I have a love affair with dairy products. Seriously. I am a milk snob. I had to give up dairy while breastfeeding my twins and it was miserable. So hard. I did it because my son was allergic and I loved him dearly, but as soon as he was weaned, I went right back to my cheese, milk and ice cream.
But dairy in my food storage? Man that intimidated me! All I could think was “GROSS!” Being the milk snob that I am, drinking gross milk sounded worse than not drinking it at all. So, I avoided the subject. Even after I began seriously working on our food storage I still avoided the subject for about a year.
In fact, I tried all sorts of different types of food storage over a few months period of time and decided based on quality and taste that I wanted to store Thrive. A few months later, I actually decided to become a Thrive consultant and sell their products. But I still hadn’t tried their milk. I just couldn’t imagine that it could possibly meet my standards. I wanted it to taste amazing and I wanted to be able to make ice cream and ricotta cheese and yogurt using it. I was just sure that was too high an order! It took me a full six months after becoming a consultant to try their milk. But when I did, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was actually good!
Now, I love having dry milk to mix up at a moments notice. When we go on vacation, I put a gallon of water in the fridge. When we get back I don’t have to run to the store. I just add some powder and we have instant COLD milk! I don’t ever run to the store for milk. You can have Thrive instant milk shipped to your house by purchasing it at a discount on the How Does She Thrive page.
Maybe you feel like I did about powdered milk. Does it scare you and intimate you? Maybe you have some stored and you use it occasionally in baking. Maybe you don’t use it at all. Maybe you don’t store it at all. Maybe you’ve never even thought about storing it. Well, today, I’d like to answer some common questions about powdered milk and clear up some misconceptions.
Why Should I Store Milk?
Having commonly used items stored in a shelf stable form in our homes can reduce a lot of stress! How many times a month do you run to the store for milk (or eggs or bread etc). I’ll bet you rarely leave the store with just milk (especially if your husband makes the run and he is anything like my husband). So, having it stored at home can save you time and money.
But what if the grocery store ran out of milk for a time? This happens more often than you might think. Most grocery stores have less than a 24 hour supply of food available for all the people in their community. On a normal day, not everyone is shopping every day, so it works out. But what if there was some sort of disaster in your area…even a small disaster? There would be a lot more people at the store and the milk would be gone pretty quickly. Even if the disaster were not local it could affect the transportation of milk to you for a period of time. So, store a bit just in case.
And if you are only going to store one food item, milk is a good choice. It provides hydration and a good amount of nutrients as well. You can sustain life for quite a while drinking just milk.
How is Powdered Milk Made?
Milk can be turned to powder by spray drying, drum drying or freeze drying. Spray drying is preferred as it produces much more even particles than the other two options which allows it to be far more soluble. In addition, the heat treatment is not as intense as with drum drying so the taste is not as altered. Thrive Instant Milk is turned to powder by spray drying. You can see what a fine powder spray drying creates:
What Milk Should I Store?
There are a LOT of different powdered milk options out there! Many companies offer powdered milk, but it is often called lots of different things. You will find Instant Milk, Powdered Milk, Milk Powder, Non-fat Dry Milk, Non-Instant Dry Milk, Powdered Milk Alternative etc.
The only way to be sure you are actually getting real milk is to read the labels. Some powdered milks are REAL milk made from fresh, pasteurized skim milk. Other powdered milks are not 100% milk, but unfortunately their name doesn’t always clearly indicate that. So read the label. If you find one of the following ingredients on the label,
- Dairy whey
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
- Corn syrup solids
it is not 100% milk! This means it isn’t as healthy and it won’t work right in your baking because of the extra shortening and / or lack of the milk protein. You won’t be able to make cheese or yogurt with it. Make sure whatever milk you choose is 100% milk! Both of the milk options that Thrive sells: instant milk and powdered milk are 100% milk.
What is the difference between instant milk and powdered milk?
Once you’ve found a real milk option, you will need to decide between instant and powdered milk. Many companies offer both and both options can be real milk or a milk alternative. The difference is how easy they are to use.
Instant milk is spray dried since milk dried in this manner is more soluble. In addition it is usually puffed with air as well which makes it even easier to mix with water. It typically tastes better than non-instant powdered milk, but is a less cost effective option since you need more powder per cup of water.
Non-instant powdered milk is typically drum dried and is not puffed with air which makes it difficult to mix with water. It requires more stirring and chilling before it can be served as milk and typically doesn’t taste quite as good as instant milk. However, non-instant milk is a more cost effective option because the lack of air in the particles means you can fit more in each can. You need less powder per cup of water.
Many people don’t think that instant milk will work as well as regular powdered milk in baking, but this is not true. As long as it is 100% milk, and not a milk alternative, it works just great. Plus, it has the added benefit of dissolving in cold water. Most non-instant powdered milks must be dissolved in warm or hot water (which again, affect the taste!).
Personally, even with the slightly higher cost, I only store instant milk. I don’t like the taste of non-instant powdered milk, so I don’t want to use it. I’ll never rotate it and not enjoy using it when / if I have to. I want my milk to look, taste, and pour just like fresh milk from the grocery store:
Can Powdered Milk Taste Good?
Yes! Some of the milk alternatives taste good (b/c of the addition of whey, oils and corn syrup), but they aren’t as healthy for you and won’t work as well for cheese or in baking or yogurts.
Milk that is made through drum drying has been through an intense heating process which changes the taste quite a bit. Dried milks that are spray dried taste much better since there is less intense heat applied. I’ve tried quite a few different brands of powdered milk and I like the Thrive instant milk the best. We drink it often in our house.
If you already have another brand of milk stored that was drum dried or simply doesn’t taste as good, you can use it in baking where the taste won’t be as noticeable. If you actually need to drink it, mix a bit of sugar and vanilla in with the milk and make certain it is cold!
Why is most powdered milk fat free?
Fat doesn’t store very long. This is the reason most powdered milks are non-fat: they have a much longer shelf life that way! But if you like 1% or 2% there is an easy fix! Just add a bit more powder to your milk to thicken it up. You will get the taste of the milk you like without the fat!
If you really must have whole milk, I’ve hear good things about Nido. But it is not 100% milk and it has a much shorter shelf life, so make sure you like it before you buy it. Try it in your baking and then make certain you rotate it.
How should I store powdered milk?
Make sure any powdered milk you buy is packaged for long term storage with an oxygen absorber. Like most food, powdered milk will do best when stored in a cool dark place. The 20-25 year shelf life on most milks assumes a relatively stable temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For every 10 degrees above that, you cut your shelf life in half.
How can I use powdered milk?
Use your milk in baking! If a recipe calls for milk, just add the appropriate amount of powder to the dry ingredients and the water to the wet ingredients. No need to mix it up first! And if a recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk or buttermilk, you can use your milk for that too!
Sweetened Condensed Milk: 1/2 cup hot water, 1 c. of powdered milk powder (or about 1.5 cups if you are using instant milk), 1 c. of sugar, 1 T. of butter. Blend very well.
Buttermilk: Mix up one cup of milk according to the directions on the can. Add 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar to the milk. Stir it in and wait for 5 minutes.
Evaporated Milk: 1 1/2 c. water with 1/2 c. + 1 T. powdered milk powder (or 3/4 cup if using instant milk). Whisk together thoroughly.
Or, simply enjoy a glass of milk with your favorite cookies!