Whey Sourdough Bread

If you think you can replace water with another liquid in making sourdough bread, think twice. 

I do yoghurt at home and sometimes it makes whey. As this is such a great ingredient with high protein content, I wanted to use it for bread.

Yoghurt whey (also known as sour whey) is much more acidic then cheese whey (sweet whey).
The general recommendation is not to go over 20-30% the quantity of whey in the total liquid for sourdough bread. But I am using 44% liquid coming from sour whey for this recipe. 

The acidic environment of whey and its foreign protein affected the dough of this bread and some extra effort was needed to rescue this dough.

This is an interesting experience to bake bread. More than following a recipe, it is very important to read the dough. When I noticed that things were not OK, I had to adjust my steps and my techniques to correct the dough.

The adventure in making this bread is recorded here:

What I like the most with bread experiences is that you get a lot of lessons learned out of them. For example, this is what I learned by making this bread:

1. Sour whey does affect the dough by weakening the gluten development.

2. More sour whey in bread liquid requires extra handling and may lead to inconsistent baking.

3. You may keep higher whey quantities but use sweet whey, that is less acidic.

4.  For an easier bread, reduce the hydration in this recipe by lowering the whey quantity (with 50g, let's say).

Although tricky, I am happy with these loaves: crunchy crust, soft crumb and what a flavour ...


  • 190g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
  • 850g strong bread flour (14% protein)
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 350g water
  • 350g sour whey
  • 18g salt


  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 9:30] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  2. Immediately after,  Mix liquids + flours. Mix only the flours with water and whey just until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I used water at room temperature. The room temperature while doing this recipe was around 27ºC. If it is colder for you, use a bread proofer or find a warm spot in your house. Can be your oven with only the light on. 
    Then, you'll just need to cover the bowl with a lid to avoid the dough to dry at its surface. Leave the dough for the autolyse phase for 2 hours and a half.
  3. [Day 1, Saturday, 12:00] Sourdough starter. Add the starter over the dough and knead for 10 minutes with a standing mixer. If you do not have one, knead by hand. Then, leave the dough to relax for 30 minutes.
  4. [Day 1, Saturday, 12:30] Salt. Incorporate the salt and knead for 10 minutes more using the standing mixer. Then cover the bowl and let the dough to relax for 45 minutes.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:15] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Do some slap and folds if necessary. Let them sit covered for 45 minutes.
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:00] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowls and do the lamination. Let the dough rest covered for 30 minutes. 
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:30] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 5 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:00] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 30 minutes covered
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:30] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  10. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Coil fold 4. Do the fourth set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  11. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Coil fold 5. Do the fifth set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  12. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:30] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into well floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough. Let the covered bannetons still rest at room temperature for 1 hour before placing them in the fridge for 17 hours. This timing doesn't have to be exact. They can stay in the fridge between 14-20 hours without being over proved. Just be sure of the temperature inside your fridge to be 4ºC.
  13. [Day 2, Sunday, 11:00] Score. Before scoring you need to heat the oven with a baking stone inside until it reaches 270ºC. This takes about 45 minutes for me. Under the stone, place some lava rocks in an old pan that will be used to create steam.
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on a baking paper put on a peel. Score the bread or decorate as you prefer.  Immediately after, slide the loaves into the oven.
  14. Bake in the preheated oven at 270ºC on the hot stone for 20 minutes. For steaming, pour 150g of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. As a trick, I use a teapot to pour water far from the hand.
    No ventilator should be turned on in the oven in this first phase as you need to keep the steam inside the oven. After these 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 230ºC, turn on the ventilator of the oven to release the steam and continue to bake for 30 minutes.     
  15. [Day 2, Sunday, 11:45] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  16. [Day 2, Sunday, 12:15] Cut. Now is the big moment to see the crumb after cutting. Can you resist tasting it? 



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