bread recipe... why scald milk?

vieja_gwNovember 4, 2007

I have a favorite old German bread recipe that calls for scalding the milk before adding it to the dough ... why? I thought it might be that back then the milk was raw & it was a health issue but I have tried (using store bought pasteurized milk now)not scalding it & I don't think it turns out as well as when I do scald it! My imagination or is there a reason I'm not understanding?

This old recipe calls for three dough risings so I usually make it when our old wood-burning kitchen range is going in winter & I let the dough rise in the warming oven or by a south-facing window in the full sun. Recipe takes a bit of time but the result is worth it!

Just curious about whey the milk was scalded in the recipe?

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My grandmother used this recipe & would only make the dough in one special cracked crockery bowl .. she said it wouldn't turn out if she used any other! Wonder if the crack had anything to do with it? A university professor once said yeast/bacteria in those cracks in the bowl might have survived washings & contributed in some way to the bread dough/bread!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 8:49PM
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here's some interesting information that maybe helpful


    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 9:00PM
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The information on the kitchensavvy link Lucy posted matches what George Greentein wrote in Secrets of a Jewish Baker. Scalding isn't necessary with pasteurized milk because the enzymes are already broken down. When I don't want to add cold milk to a recipe, I pop it in the microwave long enough to take the chill off and I only scald when needed to steep a vanilla bean or such.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 9:40PM
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Yet one more "expert" opinion on the subject as told in the book, CookWise, by Shirley O. Corriher.

(from page 80) Bread recipes in old cookbooks advise you to scald the milk before using it in a bread. I thought this heat was taken to kill some enzyme in the milk and that modern pasteurization had made scalding unnecessary. I had also heard that after running tests on scalded and unscalded milk a food magazine staff concluded that it made no difference.

I did notice when I was developing the Honey Whole Wheat Loaf recipe, however, that an increase in the nonfat dry milk to 1/2 cup significantly reduced the bread volume. Attributing this to the sugar in the milk. I was then amazed to read in a professional baking book, "It has long been known in the are that nonfat dry milk seriously affects the volume, symmetry, cellular structure, and texture of bread when used as such. Research by prior investigators has found that such nonfat milk, when heat treated by holding it at about 180°F to 190°F over a period of time, overcomes this undesirable property to a certain degree when it is used in the conventional system of bread-making."

When I delved into the literature on the subject, I found that in 1975 two Michigan State University researchers, T. Volpe and M.E. Zabik, isolated a protein in the whey that was responsible for this reduced volume and poor texture. Unfortunately it is present in nonfat dry milk as well as fresh. I believe that the amount of this protein is the key to whether it will harm the bread--that would explain why less than 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk had no ill effects on my bread. I imagine you will find that it does not matter in some recipes, but it may in others.

But, as they say, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Personally I am going to scald both milk and reconstituted nonfat dry milk just for my own peace of mind.
(end of information)

Grainlady note: It comes down to how much dairy is in your bread, as to whether the protein found in whey will affect the bread adversly, if you DO NOT scald the milk.

To avoid this problem, I'd suggest Baker's Special Dry Milk powder from King Arthur Flour (item 1188).

After reading the information in CookWise, it helped me to understand why my Dill Bread, which has a large amount of cottage cheese in it, always had a less than perfect shape and crust formation. Now I heat the cottage cheese up to scalding temperature, and it has a much better finished appearance.

It also helped me to understand why my bread experiments using large amounts of whey protein powder didn't work well.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 6:46AM
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There was a thread on this very subject last year, but unfortunately, it's dropped off.

There is an enzyme in milk, protease, which inhibits gluten formation. Pasteurization doesn't reach temperatures sufficient to destroy it.

As a chef friend says, "Protease is an enemy of yeast." If the protease isn't disabled, you can end up with a weak sticky dough which collapses like an over-proofed loaf.

If you're baking a bread rich in dairy and sugar, scalding and skimming off the skin will result in a lighter, more tender bread.

It's a small investment in time for better results.

Also, as Grainlady says, KAF's Special Dry Milk is an effective way to add dairy without the disadvantages.

Sometimes I think our foremothers had wisdom based on practical experience which we ignore to our detriment.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 4:10AM
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I have heard the same as everyone else here about not needing to scald milk now since it is no longer raw, but I too notice a difference in my old Hoska recipe if I don't scald the milk. It is not just volume but flavor as well. Something I have noticed since I started drinking the occasional cup of latte or cappuccino at Starbucks, the coffee drink sometimes tastes richer or sweeter depending on who is making it even though I always have it made with skim milk. I asked one of my favorite baristas about that and she said it was how long you froth the milk. The longer you froth the milk, the thicker and sweeter it gets, no doubt this applies to scalding milk for baking to. Perhaps that is why my Hoska always tastes best with scalded milk. I have tried using the Special dry milk you can get from KA, but although the Hoska rises well with this, it is not as sweet and rich as with scalded milk.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:39AM
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I've not researched this, but I was told that along with destroying the protease, the higher temps will "crack" some of the lactic acids. (This might explain why I can drink milk that has been scalded without discomfort, but not "uncooked" milk.)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 1:26PM
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Thanks everyone so much ... little did I realize that so much was involved in scalding the milk (nor did the old German woman who gave me this recipe)! I now know that when I 'thought' it made a dfference when I did/did not scald it was true.

Do any of you use the fresh cake yeast any more? I thought that it also made the bread taste & smell better than the dry yeast.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 3:57PM
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I prefer the flavor from fresh yeast to dry yeast. Red Star has a better flavor to me than Fleischmann's yeast. I bought some bulk bin yeast at Winco long ago. It was awful. Bad smell and flavor. After one batch of bread I tossed it. Probably tossed the bread, too.

The milk issues would explain why my loaves made with plain water are much prettier. Sometimes I use water if I'm out of milk. I'll go back to scalding. I've been using an newer recipe that doesn't ask for scalding, just warming.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 4:14PM
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I like fresh yeast but here, at least, it's becoming difficult to find. I need to check with one last bakery, but generally even bakeries have switched to the dry.

I do like SAF Gold for highly enriched breads. They claim it's formulated specifically for rich doughs and I have to say I've had good luck with it while using less than the recipes call for.

Fresh Loaf had an interesting discussion on SAF Gold in sweet breads and certain sourdough loaves.


Here is a link that might be useful: Question About SAF Gold

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 6:03PM
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Wow, I haven't seen cake yeast in ages. I use Red Star for most things, SAF Gold for enriched breads. I don't like Fleischman's at all. It smells unpleasant to me.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:54PM
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I can still buy cake yeast at a local upscale grocery store. I rarely do though. The store isn't at all convenient and it has a fleeting shelf life.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 9:12PM
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A little more information about SAF Gold yeast...

SAF Gold is an Osmotolerant INSTANT Active Dry Yeast. Osmotolerant instant active dry yeast is recommended for use in dough characterized as sweet, salty or low absorption. The osmosis is the means by which yeast cells absorb oxygen and nutrients and give off enzymes and other substances. This type of yeast is beneficial in certain types of recipes because osmotic tolerance is called for because the amount of available water in these doughs is limited.

A little hint when making sweet breads and you don't have an osmotolerant yeast product: add 1/4 t. ascorbic acid powder OR 3 t. lemon juice to assist in the rising. If you are not using an osmotolerant yeast product, it is sometimes recommended that the amount of active dry or instant active dry yeast in a sweet dough, as opposed to a lean dough, be increased. You can often find the yeast amount in sweet dough is higher than regular bread recipes.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:47AM
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