Powdered milk is kind of a weird concept when you think about it. Some people love it, and some hate it. Some might have never tried it before. The idea is actually pretty simple – the milk is dehydrated to the point where most of the moisture is gone and all you’ve got left is this white powder. This way the milk can be stored for much longer and it’s a perfect solution for those people who can’t get through a carton of milk before it goes bad. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about powdered milk.
Powdered milk comes in many kinds. You can get regular whole dry milk, you can also get skimmed non-fat milk if that’s what you prefer. There’s also dried buttermilk in case you need it. Whey, which is the base ingredient in many protein powders, is also a powdered milk product. You can also get dry dairy blends which can be used for cooking.
There are many uses for powdered milk. One of the most common reasons for the production of powdered milk is that its way easier to transport it that way as it takes up less space and doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and later it can be easily mixed with water and made into liquid milk. Dry milk is also often used in the production of various confectionery goods, chocolate, baby food formulas, breakfast cereals and things like instant coffee sticks and coffee mate.
Powdered milk has a way longer shelf life than regular milk, especially if you keep it in a dark cool place. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a fridge. In fact, powdered milk can stay fresh in your cupboard for years, as long as there’s no direct sunlight and no moisture. So basically if you have unopened powdered milk in the original packaging it’s good even past it’s “best by” date. However, a thing you should probably keep in mind is that once opened it’s best to either use it up within 3 months or seal it and freeze it if you’re not using it. Also, powdered whole milk has a shorter shelf life than skimmed milk, because of the fat content. Fats are generally less stable.
There are three main methods of producing powdered milk. The first and most common one is spray drying. Spray drying essentially means spraying liquid milk into a special hot chamber where it immediately gets dried with hot gas. The moisture evaporates and you’re left with dry milk particles. Another method is drum-drying. This method requires milk to be spread in a rather thin film onto a heated drum and once it dries, scraped off. This method often changed the taste of milk giving it that cooked and slightly caramelized taste. The third method is freeze-drying, which is the best method when it comes to preserving the nutrients in milk.
Powdered milk contains the same amount of nutrients and vitamins as regular milk, so you don’t have to worry about it losing nutritional value in the process of drying. In fact, in many countries, dry milk is fortified with vitamin D to make it even more nutritionally valuable. The only thing you remember is that every kind of powdered milk requires different amounts of water in order to become the right consistency, so it’s important to read the package. There’s also a difference between regular powdered milk and instant powdered milk.
Evaporating milk in order to preserve it and prolong its shelf life dates back to the 13th century. Back in the day, it evaporated until it formed a thick paste. But when it comes to modern methods of making powdered milk the date of first commercial production is somewhere between 1802 and 1855. The first truly powdered milk was invented in 1802 by a Russian doctor named Osip Krichevsky. At some point in the 1830s, it became industrially produced and in the 1850s the process was finally patented.