HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


skim milk: why so watery??

  • m

does anyone know the process by which whole milk is turned into skim?? how do they remove the butterfat?? why are some skim milks more watery than others.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have always wondered that too.

    I hate skim milk, and cringe when forced to have it when whole milk isnt available.

    1. The only skim milk I can tolerate is Skim Plus. Most skim milk looks "blue" to me it's so thin.

      1. Milk you buy at the supermarket has been homogenized to prevent the fats (cream) from separating and rising to the top. To make skim milk, they just let the raw milk sit until the cream has separated, then skim it off the top. They then sell the cream separately or they can put some back in to the skim milk before homogenization to produce 1% or 2% milk. Whole milk is 3.5% fat.

        1. I have heard the more Vitamin D added the less 'skim taste"

          The store brand I use has Vitamin D added and to me tastes less like skim, less watery, than the same brand's 1% or 2%.

          1. Does anyone happen to know why non and lowfat milk has palmitate in it?

            1 Reply
            1. re: mselectra

              palmitate stabilizes the vitamin A that is added to the milk.

            2. Try Organic Valley skim milk. I cannot abide other brands, but this is quite delicious.

              1. Or try Ronnybrook skim milk - it tastes SO good, you'd think there was fat in it. And of course, their whole milk tastes amazing and fresh. They come in glass bottles.

                1. The "thicker" skim milk has skim milk powder added to it. That means it also has more calories, calcium and protein (but still no fat).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: piccola

                    I like "watery" skim milk- it's more refreshing than whole or 2%. In fact cold skim milk is, for me, the most thirst-quenching thing I can drink, next to plain water.

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      I don't really like the taste of milk, except in coffee or tea. In which case I use skim or 1% - to me, 2% tastes like cream.

                  2. I don't think changing to skim is ever one of those things you do because it's better. You do it because you want to cut the fat out. It will never compare to the real thing. It took me about 2 months when I decided to go to skim from 2% to stop noticing the "blue" water in my cereal and just see milk. But I do still indulge in 2% in my lattes, to make it more of a treat and enjoy the richness. But for everyday, it's skim now and I don't notice. It's just about commiting to the decision.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jboeke

                      Bizarrely, my mother, who is thin as a rail, will only drink skim milk. She finds any other kind too creamy. Not the case for me... I would happily drink glasses of whipping cream and pour it over my cereal if I didn't think it would be hideously bad for my health. You cannot get too creamy for my tastes.

                      1. re: vorpal

                        My Grandpa used to run a dairy. At family gatherings the elders always talk about how good milk used to be before homogenization, so I have been on a search for pasteurized but not homogenized milk and I've finally found some.
                        Hy-Vee, a grocery in the Midwest carries their store brand organic milk that has not been homogenized. It is totally different, even in their skim, there is a little cream at the top. Definitely less watery than traditional skim. Good Stuff!

                        1. re: vorpal

                          I'm with you, Vorpal. The creamier, the better. I order my latte's with whole milk (have to specify, it seems the default milk at most places is skim..bleh!) only when I'm not in the mood to order it Breve (made with 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk. So, so good.

                      2. the only way i can do skim is in cereal the sugars/starches etc in the cereal tend to thicken it up a tad
                        i can't drink it (it reminds me of dirty water i gag)
                        adding it to coffee nah better of drinking it black it does not add taste to coffee as do the other milks 1% 2% and whole it just waters it down

                        1. There are some skim products out there now with additives to make it less skim-like, but I can't see the point. I only use it for cereal (can't remember anything else we've made recently that actually takes milk, though we use half and half for a few things). I don't think I could even use 2% for cereal anymore; it would come out strange.

                          1. I like Claravale Farms raw nonfat milk. Tastes real, not watery. The only downside is that because it's fresh and doesn't have additives or preservatives or ultra-pasteurization (or any pasteurization), it doesn't have a long shelf life and you can only keep it in your fridge a few days before it sours. But is is really, really good.

                            I am lactose-intolerant, but I am fine with raw milk (apparently, pasteurization kills the enzymes that can help lactose-intolerant people digest milk). The worst thing in the world is the taste of the "Lactaid" milks which are ultra-pasteurized.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: omotosando

                              what are the risks of unpast. milk

                              1. re: foodperv

                                myths. ..

                                actually it depends on travel time and conditions, since most of us live a ways from the source it is an issue, kill your lawnmower and get a goat!

                                as long as its handled right the only questiion is curdling but weird bacteria can make it worse. (again, handling)

                            2. For less watery stuff, look for skim (or low fat) with solids added.
                              With unhomogenized milk, cream rises to the top and they skim it off. Hence the name.

                              1. I've been drinking skim milk due to the health benefits for so long that I don't even notice the wateriness. That said, skim milk makes a great milkshake paired with a good premium ice cream. I like Haagen Daz. The resulting milkshake is icy and creamy.

                                1. my partner actually prefers skim milk and finds anything else very heavy tasting. after many years of committing whole milk drinking, i have now switched to 1 % - and notice a marked difference in the taste of the organic brands. currently i have some stonyfield and it is really delicious. i assume this is because it has so much more flavor to start with that other milk. and the 0% fage yogurt i find just as delicious as the total, for sure. i was thinking about this recently in the thread about how your taste changes over time and have found that i no longer love fat like i used to. it sometimes is just too much for me, and when i was younger i could eat any amount joyfully.

                                  remember, too, that whole milk is only 4% fat - if you love it, it's not all that much, really. by the same token, switching to 2% is not too excrutiating.
                                  by comparison, cream is about 40% fat and butter 80%.
                                  also, milk is nutritious, unlike cream and butter. so if health is the concern, better to cut out that stuff than the milk.

                                  homogenizing the milk is basically done by forcing it at high pressure through teensy holes, thereby splitting up the fat particles and submerging them in the milk. this is why whole milk seems smooth and creamy. otherwise it is grainy, with the fat separating out.

                                  1. All milk is processed through a seperator and made into skim milk skim for processing, and then butterfat is added back into it to make whole, 2%, 1%. The cream that is left over is used for butter production or packaged for retail sale. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy

                                    Cheese can also be made from whole milk that has been pasteurized.

                                    1. certain brands use non fat milk solids and reverse osmosis to avoid a watery product.

                                      1. The process in which 'skimmed milk' (as opposed to semi-skimmed or full fat) is called hydronisation. The milk is placed in a chamber and is subject to a bombardment of hydrogen atoms. These combine with the oxygen which is already in the milk to essentially create water. However, because the milk is in a vacuum the water cannot form and instead restructures the atomic structure of the milk.

                                        As to why some milks are more watery than others, this relates to the bacterial content of the udder of the particular cow, where the hydrogenisation process affects differently the relative microbe content of what the industry terms, the 'host' cow.

                                        Hope this helps


                                        Andrew Mole

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: andymole

                                          A google search on 'hydronisation' does not give anything related to milk. Are you sure about this process of 'bombardment with hydrogen atoms'?