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What Is Dairy Powder?

Dairy powder in a can

Dairy powder is a powdered milk product that is created from evaporated milk. The evaporation technique makes it a dry product with a long shelf-life. The process of drying milk dramatically lowers the moisture content and means that dairy powder can be kept for much longer than liquid milk and does not require refrigeration. Because most of the moisture has been removed, dairy powder will not spoil or go bad in the way that liquid milk would. The evaporation process lowers the mass of the final product and so dairy powder can be much more easily transported and kept as it is far less bulky.

Dairy powder can be made from a number of different types of milk products, including whole or skimmed, blends, buttermilk or non-cow’s milk alternatives. Dairy powder has a number of different food and health-related uses and is also used by the biotechnology industry for commercial applications.


How was dairy powder invented?

The modern version of dairy powder that we use today was first invented in 1802. The first industrial production of the product was managed by the chemist M.Dirchoff. Powdered milk is usually made with milk that is spray dried. Pasteurized milk is normally concentrated through evaporated, to create dry milk the concentrated milk is put into a heat chamber where the remaining liquids evaporate. Milk is also sometimes turned into a powdered substance in a heated drum where the solids can be removed. The drum method usually causes the resulting product to have a bit of a caramelised flavour. Freeze-drying can also be used and is the best way to keep the nutrients in the product. The product can also be made at home in the oven or in an evaporator.


What are its uses?

Dry milk is often used in formula for infants and is also a common ingredient in some types of candy like caramel or chocolate. It’d a common substitution for normal milk in baking recipes where the liquids might thin out the batter too much. The product appears regular in recipes that call for no-cooking and often appears alongside nut butters. It’s also a product that regularly appears in the food supplies of aid organisations because fresh milk is often not a viable option. The powdered form of milk is considered non-perishable so it’s perfect for situations where access to a fridge or fresh supplies are not guaranteed. It is often included in the packs of hikers. The product is sometimes used to mimic drugs in films.

Commercially it is often used in biotechnology as a saturation agent which is needed to block nonspecific binding sites. On certain supports is helps to stop binding of detection reagents and is sometimes called Blotto in the industry. A protein in milk called casein is the main reason for the binding saturation.


Can it be turned back into liquid?

Dried milk can be reconstituted with water, although many people find that’s not quite the same as the original thing. To reconstitute milk, add one cup of water to about a third of a cup of powdered milk.


Is it still nutritious?

Powdered milk can retain a lot of its nutrients but it depends on the way that it’s made. Heat methods and storage in warm or hot environments will mean that a lot of the nutrients are lost, whilst freeze-dry methods and freezer storage will prevent a lot of that nutrient loss.


Because it is not a perishable item, dry milk is a great thing to keep on hand and makes a great alternative to fresh milk.