How To Scald Milk

Want to know how to scald milk? Occasionally, especially if you like trying out old-fashioned recipes, you may come across "scalded milk" in the list of ingredients. This isn't an item that can be purchased already prepared, like evaporated milk; it's made with a fairly simple process of heating the milk just to the edge of boiling.

Scalding milk is not necessary for health reasons as it was in the olden days, when it was done primarily to destroy bacteria. Today's modern pasteurization takes care of that. Scalded milk can make a slight difference in the texture of baked items and custards, though–if you haven't quite been able to copy one of grandma's recipes on the nose, scalded milk could be what's missing.

What you need:

  • saucepan or double boiler
  • milk (preferably whole, though you can use a lighter milk like 2%)
  • candy & fry thermometer (optional)

What to do:

  1. Heat the milk to 180 degrees. At this temperature, the milk should just begin to come to a light froth:  you will see around the edges of the pan, where tiny bubbles will form. This point can be determined visually or with a thermometer and can be done in a double boiler or, if you pay close attention, over direct heat.  You can also scald milk in a glass bowl in your newfangled microwave oven, checking it every 15-20 seconds.
  2. To prevent scorching, be sure to stir the milk as it heats.

Do you need to add this antiquated step if an old recipe calls for scalded milk? Not really. If you have a thing for doing things authentically, though, it's a good technique to know.



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