Learn how to scald milk, a tried and true technique that yields the fluffiest breads, rolls, and cakes you've ever tasted. This old-fashioned technique still has its place in the kitchen, and it's remarkably easy to do.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add milk and heat until a skin forms on top of the milk, about 170 degrees.
Watch carefully to make sure the milk doesn’t boil. Remove immediately from heat and cool to 110 degrees before proceeding with your recipe.
Scalding temperature: Milk scalds at 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cool before using: Yeast dies at 138 degrees Fahrenheit, so allow the scalded milk to cool before using.
Microwave: Pour milk into a microwave-safe container and microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power, stirring every 15 seconds, just until steam begins to rise from the milk. To scald milk for custards or yogurt, heat 1 cup on HIGH (100%) power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
Better flavors: Vanilla bean, cinnamon, orange zest, and herbs can all be steeped in warm milk and bring extra flavor to a recipe. This is very important for ice cream recipes, custard, and pastry creams.
Proofing dough: Heating milk deactivates the proteins in milk whey that can keep gluten from forming properly. It can also help activate yeast for sweet breads and cakes.
Yogurt making: To make yogurt, sometimes dairy milk is scalded to kill off other bacteria that could compete with the yogurt culture.
Melting fats: At its simplest, scalded milk helps warm ingredients up. It can help dissolve sugar in custards and other baking recipes. It can also assist in melting butter or chocolate.
No curdling: Warm milk can gently heat up eggs in custards so they don’t curdle later in the process. It can cut down on cooking time a little bit, too.
In coffee: The French breakfast pick-me-up, cafe au lait, uses scalded milk blended with hot coffee.