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Mar 10, 2005 11:11 AM

Scalding milk for bread

  • d

Several yeast bread recipes I have call for milk, "scalded then cooled to warm." Cooled I understand (hot milk might kill the yeast), but why scalded? Is it absolutely necessary for pasteurized milk?

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  1. Doctor Mama (geez, I always liked the name buttercup!)

    I think it has to do with the need to inactivate an enzyme in milk that otherwise causes problems for the yeast. I know, one would think that pasteurization would do this, so I'm a bit confused as well.

    Surely there will be others more knowledgable than me, who can correct us both!


    6 Replies
    1. re: Smokey

      No need to scald milk's a throwback to the old days when we got our milk unpasturized...kind of an 'I do it that way because my mother does it that way' kind of thing. Warm it up, but there is no need to scald it.

      1. re: Cyndy

        actually.. cooks illustrated, within the past year, had a recipe for something (can't recall what it was... maybe biscuits?) and they tested scalding and not scalding, and the recipe with the scalded milk clearly rose better than the non scalded. So there still is something to it... just can't recall the specifics.

        for whatever it is worth...

        1. re: adamclyde

          Yes, you need to follow the directions and scald the milk. It has nothing to do with sanitizing the milk. YOu need to scald the milk to deactivate the protease enzyme which will slow down yeast production and cause breakdown of the protein in flour, otherwise. Heat to just under boiling and then cool to warm.

          1. re: Kitchenette
            Doctor Mama (formerly Buttercup)

            This is interesting. The recipe in question was for hamantaschen for the upcoming Purim (Jewish) holiday. I ended up using soy milk to keep it non-dairy entirely. The dough is now in the freezer; we'll see how it turns out.

            I will definitely scald in future if the recipe calls for it.

            1. re: Kitchenette

              Ok, I answered this question differently (above), because my impression (admittedly, knowing nothing about pastuerization) is that pasteurization is a process in which the milk is heated to kill off bugs. If the goal is to kill bacteria/viruses/pathogens, my assumption is that to do that, the milk is heated to a high enough level to deactivate an enzyme. If that's the case, then there is no reason to heat the milk (again) to allegedly destroy the tertiary structure of a protein (which I don't think would have survived the the pasteurization process intact).

              So, which part of my assumption is wrong? Does pasteurization not involve raising the temperature that high? What's up?


              1. re: Smokey

                Unless a milk product is "ultrapasteurized" pasteurization temperature never reaches above 163 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperatue will kill *certain* but not all bacteria. Scalding - at a much higher temperature - kills the protease enzyme that attacks the gluten (the element providing texture and structure to breads) in the flour.