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Mar 26, 2010 04:33 AM

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...