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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Virtue of Powdered Milk

powdered-milkOk, I admit it. I used to hate powdered milk as a kid. But I have to admit, it’s come a long ways in 30 years, thank goodness. With the cost of milk nowadays, if you’ve got more than 2 mouths to feed, it can cost as much for milk as it does to fill up your car with gas. And if you’re a “dairy freak” like I am, you’ll wonder what in the world you’ll do in the event of an emergency when you may be FORCED to use powdered milk regularly.

powdered-milk-21Other than the fact that I always type the word “powdered” incorrectly, I truly do value this storage staple. It will indulge my every dairy craving in a pinch, including buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Just a little bit of culturing and it turns into whatever dairy product I desire. In fact, I can even combine it with an equal amount of ice water and some flavoring and turn it into a yummy fluffy dessert topping. And it’s great in all of my recipes. It costs half as much as “fresh” milk, has zero cholesterol, zero fat, and is high in calcium, vitamin D and protein. And hey, it even comes in an easy to store box which I can neatly stack on my shelves. I have found no problem using it as a milk substitute in every recipe with just a bit of water added to it. I can also make dry baked mixes or beverage mixes ahead of time with it with no need for anything else but water. Ironically, the only thing I don’t care for powdered milk is as a substitute for just plain milk. However, I have discovered the trick of adding in a ½ teaspoon of vanilla per half gallon of powdered milk mixture to make it taste a lot better. I find that powdered milk tastes just fine when mixed equally with whole milk as well. Plus, I’ve never had kids complain when I mix chocolate syrup or strawberry syrup in it straight.

Powdered milk tastes best if it is mixed up and allowed to chill overnight before serving, or for at least 4 hours. Chilling actually aids in dissolving the powdered milk completely and gives it a fresher flavor.

OK. To use powdered milk for just about anything, you first need to learn to reconstitute it. So let’s start with that.

Reconstituted Powdered Milk:

refrigerate-milkTake a 2 quart pitcher and fill it just over half with very cold tap water. Then add 2 and 2/3 cup of powdered milk. Using a long whisk, whisk the milk until it appears to be well mixed and the milk appears to be mostly dissolved. Then fill the pitcher to full with additional cold water. It’s best to have a lid on the pitcher and then place it in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours.

To make buttermilk from reconstituted milk, you’re going to need some “starter.” But don’t worry. You can buy the small pints of buttermilk and store them in your freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Cultured Buttermilk: You won’t believe how easy this is! Take 3 and ¾ cups of reconstituted milk and add it to ½ cup of commercial buttermilk. Allow it to sit on the counter overnight (8 to 10 hours at room temperature) and Voila! You’ve got buttermilk! (I store it refrigerated thereafter, just so you know.) I have to have buttermilk to make my all time favorite syrup recipe (Sorry, I’m going to save that for another post).

chocolatemilkHere’s another idea that I have loved to use with powdered milk. It’s called “molasses milk.” All you do is warm up about ¾ cup of reconstituted milk and then stir in a regular spoonful of molasses (double and triple accordingly). It’s yummy. It kind of tastes like caramel toffee. And here you thought that molasses was just for cookies.

Hopefully from reading this you’ve thought about the importance of having powdered milk in your supplies, along with molasses, chocolate syrup, and vanilla extract in your storage items. For future reference I would also add that you’ll want lemon juice and cocoa as well.

I look forward to sharing more with you later.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.

You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.


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