Upgrade Your Sourdough: Replace Water with Milk - Level up 💯

Yes, you can absolutely use milk instead of water for your sourdough starter! Using milk can add a delicious richness and depth of flavor to your sourdough bread. It's a great option if you want to experiment with different flavors and textures in your baking.

Why use milk in your sourdough starter?

Using milk in your sourdough starter can have several benefits. First and foremost, it adds a creamy and slightly sweet flavor to your bread. This can be especially desirable if you're making sweeter breads like cinnamon raisin or brioche. The milk also adds moisture to the dough, resulting in a softer and more tender crumb.

Another advantage of using milk is that it can enhance the keeping qualities of your bread. The fat and proteins in milk help to retain moisture, which can help your bread stay fresher for longer. This is particularly useful if you're planning to make a large batch of bread and want it to last for a few days.

How to use milk in your sourdough starter:

To use milk in your sourdough starter, simply replace the water called for in your recipe with an equal amount of milk. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of water, you would use 1 cup of milk instead. It's important to note that using milk may affect the fermentation process, so you may need to make some adjustments to your recipe or feeding schedule.

When using milk in your sourdough starter, it's best to use whole milk or a milk alternative that has a similar fat content. This will provide the best flavor and texture to your bread. You can also experiment with different types of milk, such as almond milk or oat milk, to create unique flavors in your sourdough.

Tips for maintaining a sourdough starter with milk:

Maintaining a sourdough starter with milk is similar to maintaining a regular sourdough starter. Here are a few tips to help you keep your milk-based starter healthy and active:

1. Feed your starter regularly: Just like with a regular sourdough starter, it's important to feed your milk-based starter regularly to keep it active. Feed it with equal parts flour and milk, discarding a portion of the starter before each feeding to keep the volume manageable.

2. Watch for signs of fermentation: Pay attention to the activity of your milk-based starter. It should rise and fall predictably, with a pleasant aroma. If you notice any off smells or unusual behavior, it may be a sign that your starter needs to be refreshed or adjusted.

3. Adjust your recipe as needed: Using milk in your sourdough starter may require some adjustments to your recipe. Milk can affect the hydration and fermentation of the dough, so you may need to make changes to the amount of flour or fermentation time.


Using milk in your sourdough starter can add a wonderful flavor and texture to your bread. It's a great option if you want to experiment with different flavors and create unique sourdough treats. Just remember to make adjustments to your recipe and feeding schedule as needed, and enjoy the delicious results of your milk-based sourdough baking!

Baker Betty
sourdough bread, artisanal baking, fermentation, food photography

Baker Betty is a passionate home baker who has been experimenting with sourdough for over a decade. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with fellow sourdough enthusiasts.