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uses for powdered milk

I made a version of Momofuko's famed crack pie a few weeks ago and to do so had to buy powdered milk. The pie turned out great, but it left me with a package of powdered milk and no ideas on how to use it up. Can anyone explain to me what powdered milk does in a recipe? I know that it can be used as a substitute for milk with water, but what does it add to a recipe that already has plentiful milk in it? What would be some thoughts about how to incorporate it into other recipes without giving them that yucky, fake taste? For instance, mixing it with yogurt or butter... help!

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  1. Good for baking classic white country-style bread, as an enrichment, or in baked products that call for milk as the liquid.
    Use it for making yogurt, for a thickening and enriching effect.
    Powdered milk has certain nutritional value.
    You won't taste it in baked products or yogurt, but it's certainly not for drinking straight, IMO, bleh.

    Here's a link with other suggestions, including some non-food uses, such as removing makeup, as a face mask, for a milk bath, etc.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      I've never understood why some bread recipes call for powdered milk and water, instead of milk. Does anyone know if powdered milk adds something that regular milk doesn't?

      1. re: chowser

        Well, for example, the classic white loaf calls for DMS (dried milk solids) as a substitute for fresh milk. It's just a substitute for another dairy product, and doesn't necessarily improve the loaf, but the use of dairy in bread gives this type of loaf it's character. It will effect the outcome slightly, flavor-wise, and you need to try different milk products, whole, lowfat, buttermilk, DMS, in your loaves to see what you personally prefer.

        Commercial bakeries use DMS rather than fresh milk, as it's much easier and cheaper to store, scale, and has a much, much longer shelf life than fresh. It's cost-effective. It's also used confectionery, like milk chocolate and caramel, and in humanitarian feeding situations, where refrigeration is an issue. I'm sure has other applications, world-wide. DMS world production is dominated by NZ and it is sold on a futures market.

        It is just as nutritious as whole milk, although higher in cholesterol, but has the same amino acid profile, and is vitamin-fortified.

        DMS use just may be a throwback to a time when fresh milk was expensive (like it is now) and not so readily available everywhere, you know, like in your Grandma's era. DMS has been around for centuries, being "invented" in the 1850's. The Mongols used a version of it.

        Now, as far as using milk products in bread, along with the butter, egg and small amount of sugar normally present in a white loaf, it works as an enrichment, giving you a tender crumb and softer texture, with an airy quality. White bread is not everybody's cup of tea these days, given the popularity of the artisan bread movement, but still is widely eaten by a large portion of the US population.

        Peter Reinhart, in BBA, offers it for use as an alternative to fresh milk in some of his white bread recipes. You don't even have to reconstitute it, if using instant yeast.

        So it comes down to budget and what you prefer.

        PS, I got some of the historical info from Wiki, paraphrased, of course. This is not info I normally have floating around in my head. I am not a nerd.

        1. re: chowser

          In Christina Tosi's recipes the powdered milk adds an essence of milk without actually adding more liquid. I had never made "milk crumbs" until I made the recipe for her Blueberry and Cream Cookies, but I have to say they are really good. She also has a recipe in Chang's cookbook (for Strawberry Shortcake) that calls for it. I highly recommend that recipe as well.

          Here's a link to the Blueberry and Cream Cookies:

          1. re: ladybugthepug

            Dried milk I find to be more expensive than fluid milk. I do keep some in case I run out or for baking or hot cocoa mix. I don't care for nonfat milk for drinking but you can get protein fortified skim which I assume has added dried milk. It is ok for drinking, esp if you are used to 2percent. By the way even 2percent is not considered low fat.

      2. Also it's wonderful as part of a homemade hot coco mix, add that to baking coco and sugar.

        1. I don't know what the difference is between using dry powder & water vs whole milk in recipes but I use the dry powder in my coffee instead of creamer. I also mix up a little to refrigerate for recipes so I don't have to use my liquid milk.

          1. If you use dry powdered milk in a bread recipe, rather than plain water or regular milk, the bread will be loftier.

            here's a photo at King Arthur Flour, I couldn't find any others:

            You have to roll your cursor over the 2 loaves to enlarge them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: runwestierun

              Is it this special dried milk from KA that makes the difference or will Carnations do it, too? Recipes I've seen w/ dried milk use water, too. I wonder if I'd get a richer loaf if I used both powdered milk and milk.

              1. re: chowser

                Try it and see. DMS is normally non-fat and adding whole or lowfat milk won't increase the fat content too much. Try it with a combo of buttermilk, if you like that. Makes a good, rich loaf with a nice flavor.

                Hard to say if the the KA DMS is better than Carnation. I'd ask them because I know their product is pricier than Carnation, plus shipping. It's highly likely that KA repackages Carnation, or another commercial brand, packed for the baking industry, for sale at their store. It's interesting that KA states at their website that their special dry milk powder does not reconstitute, so I believe they mean it's not instant. That really doesn't matter, as you can just mix it with the other dry ingredients when baking.

                Buy instant powdered milk if you do want to reconstitute. The un-instant variety is very hard to dissolve and tends to stay lumpy. You need to virtually put it in a blender or use a immersion blender, to get it smooth.

            2. Powdered milk is one of the main ingredients in gulab jamun...

              1. I hate to start a new topic for this question so I'm going to reviive this thread for this question...

                With six teenagers to feed (Brady bunch), I'm thinking about using Powdered Milk for ... Milk.

                Growing up, in my summer visits to cousins on the farm, I remember they used powdered milk, primarily because the nearest grocer was quite a distance and they only went shopping every two weeks. According to the Hillbilly Housewife, non-fat dry powdered milk tastes better than it used-to. She recommends mixing it with whole milk to gain back some of the taste of milk fat.

                If anybody else has tried this, which is your favorite product? I'm looking at "NESTLE NIDO DRY WHOLE MILK." Product of Nestle Mexico. The ad calls it "Nestle Instant Full Cream Milk Powder."

                6 Replies
                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  First off, if it's dry WHOLE milk, it's got fat in it. Dry NONFAT milk obviously doesn't. So that's going to make a difference.

                  Anyway, we did this when I was a kid because it's so much cheaper than fresh milk! My advice is to start with a mix of 75% fresh milk and 25% reconstituted milk, do that for a week or so, then go to 50-50. It's easier to get a taste for it that way. You can drink 100% reconstituted dry milk, but it does have a sort of "cooked" taste, so mixing it with fresh milk is, I think, the way to go.

                  1. re: LauraGrace

                    > if it's dry WHOLE milk, it's got fat in it

                    I actually figured this was a marketing spin because I'm no chemist but how do you dehydrate fat into a powder? I mean you can use a fat-absorbing substance like corn or potato starch, and irradiate it, but then rehydration with just water?

                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                      Fat can be powdered. Check out the label for Kraft Mac and Cheese. Unprepared, it has 3 grams of total fat in it. Ditto with many of the Lipton (or is it Knorr now?) packaged noodle side dishes (perfect for backpacking!!!) - they all have some fat in them, straight out of the package.

                      I don't know how it's done, just that a lot of powdered products contain fat.

                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                        The ingredients list is: Whole milk, soy lecithin, vitamin A, D3

                        calories per serving 150, from fat 70; 12g carbohydrate (sugars), 8g fat.

                        My current can lists Chile as the country of origin.

                        While dehydrating an oil, or other high fat product would be problem, whole milk if 4% fat. My guess is that there are enough milk solids so the final product remains a powder. The lecithin may help.

                        It doesn't mix quite as well as instant non-fat milk, and probably does not have the same shelf life. I don't think there is any thing new or novel about whole dry milk. Rather, for some reason, US manufacturers stopped making it in favor of the non-fat, probably because there was a high industrial demand for the non-fat, and a more profitable market for the fat by itself.

                        1. re: paulj

                          <While dehydrating an oil>

                          How does one dehydrate an oil? Isn't that physically impossible, given that an oil, by definition, contains zero water?

                          As for shelf life, fat could become rancid, but the proclivity of fat to turn rancid is a function of the environmental conditions as well as the properties of the fat itself. While some fats go rancid quickly, others are very shelf stable, and I'd guess that Kraft Mac n Cheese doesn't worry about the fat in its powder package going bad.

                          Given that the higher fat content milk has, the longer its shelf life in the fridge (skim goes bad in a couple weeks, heavy cream lasts a couple months), I'm really not sure how shelf lives would compare.

                          Agreed, in the US, the industrial (and consumer) demand for dry milk is mainly for baking or as an additive in cooking. Plus, in the US, getting enough fat or calories is hardly an issue. In many parts of the world where milk is tough to get, and getting enough calories can be a challenge, there's no reason to take out the fat.

                    2. re: GraydonCarter

                      Nonfat dry milk is going to taste more like skim milk than 2% or whole. I used to use, for camping, Milk maid 'with a touch of cream' dry milk, which is closer to 2% in flavor. Now neither my wife or I drink much milk, so I keep some Nido on hand for cooking needs. In some Asian markets I've seen Nido under the Klim label, which is an old dry milk brand (Red Cross supplied it to POW in Germany).

                      Nido has a good flavor, though it's harder to mix well than non-fat dry. As with most products the larger cans are a better deal (per pound).

                    3. Some blini recipes call for milk powder. A friend of mine gave me a recipe (exact provenance unknown) which calls for 1/4 cup. They are good, light, with a nutty/tangy flavour and not too sweet - hold up to syrups and jam well.

                      • 1 packet "quick"-type active dry yeast
                      • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm (105 to 115 degrees F.) water
                      • 1 Tablespoon honey
                      • 3/4 cup (light) buckwheat flour
                      • 1/4 cup all-purpose white flour, preferably unbleached
                      • 1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
                      • 2 Tablespoons commercial sour cream or plain yogurt
                      • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled
                      • 2 large eggs, separated
                      • Pinch of salt
                      • .
                      • For Frying:
                      • Butter, margarine, vegetable oil, or non-stick cooking spray

                      In a medium-sized bowl, combine the yeast, water, and honey. Let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes, or until it is foamy.
                      Stir in the flours, milk powder, sour cream or yogurt, melted butter, and egg yolks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rest for 30 minutes. It will not rise very much, but will form bubbles on the surface.

                      In a separate, clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt just until they form stiff peaks; do not overbeat them, or they may be difficult to fold. Gently, but thoroughly, fold the beaten whites into the batter.

                      Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat and lightly grease it. Spoon 1-1/2- to 2-tablespoon measures of the batter onto the preheated griddle. When bubbles have formed on the surface of the pancakes, and the bottoms are browned, turn them once and cook just until lightly browned on the second side. Serve the blini with the desired accompaniments, or with pancake syrup.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: limoen

                        Use it to make paneer.

                        WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

                        1 gallon whole milk
                        1 c powdered milk
                        1/4 c organic plain yoghurt (you need LIVE culture)
                        1 to 2 T distilled white vinegar or lemon or lime juice, if the yoghurt doesn't fully separate the curds and whey

                        A colander
                        A large stainless steel or enameled pan or stock pot
                        A milk jug filled with water or other weight

                        Flour sack cloth or clean muslin intended for cheesemaking. Don't try to use typical cheesecloth - the stuff that looks like gauze. The weave is too loose. You want a lint free cotton muslin or linen towel, or flour sack cloth. You used to be able to get good flour sack cloth towels at Walmart but the ones they carry now are a much looser weave. The old ones were lots better, but the new ones will do.


                        Add the powdered milk to the whole milk and stir well.

                        Heat the milk to just barely simmering. DO NOT LET IT BOIL! Mostly because you greatly increase the chances of making a mess, and also it just doesn't need to be that hot.

                        When you see the first few bubbles, add the yoghurt and stir. The curds should separate quickly. If the whey still looks milky, add the vinegar or lemon juice one T at a time until the whey is a thin yellowish-green color. It almost never takes more than 1 T. Remove from heat immediately.

                        Line a colander with your muslin or flour sack cloth. If you want to reserve the whey, suspend the colander over a large pan to catch the whey - you can use it to make soups and curries, to make chapati or puri, or just google "uses for whey".

                        After the whey has drained off, twist the towel to make a sort of a bag and suspend it over the sink or a pan to finish draining. (One way to do this is to tie this makeshift bag to a spoon laid across the top of a large stock pot).

                        Fold the straining cloth over the drained curds, remove from the colander, set on a plate inside a pan and put a heavy weight on top to press the curds. I usually put the paneer wrapped in the muslin in the bottom of a large pan and set a plate on top of it, then put a milk jug full of water on top. I let that sit in the fridge overnight. Take it out the next day - there will be additional whey pressed out - unwrap it, cube it, and you're good to go.


                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            I'm not sure what you're asking? Sorry . . .

                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                              Not bwg here, but she's asking you: Is the blog you listed your blog?

                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                Sorry, is it your personal blog, that you write. I like it either way, yours or not.

                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                  Oh, sorry, I'm slow these days! Yes, that's my blog that I write. I'm often too tired to keep it up the way I should but hopefully things will be better soon.

                        1. Completely not cooking related, but if you suffer from dry skin during the winter, powdered milk in your bath will leave you with the softest skin ever. It actually bubbles up a bit when you add to the bathtub. I usually do the dry milk bath a few times a month in the winter, and seriously, it's like you have new skin when you get out of the tub.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mschow

                            Thank you, I am so going to try this when it cools down here again!
                            I love baths, and I need new skin. ;)

                          2. It's not a food use, and I'll probably get a new one ripped for me posting this here, but powdered milk is a GREAT facial scrub.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mamachef

                              While we're at it, until we get deleted or something, here's another tidbit "found on the web" which means untried by me and undocumented as to authenticity, but who knows?

                              "And while there may be better things for insect bites, if nothing else is handy, quickly make a paste with equal parts of powdered milk, salt, and cayenne pepper. It can prevent swelling and take the pain out of stings, and soothe the itching of mosquito bites."

                            2. I've used it in all sorts of baking applications that call for milk and never had anyone notice. We don't drink milk, so I hate to buy it and have it go bad. Sometimes I get the little cafateria sized cartons, but I can get like 1/2 pound of bulk dried milk for the same price. I also have used it in these chewy stew dumplings I make and it adds a richness I don't get when I use water or broth.

                              1. I used some just last night when making up a batch of steel cut oatmeal for some breakfasts this week. While I really like oatmeal (especially the steel cut kind), I find that because it's really just a carb bomb (though a high fiber one at that), and it has little to no fat or protein, I'd get wicked hungry a couple hours after eating it. Last night I decided to add 2/3 cup of NF dry milk as the oatmeal was cooking (along with a little extra water), theory being the protein will keep me fuller longer. And from results so fat this morning, I'll say the experiment is working.

                                I've also used it while backpacking - mixed in with granola, then add water for breakfast, or added to instant noodle packages that usually call for the addition of milk and butter.

                                Honestly, other than baking, I think the best use of NF dry milk is as a protein source.

                                1. Does anyone know of a chain that may sell this in bulk form and not by the bag? I just don't think I would use it that often. Also does it matter whether it is non-fat or not?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                    A 1970s era natural foods coop is your best bet for buying powdered milk in bulk.

                                    For full-fat powdered milk, I think Nido from Walmart is the best deal.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      "1970s era natural foods co-op" Oh yes, but hopefully updated to the new century. Any store that sells bulk ingredients may have it.

                                      burgeoningfoodie, I use non fat, just because I like the fat free option. I don't drink the stuff, although I have; I just use in in baking and for yogurt now. The full fat tastes much better for drinking, from my experience. If you find you don't use it that often, you can keep it in the freezer, tightly wrapped. Be sure to buy the instant type, the non-instant doesn't dissolve very well and is difficult to mix up smoothly by hand.