How to Scald Milk – Step by Step Guide to Fluffier Recipes

Scalding can sometimes be a scary term.

Think of molten coffee causing second and third-degree burns.

That is why some people are afraid of the idea of scalding milk.

The definition is wide, and while some understand it as burning hot, others know the right definition is heated to just below a boil.

When you talk about how to scald milk, you are talking about the second definition.

Scalding means bringing the milk to a near boil and then cool it.

The goal is to activate proteins during heating milk, which changes the taste and flavor a bit.

Scalded milk is great for cakes, bread, and anything else with yeasts.

It makes your recipe fluffier and lighter.

Back in the days, the main purpose of scalding milk was to kill bacteria, but today, given that milk is pasteurized, we use scalded milk for secondary reasons.

Scalding milk kills the whey protein, allowing the gluten to stay intact.

Scalded milk will also help dissolve sugar and yeast, which will make your doughs rise better.

There are two ways for scalding milk, one in the microwave, and one on the stovetop.

The latter is more time consuming, but most people prefer to use the stovetop.

How to scald milk on the stovetop

Stovetop is usually the first option when it comes to how to scald milk.

Some say it is more practical, and some just do not have a microwave in their home.

Either way, here is a step by step guide on how to do it.

  • Pour the measured milk into a saucepan on the stove. Make sure to measure the milk beforehand to ensure you do not waste any milk
  • Heavy-bottom pan is best for scalding milk on the stovetop because it will heat the milk more evenly
  • Turn the oven heat to medium to low, making sure your milk does not heat up too quickly. This will prevent the milk from burning
  • Watch the milk during the entire heating and scalding process, it should take 4 to 5 minutes to scald
  • Stir frequently until you see the steam and bubbles appearing at the edge. Stirring will prevent a protein film from developing on the surface of your milk. If this happens, you cannot use the scalded milk in a baking recipe. Stirring also helps disperse the heat evenly
  • Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the milk starts to bubble. You will see the bubbles appear across the entire body of milk, and you do not want to let them progress to a roiling boil
  • Let the temperature cool down to 105F. It will take 5 to 10 minutes for the milk to cool down. During the time, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients in your recipe

How to scald milk in the microwave

Scalding in a microwave gives you less control over the temperature of your milk.

In addition, you need utensils that are microwave-safe.

  • Pour the required amount of milk into a microwave-safe bowl. You can use skim milk, powdered milk, or whole milk. Glass bowls are the safest to use in a microwave. Plastic bowls are not safe. Your bowl has to be deep enough so that the milk will not splash over the sides
  • Put a wooden chopstick in the dish before putting in the microwave. You can also use a bamboo skewer. The role of the chopstick is to break the surface of the milk and keeps from boiling over
  • Microwave the milk for 30 seconds on medium-high heat. There is no need to put a cover on the dish, as 30 seconds at a time will keep the milk from overheating. Do not put the dish in the microwave for 3-4 minutes at once, as it will cause the milk to heat unevenly
  • Remove the dish using hot pads and stir the milk to disperse the heat evenly
  • Check the temperature of the milk using a candy thermometer
  • Keep heating, stirring and checking the temperature every 30 seconds. Heating the milk gradually will prevent it from boiling, burning, or getting too hot. Usually, it takes 3 to 4 minutes for the milk to get the appropriate temperature
  • Stop microwaving once your milk reaches a temperature of 180F. If your milk exceeds 212F, you need to start over again with fresh milk
  • Let your milk cool down to room temperature before adding to recipes. While it might strange to cool down a milk that has been heated, you need to know that what happens to the proteins during the scalding process that matters

Commonly asked questions

Can you use skim milk for scalding?

Yes, you can use other types of milk, including skim milk in your recipes.

If the recipe calls for whole milk or milk, you should assume it is full-fat milk.

You can substitute skim milk for whole milk in 1:1 ratio.

Can you use almond milk?

No, almond milk, rice milk, or any other types of milk that are not dairy will not work.

Simply put, they do not have the same proteins as regular milk, and the taste/flavor will not be the same.

Can you use milk powder?

Powdered milk is another option you can use.

Powdered milk is just a dehydrated version of liquid milk, so it has the same proteins as whole milk.

Where can I use scalded milk?

You can use scalded milk in any recipe that calls for milk, especially those with yeast.

Those are the ideal options for scalded milk. Scalded milk will make your final product lighter and fluffier, so have that in mind before using it instead of regular milk.

What to pay attention to?

There are a number of things that can go wrong when you are trying to scald milk.

You are there to ensure they do not happen.

  • Your milk could boil, and once it does, it can go over the top quickly. Prevent it by staying and watching your milk
  • Ensure your milk does not boil by using a pan that is much taller, so that if the milk starts to boil, you can pull it off the heat without making a big mess
  • Keep your heat on medium to low
  • Your milk can scorch and leave a gross brown or black film on the bottom of your pan. Again, you need to stay close and pay attention to your milk
  • Make sure to stir frequently with a spatula and look at the edges
  • The moment you notice the first signs of scalding, stop heating your milk

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