The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Milk in starters

lindsey.h's picture

Milk in starters

I recently was gifted a 50 year old starter from a family friend. They had no regular feeding schedule or method other than feeding it the night before wanting to use it then storing it back in the fridge. Against all odds the starter seems to be thriving since I've had it on the countertop rather than chilled.

I was told to feed it with an equal amount of milk and flour. I'm pretty new to sourdough and its the first time I've encountered a starter made with milk rather than water. 

So my questions are... Should I continue to feed it with milk? if not, how do I switch to water? Also, does a milk starter provide any limitations to the recipes it can be used in? 

I hope I'm posting this right and in the right topic! I'd appreciate any information regarding this!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Well, before you experiment reserve some of the starter in the fridge, tucked away nice and safe.  

Then split the rest of the room temp starter and feed one hydrating with half milk/half water and the other with just water.  Mark and compare them.  Use identical amounts, glasses or see-thru containers and flours.  See what happens.  You may not have to do anything special to switch to water.  Do let us know what happens.

Milk will contain more minerals, fat, sugars and proteins than water so there may be a slight speed and volume difference. If either starter balks, just give a little more time to ferment.  Slowly reduce the amount of milk (replacing with more water) with each consecutive feeding (letting the starter peak) until milk is totally replaced.  The other starter gets only water with the flour.  Keep the amounts small to economise.

Mini. :)

Was checking on the pH of milk and it drops quickly as days go by, might even drop low enough to control bad bacteria.  Would be curious to see if the pH falls without the milk & milk sugars,  pasteurized milk?

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread