What does 2% milk look and feel like at 100 degrees Fahrenheit?

I'm attempting to make pain de mie with these recipes:


Unfortunately, I don't have a thermometer and I can't really tell from the pictures what I need to know. I tend to gauge by look and feel and have made yogurt this way for years. I'm assuming that 100 degrees can't feel much warmer than body temperature, but would like to know any details, like should I be seeing some frothing/bubbles, how long should I be able to keep my finger in the milk before singeing, whether I should be able to smell the milk (like when it boils), providing pictures would be useful, etc. Any details will be helpful. I'll definitely buy a thermometer next time I'm at the store, but for now, this will have to do. Thanks in advance.

  • Posted by: Jyojo
  • July 26, 2011


Jyojo July 26, 2011
Thank you Syronai, Chef Krull, and boulangere! All of your answers have been edifying and useful.

Yes, I had figured that the milk couldn't be heated too much because yeast tends to die at high temperatures (learned from previous experience with homemade pizza dough), but I just wasn't confident enough to go ahead with my instincts. I'm always plagued with self-doubt when baking, and it shows in the results. So glad to read your thoroughly explanatory responses, it's very reassuring! :)

It's my first time making pain de mie, but I haven't been able to think of much else after reading these recipes and rave reviews! Thanks again, guys!
boulangere July 26, 2011
Good questions! First, no, no bubbles. The sure sign that milk had reached a scald at 165 is tiny bubbles all around the edges. You want to stop far short of that. You're perfectly correct as to how 100 should feel: just ever so slightly warm. Milk or water at body temp feels neutral, like nothing, neither warm nor cool, so 100 degree milk will feel just slightly warmer than that. Basically, your objective is to get it warm enough that the yeast will proof up nicely without being so hot that it kills it, or so cool that the yeast takes a longer time to get to work. And do grab a thermometer when you have a chance. Your pain de mie sounds lovely!
Chef K. July 26, 2011
You don't want the milk too hot or you will kill your yeast. It should feel hot, but not hurt your finger.
beyondcelery July 26, 2011
I don't use a thermometer either. For 100F, I'd go by testing a drop on the inside of your wrist (like for baby formula). If it feels just barely warm, you're most likely close enough. Since it's for bread, you just need to make sure you're not getting it so hot it'll kill the yeast (yeast dies around 140F).
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