ http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3590/whey-how-use-it-and-why

 

franbaker's picture
franbaker

is there any special reason why you settled on 25%? The post and comments seemed to deal with dry whey and whey from cheese making, which is less acidic than whey from yogurt.

suave's picture
suave

I use it in straight doughs, and subsitute up to 50%.  Any more and gluten starts to deteriorate - but of course your limit will depend on the properties of your whey.

franbaker's picture
franbaker

for your experience -- this is helpful to know :-)