A baking secret that is much more common than it would first appear is using powdered milk in products such as food aid supplies, baked goods like bread, and even baby formula. If it is such a universally used product, there must be something that makes powdered milk better than liquid milk—but what?
Powdered milk is made by evaporating milk into a dry powder to preserve it. Thanks to it being a non-perishable product, storage and shipping are much lower in cost than the more perishable counterpart. This lack of expiry date makes it incredibly valuable to hikers, survival enthusiasts, and bakers alike.
Below, we’ll discuss all the ways you can use milk powder in baking as well as its benefits over liquid milk.
About Powdered Milk
Dry milk never expires; according to the FDA, powdered milk stored properly and unopened is useable for up to 10 years after its printed best buy date. For the avid baker, keeping dry milk on hand for baking needs can be much more convenient than milk that may go bad before its next use. Some bakers go as far as to say that using powdered milk in bread makes it fluffier than liquid milk.
- Drum dryers—the simplest and least expensive method
- Spray dryers—more commonly used as they cause less heat damage
Both of these are common methods of heating the liquid dairy and drying them out into powdered milk as we know the product. By taking the moisture from the liquid milk, the product becomes virtually unperishable.
Best of all, dry milk doesn’t compromise the flavor of a recipe, making dry milk the best of all worlds: non-perishable, inexpensive, easy to use, and virtually the same as liquid milk in a recipe.
Why Use Powdered Milk?
Powdered milk is versatile and has an incredibly long shelf life. This combination makes it an incredibly cost-effective substitute for liquid milk in baking, cooking, and other uses. Using powdered milk can save space in the fridge when you have big baking plans coming up, and it has an impressive list of uses for cooks and bakers.
Additionally, thanks to its inexpensive transportation and storage, dry milk is also cost-effective to purchase as it’s inexpensive for manufactures to get it to their destination.
Powdered milk can be used in baked goods, soups, hot chocolates, to improve the color of sauces and evening out the flavor of certain foods. It’s incredibly versatile, making it easy to argue the need for powdered milk for serious bakers and cooks.
Is Powdered Milk Just as Good as Liquid?
In terms of the proteins, calcium, and nutrients in liquid milk, powdered milk is pretty similar. However, there have been claims that powdered milk contains some dangerous cholesterol called oxidized cholesterol. Though it does indeed contain this cholesterol, the truth is there aren’t any studies that clearly state or identify oxidized cholesterol as a health risk or not. However, if this is a concern, know that low-fat and nonfat powdered milk greatly refuses the intake of cholesterol and fat.
What Can You Make Using Powdered Milk?
When buying powdered milk for a recipe, the next question you have may be, “How can I use the rest of this?” The answer is surprisingly easy; you can use powdered milk in many things you’d use liquid milk for.
Here are a few examples of uses for powdered milk:
- Whipped Topping: By using equal parts powdered milk and cold water in a stand mixer, you can whip up an easy, tasty, whipped topping. Start by whipping it until it’s fluffy, then add sugar and vanilla extract, and continue whipping until it’s at your desired thickness. Easy as that!
- Coffee Creamer: If you already enjoy powdered coffee creamer, try using the powdered milk as a substitute! With a long shelf life before expiry and ease of use, making your own coffee creamer could be incredibly easy.
- Hot Chocolate Mix: When making your own hot chocolate milk, powdered milk is often an essential ingredient. Since both the hot chocolate mix and the powdered milk have long shelf lives, the combination is a natural choice.
- Curds, Cottage Cheese, or Ricotta: All three of these start with the same base of making curds with the powdered milk. Bring two parts powdered milk and two parts water to a boil, then add in a little vinegar and let it stand off heat until it separates. Then pour the curds through a cloth. For the ricotta, you start with those steps and simply blend it till smooth; for cottage cheese, add evaporated milk and stir.
- Oatmeal Packets: Instant oatmeal packets can be easily replicated at home for much less than store-bought. By buying bulk oats and using powdered milk, you can easily make your own oatmeal packets easily and inexpensively at home.
Countless more recipes can use powdered milk online. It’s simple to find and incredibly versatile to use in the kitchen. Other ways powdered milk could be used is, thawing frozen fish, making sweet corn sweeteners, and even sunburn relief. Though, most commonly, powdered milk stays in baking and cooking.
Converting Powdered Milk to Liquid
When using dry milk instead of regular milk in a recipe, knowing the conversion rate is obviously very important to the recipe’s outcome. The flavor won’t be different from regular liquid milk, but knowing how to use powdered milk properly is essential. The general breakdown looks something like this:
|Liquid Milk||Powdered Milk Equivalent|
|½ cup||2 tbsp + ½ cup water|
|2/3 cup||2 tbsp + 2/3 cup water|
|¾ cup||3 tbsp + ¾ cup water|
|1 cup||¼ cup + 1 cup water|
|1 ¼ cups||1/3 cup & 1 tbsp + 1 1/3 cups water|
|1 ½ cups||½ cup + 1 ½ cups water|
It’s hard to argue against the usage of powdered milk. When it can be used in everything from drinks like hot chocolate and coffee to baked goods like bread and whipped topping, its usefulness speaks for itself. Powdered milk has been put under the scrutiny of some for its oxidized cholesterol, but with its long shelf life and lack of proven concerns, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to this product.
Its shelf-stable nature and its being non-perishable make it cost-effective, which is always a bonus for many people. Instead of taking up your fridge space with large jugs of milk before a weekend of baking or panicking about upcoming expiry dates, you can enjoy the freedom of baking as you please with powdered milk.
It has relatively easy conversion, versatility, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use going for it, making it the best-known baking secret for home and professional use.