The Overnight English Muffins recipe starts with scalding milk-bringing it to just under the boiling point-before letting it cool and adding it to the dry ingredients. I have to admit that when a recipe directs me to scald milk, I’ve been tempted to skip that step because I thought it was only a precaution left over from the days before pasteurization. So I asked Nicole Rees-author of the English muffin feature and also a food scientist-to explain the extra step. Turns out there is still good reason to scald milk, especially in yeasted doughs.
Scalding the milk denatures whey proteins. This makes the milk a better food for yeast, which means faster proofing, larger volume, and a fluffier product. It also makes for a smoother dough with better moisture retention. So the next time a recipe asks you to scald milk, just do it. It’s easy, and it can make all the difference.
Photo: Scott Phillips