MILK in Dough

for years we have put milk in our dough.
it’s a family dough recepie we have followed for years,but nobody in the family can tell me the purpose of it.
so can anybody help my with this?
i just noticed that all recepies on the site dont call for it.
thanks for the help

I did try adding milk, among other things I have added, and it did not help, in fact, I did not think it as good. If I remeber, it made the texture softer, less crispy.

Flour,water, salt, and yeast combination is hard to beat, when done with integrity.


For the answer to your question lets look at what milk really is; It is basically a bland of proteins, lactose (milk sugar) and fat (butter fat) and of course water if we are using fluid milk. To correctly use fluid milk you must first scald the milk, failure to do so can result in sporadic softening of the dough much in the same was as putting a little PZ-44 into the dough once in a while (one time slightly soft, the next time not so soft).
The lactose and protein of the milk will contribute to the crust color of the baked pizza crust, in the same way as any other sugar will. The butter fat content of the milk might contribute a little bit of flavor, but that would soon be lost to the dairy note contributed by the cheese. So…just what does milk really do for your crust? Not very much, except to increase the overall cost. This is why most pizza dough formulas don’t contain any milk. It’s a slightly different story if we are making bread, but we’re talking here about making pizza crusts.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

now that was a good answer ! thank you Tom,


Tom’s answers always are the best!

But, the keyword in tom’s reply was ‘bread’ How about a nice, fluffy, non-doughy deep dish crust? Add powdered milk, comes out airy, light, and tasty.

Hi there.

I’m adding my bit all the way from Perth, Western Australia.

We use a milk base sour dough additive when mixing our dough. The sour dough is a blend of full cream milk, sugar and flour which is mixed in a jar and sealed and left for 24 hours to ferment. It is added to the mix we have for our dough.

The sour dough makes our crust come out a nice golden honey brown colour. The cooked bases have a nice crispy edge and the base is crispy, yet chewy.

I inherited the sour dough recipe when I took over the shop from an Italian guy who had been in the pizza industry for 20 years. He claimed the sour dough made the pizzas “taste addictive” and that is why customers keep coming back. Whatever, but the bases are really good even if I say so myself - customers keep telling us they are great.

I know this sour dough mix with milk is not totaly related to the subjecty heading but I’m just letting you guys know how I’m using milk in my dough and how great it works.

Apparently there are on 2 or 3 outlets that use this sour dough in Perth, one being a previous store the guy I bought the business from owned.

It is a bit of a pain in the butt to make the sour dough up each night, but it does seem to give us a competitive edge. We trade head to head against the “chew and spews” with our large 13 inch pizzas average price of $14 for standards and $18 for gourmets, against Pizza Hut, Dominos and Eagle Boys 12 inch large at $5.95. Our customers are willing to pay for a good tasting pizza with a “special” tasting base.

Be it right or wrong, I think the milk added to our dough works for us, although I don’t think the milk quantity qualifies as the subject heading.

Anyway thanks for a great and informative forum. It is great to see how many people share infor to help others. This doesn’t happen in Australia outside a few guys who use this forum as well.

If any one would like the recipe for the sour dough please PM me and I will send it to you. Unfortunately I will then have to kill you!!! :lol:


In both bread and pizza dough/crust powdered milk (should be a high or super heat dry milk) has little affect upon the textural properties of the finished product. There is a legal definition for “milk bread” . It states that to be called milk bread, ALL of the liquid in the dough formula must be in the form of liquid milk, or the dough formulation must contain a minimum of 6.2% (based on the weight of the flour) of dry milk solids. I mention this because these breads are actually a bit more dense than regular breads. Ditto for pizza crusts. The only thing that will result in a lighter, fluffier finished pizza crust when milk is added to the dough formula is the reducing affect of the whey proteins (remember, this is why it is recommended thay only high or super heat dry milk be used, or that liquid milk be scalded before it is used in a dough. This reducing affect makes the dough a little softer in much the same way as PZ-44 or any other dough relaxer will (garlic powdeer or onion powder will have a similar affect) this softer, more relaxed dough may expand a little easier (more freely) during baking to result in a lighter textured crust. On the other side of the coin, you can achieve the same affect by simply increasing the water content of the dough slightly (2% of the flour weight) and save some money in the process. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should not use either whole or dry milk in your pizza dough, when used at sufficient levels it will help to increase the nutritional value of the crust slightly, but that’s about the extent of it. Flavor is a moot issue due to the other flavoring materials added to the pizza and the overpowering dairy note of the cheese topping. It is always a good idea to know what an ingredient does, and how it works, and that’s the story on milk in pizza dough.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

As you correctly indicated, the operative word is “sourdough”. You are actually using the milk as a culture for your sourdough. Sourdough can provide a great flavor to pizza crusts and with all of the acids/fermentation coming from the sour, crispiness should not be an issue. It sounds like what you are making is something like a home brewed high acid buttermilk. Sounds pretty good to me.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

What percentage of your liquid is this milk-based sour? Also, leaving it for 24 hours to ferment… in the fridge or at room temp?

To give a rough idea we put 5 cups of milk (approx 2.5pints), 12 ounce sugar and 20 ounce flour and mix to a smooth creamy texture. It is put into 2 jars. This added to a mix of 30kg (66lb) of flour with 15 litres (approx 26 pints) water.

The sour dough is left for 24 hours in 2 jars to ferment at room temperature. The jars are left on the bench that covers the refrigeration motor for the prep bench to get the heat to speed up the process. At times in winter we also put an upturned plastic bucket over the jars to keep the heat in. In summer (it averages 32 - 40+ degrees celius or 85 - 105+ fh) we tend to leave the the jars on the draining board area of the washing up sinks where it doesn’t get the added heat from the fridge motor.

You know when fermentation is right as the sourdough forces out under the lids of the jars. It really pops out with pressure when you relase the lid.

Hai David,

I am searching for a different pizza base to try. I Hope u don’t mind to share yr recipe to me.

:oops: grbutfly39

Please PM me to and I will forward you the recipe that we use. You should find it works well.

We make our dough around 8 - 9pm and put it in bulk sealed containers in the coolroom at 4 degrees celsius and then bring it at out 3pm the next day. We 'bring it back" in the mixer for about 5 minutes and then work it into balls, leaving them to stand for about 30 minutes before rolling them out.

We cook on a Middleby Marshall conveyor at 252 degrees celsius for 7 minutes and it cooks up a treat.

Looking forward to hearing from you so I can pass on the recipe.


Thank you Tom for your knowledge on dough.

I have had this recipe for about 7 years now, and it puts allot of smiles on everyones faces. This dough turns a nice golden brown, has a crisp outer shell, and a very chewy inner shell. I cook it at 460 degree for about 6:00 minutes in my Lincoln 1301’s

I got it from an old Domino’s Pizza friend of mine who just tweaked the Domino’s Pizza Recipe just a bit. My only issue with the dough is that it is only good for about 3 days. Days 2,3, and 1/2 of 4. I wonder how I might get the lifespan (7days) out of my dough that Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Pizza Hut get without screwing up my flavor.

8 quarts Water
3.75 Ounces Active Yeast
10.0 Ounces Brown Sugar
4.75 Ounces Salt
2 Cups Olive Oil
4 Cups Buttermilk

Your help would be appreciated.

If liquid, whole milk is added to the dough it will provide some butter fat to the dough, which might provide a slight improvement in flavor. Also, the milk is high in lactose sugar (milk sugar) which, will cause the crust to color-up more quickly during baking (this is not a good thing if you are looking for the crispiest pizza on the block). To fully get the benefits of adding milk to the dough formula it must be added at a level to provide at least 4% dry milk solids based on the total flour weight. Milk is roughly 10% solids and 90% water, so if you divide the weight of milk by 10 you will get the amount of milk solids that you are adding, then you divide this weight by the flour weight and multiply by 100 to get the actual percent of dry milk solids you are adding to the dough. For a dough made with 50-pounds of flour, you will need to be adding 20-pounds of liquid whole milk to the dough to get any significant affect. If the amount added is less than this you’re just wasting your money. In that case, just replace the milk with water and apply the savings towards your higher cheese costs.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Can you tell me if it’s “safe” to leave milk out for a day to ferment or if that is a huge health hazard? Until someone tells me it’s safe, I ain’t trying it.

It don’t make no matter what I personally think, your health department will see it as a huge food safety issue and probably get on your case for trying to do it.
If you want to go that route, try using cultured buttermilk.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Sure it does. I make dough at home :).

Oh…Since you’re making your dough at home, and not selling the pizzas, go for it! Just remember to take steps to avoid any potential for cross contamination. After handling the milk that has been setting out for several hours, be sure to wash your hands and wash them again after handling the dough. But like I said, all you’re really making is a form of high acid buttermilk, and you can buy that already.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor