The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whey Sourdough Bread experiment

HungryShots's picture

Whey Sourdough Bread experiment

I was eager to test the replacement of water with whey while making sourdough bread. 

I carefully read previous TFL posts and comments, look after the scientific interpretation of how whey affects the sourdough bread making process and launched myself in the experiment.

Of course, I needed to test some limits and I didn't stay on the safe side of introducing only 20% of whey in the liquid. I went for half of the quantity of water (excluding the water quantity in the starter), arriving at 44% of whey in the recipe. 

More than this, I used yoghurt whey that is much more acidic then cheese whey. I regularly do yoghurt at home and from time to time it makes whey. This byproduct is very rich in proteins and it is was a pity to through it away.

Right from the start, after the autolyse, I've notice changes. The dough was still shaggy. Later, I had to adapt my process to save the bread. In the end, I was happy with the crumb and the taste, but putting the dough on track was a challenge.

I know now the impact of whey for the dough but I would like to understand more about what happens in the microworld, at the chemical/scientific level to make the flour/dough behave like that. Is the invasion of foreign proteins in the gluten network the cause or is the acidic environment contributing more? There are still more things to learn here...

I put all the details of the recipe and method used in this video. It is much easier to spot things that you are doing right or wrong when you film yourself. And yes, when you review your own videos you can learn even from yourself :D.


GaryBishop's picture

I'm pleased to see your work. I've been experimenting with varying amounts of whey in my tiny 4x4x4 pullman loaves. Mine are nothing to look at compared to yours.

I suspect the acid is making the difference but hadn't thought about the proteins. The reason I suspect the acid is the culprit is I see comparable effects on the dough when I add small amounts of vinegar and lactic acid. 

HungryShots's picture

I also think that the culprit might be in big proportion the acid as there were other bakers reporting that bread with sweet whey works ok, although not consistently. I do not make cheese at home (although I could... hmmm, maybe for another time in the future) so I cannot compare. With yoghurt whey is tricky. I found this research talking about the negative interference of foreign proteins of whey in bread dough. I am not a scientist nor a chemist but for sure our beloved protein molecules from flour do not love whey.