The Gemara (Pesachim 30a-b) writes that one may not knead dough with milk (or meat), out of concern that this may lead to
eating milk and meat together, and if one did, the bread becomes forbidden. This halacha is brought in Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 97:1). However, if only a small amount of milk was added, such that the ta’am of the milk is batul b’shishim, then Maharit (chailek 2 siman 18; see also Pischei Teshuva 97:5) explains that the bread would be permitted. Likewise, Pischei Teshuva (97:4-5) permits bread to be baked in dairy keilim (nat bar nat). Nevertheless, it is the policy of the OU not to certify bread that is baked using dairy keilim, or that contains any amount of dairy, as this would necessitate labeling the bread OU-D, which would give the appearance that we are certifying dairy bread.
Although the OU does not certify dairy bread, even if the dairy is batul, however we do permit bread that contains below bitul levels of dairy to be baked on the same lines, provided a good cleanup (e.g. allergen style cleaning) is performed between products. Because the dairy is batul, there is no need to kasher the oven or pans, just to ensure their cleanliness.
However, it is often difficult to calculate whether a dairy ingredient is in fact batul in a bread recipe. This is because industrial formulas are given in weight, and halacha requires that bitul be calculated as a ratio of volume. Further complicating matters is that flour is very absorbent. Adding water to flour is like pouring water on a sponge. A significant amount of water (or milk) can be added to flour, without changing its volume. Another complication is that bread dough can be made in stages. An initial dough pillow can be formed and allowed to double in size before the remaining flour and ingredients are added. So in addition
to the difficulties in figuring out the initial volume of the pillow, one must also calculate the increase in volume. One practical method for calculating bitul is to only include in the cheshbon the dry ingredients. If after converting into volume, the milk powder is batul b’shishim in the other dry ingredients, then it will certainly be batul when the liquids are added as well.
Although milk powder is many times more concentrated than regular milk, it only requires bitul b’shishim. The Ran (Chulin 34b; brought by Beis Yosef 98:end) writes that concentrated chailev is batul in 60 parts, just like regular chailev. He explains that most issurim will not give ta’am even in much less than shishim, yet since some issurim can give ta’am up until 60 times, as a lo plug, Chazal required shishim in all cases. Therefore, even concentrated issur can be assumed to be batul b’shishim, unless it is known to be an avida l’taama (like salt or spices).
Will it require kashering?
If dairy breads were baked in an oven, will it require kashering? If pareve bread is to be baked in the oven, the oven will anyways need kashering so that the kosher bread can be labeled pareve. However, the question arises whether cakes or cookies, which are permitted to be labeled dairy, can be baked in the oven without kashering. Do we view dairy breads just like every other ma’achalos assuros? Teshuvas Tzemech Tzedek (Hakadmon) siman 80 writes that dairy bread is a full issur d’rabbanan and compares pas ha’nilush b’chalav to chicken cooked with milk. Therefore, according to Tzemech Tzedek the keilim would definitely require kashering. However, Chavas Da’as (Y.D. 97:2) and Yad Yehuda (Y.D. 97:5) disagree, and say that pas
ha’nilush b’chalav is more kal, and will not give a bliyos issur into other foods. Yad Yehuda compares dairy bread to bishul
akum which likewise is batel b’rov. Although there are two opinions brought in Shulchan Aruch as to whether one needs to kasher from bishul akum, and l’halacha we are machmir, however Rav Schachter explains that regarding pas ha’nilush b’chalav there is even more reason to be maikel. Rav Schachter explains (K-329), based on Ha’gos Issur V’heter (klal 39; brought by Shach 97:2), that pas ha’nilush b’chalav is only a safek issur (i.e. maybe it will be eaten with dairy, maybe it will be eaten with meat).
This is more similar to eating milk after meat without waiting 6 hours, since this might lead to eating milk and meat together.
The issur is on the person eating the food, not on the food. Additionally, Ha’gos Rebbi Akiva Eiger (O.C. 196:1) writes that one who ate pas ha’nilush b’chalav may be included in a ziymun, since it is an issur kal. Rebbi Akiva Eiger 1 explains that dairy
bread is more kal than other issurim, since according to some poskim the issur can be removed by dividing up the dairy bread among many recipients so that each receives a davar mu’at and there will be no leftovers. Although we don’t pasken like this opinion, still Rav Schachter argues that we can rely on this opinion regarding kashering. However, Rav Schachter cautioned that although, m’ikar ha’din we may be maikel, but since many poskim were machmir, lichatchila one should not permit dairy bread to be baked on kosher keilim, unless one will kasher. However, in situations where it will be difficult, perhaps one can be maikel, since this is the ikar ha’din.
Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 97:1) says that one may bake dairy bread if it is made with a shinuy tzura (changed form) to alert us that the bread is dairy. Beis Yosef (Y.D. 97) quotes Rashba that the purpose of the shinuy tzura is to serve as a heker (sign) that will arouse suspicion and should lead one to ask. For example, although croissants are made with butter, they are not a concern of pas ha’nilush b’chalav, since they are readily identifiable by their crescent shape. Although there do exist pareve croissants which are made with margarine instead of butter, yet one would be expected to ask. Another example is pizza crust. The OU permits pizza crusts to be made with milk, even if no cheese is baked on top, since the pizza shape should arouse suspicion
that perhaps it is a dairy item. The same sevara applies to calzones and garlic knots, which are both made using pizza dough. These items are readily identifiable as pizza-store-type items, which one could imagine being dairy, or baked in a dairy oven. The fact that these items have a distinct look, which is associated with a pizza store and pizza type products, qualifies as a shinuy tzura, and one would be expected to ask whether or not they are dairy.
By Rabbi Eli Gersten, RC Recorder of OU Psak and Policy