Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a nice, healthy Type 110 wheat-based sourdough starter that I use to make bread and pancakes.

I've recently discovered that it may be possible to feed the starter with milk instead of water. Is this true? I'm a bit paranoid that rotting milk will introduce unwanted bugs that rotting flour won't. How would it affect my starter? Or should I just stick to water in the starter, but add milk to the bread, instead?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Adding milk works because milk is mostly water. It might even work better, as it also contains sugar (lactose) which will be eaten by your starter's yeasts and bacteria.

But it also contains other stuff, such as fats. And fats, after some time, get rancid. You probably won't want that taste in bread or pancakes. I would stick to water (which quite probably you'll find cheaper than milk).

Don't worry about rotten milk: your starter is already rotten. And it's a hostile environment for most microbes. It's very very improbable new microbes would survive there. But if they do, they'll be quite similar to the already existing ones.

share|improve this answer
You can also feed your ongoing starter water, and then when you remove some for a recipe, feed that milk while strengthening it. – SourDoh Sep 19 '13 at 15:08

I have always fed my sourdough starters milk and flour. I have tried it with water, but I feel it was not as tangy as the milk started bread. As far as the dough goes, I usually use water or milk, depending on what I have on hand. That doesn't make nearly as big a difference.

share|improve this answer

I agree, milk makes a better starter - much more sour. If you want you can use nonfat milk, too! I use 1% - have done so ever since I started -- 10 or more years -- I tried switching to water, just didn't work well.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.