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Monday, November 10, 2008

Recipe calls for scalded milk

Many older recipes called for you to scald milk, that is, to bring
it nearly to a boil (185°F, or more), preferably in a thick-bottomed
pan, and stirring actively, to keep a protein skin from forming on
the surface and keep the proteins and sugar from sticking to the
bottom. Scalding served two purposes, to kill potentially harmful
bacteria in the milk, and to destroy enzymes that keep the milk from
thickening in recipes. Pasteurization, however, accomplishes both of
those goals, and since almost all store-bought milk in Western
countries is pasteurized these days, scalding is essentially an
unnecessary step.

Some bakers recommend that you scald milk before using it in breads,
because there is a protein in the whey that marginally reduces the
volume of a loaf of bread as it rises and bakes. This is especially
noticeable with the use of nonfat dry milk, and it appears that the
amount of milk used really matters. That is, in relatively small
quantity, the use of unscalded milk seems to have no negative effect
on the formation of the loaf.

Another reason some recipes continue to call for scalded milk is
that they simply want you to heat the milk first, as it will speed
the cooking process, help melt butter, dissolve sugar more easily,

To help keep a scalding project from turning into a scorching one,
try some of these tips:

Rinse your pan with cold water before adding and heating the milk,
keep the heat to medium and stir attentively.
Heat the milk in a double boiler and stir occasionally.
Heat the milk in a heat-proof glass container in a microwave oven.

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