Is There Milk in Sourdough Bread?

Written by: Kelly Donovan

Milk and other dairy ingredients are some of the fundamentals when it comes to baking in the kitchen.

But is there milk in sourdough bread? If so, what types of dairy show up and in what quantities?

Sourdough bread doesn’t call for any milk. In fact, most sourdough bread recipes don’t call for any dairy ingredients unless you want to add them.

Read on to learn about the basic ingredients involved in sourdough bread and why it doesn’t involve milk. 

Occasionally, a sourdough bread recipe may call for the use of another dairy ingredient, like butter or cheese, so I’ll discuss vegan alternatives to those, too.

Is There Milk In Sourdough Bread?

No, there is no milk in sourdough bread. The primary ingredients include:

  • Sourdough culture
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Water  

The sourdough culture consists of pre-ferment, a mix of wild yeast and lactobacilli with water and flour. This is the “starter” to which you add salt, flour, and more water to create the classic dough.

loaf of sourdough bread on wood table

Is There Dairy In Sourdough Bread?

No. Sourdough bread doesn’t require any dairy products.

Occasionally, you may come across a special sourdough bread recipe that features a baked cheese topping or the use of butter to fatten the bread.

While this isn’t super common, the use of butter and cheeses does involve some dairy in the baking process.

Is There Lactose In Sourdough Bread?

Because the ingredients required to make a basic sourdough bread do not involve any dairy or milk, there is inherently no lactose in sourdough bread.

But again, if the recipe calls for a topping or add-ins like cheese or butter, it may contain lactose.

loaf sourdough bread next to oil

How To Substitute Dairy Products

If you find that your sourdough recipe calls for a dairy ingredient and you don’t want to use real dairy, you can always find eligible substitutes.

For example, there are now plant-based options for butter.

Additionally, many grocery stores offer affordable vegan alternatives to traditional dairy cheese products.

And you can always find lactose-free versions of butter and cheese products if you want to enjoy those ingredients but aren’t strictly plant-based.

Also, here's a helpful video from Connie's RAWsome Kitchen for vegan sourdough starter and bread!

Final Thoughts

Many people wonder is there milk in sourdough bread?

Whether the question comes from a desire to eliminate lactose from your diet or an attempt to go entirely plant-based with what you consume, sourdough bread is an ideal menu item.

Since sourdough bread simply contains salt, flour, water, and a fermented yeast starter, there is no need to worry about the presence of any milk or other dairy ingredients.

Unless a recipe specifically calls for cheese to be baked on top or for butter to be spread on the sourdough, it shouldn’t contain lactose.

If it does, however, you can substitute dairy products with plant-based options.

About the Author

Kelly Donovan is a freelance writer. She enjoys helping people reach their wellness goals by educating them about how food plays a role in their health.