Did you know that dehydrated milk powder exists? Well there is and it’s a fantastic staple to have in your closet. Dried soy, rice, oat, and almond milk powders are also available in specialty stores for those who prefer these alternatives.

In 1802 the first known written record on powdered milk was put on paper, it was talked about how it was convenient but not yet well known. An evaporation technique was officially patented in 1837; Since then there have been many documents detailing advancements, patents and innovators. Simply put, powdered milk is made by sprinkling a fine mist of skim milk onto delicate screens, where it is dehydrated and then bagged.

To obtain skim milk, dairies let the milk settle in a cold room where the heaviest and thickest cream rises to the top; this cream is skimmed and is often sold as whipped cream. The milk is allowed to stand again in the cold position for a little longer until the second light cream rises to the surface and this, once skimmed, is often sold as coffee cream. Skim milk is the product that remains after all the fat cream has risen to the surface and has been skimmed.

Dried milk powder was once quite common. The military loved it for its lightness and usefulness in areas like the tropics, where things go bad very quickly. It did not need to be refrigerated and, if stored properly, it can keep for 4 years or more. It did not require a bulky container. It was lightweight, easy to ship, and easy to store. Just add water and you have just the right amount of milk for your needs right then and there. Add a tablespoon. of vinegar in a cup of milk and you will have a replacement for the buttermilk. Add a little less water for a more intense flavor and thickness that can be used to replace cream in recipes.

Having this product in the baking cupboard can be very helpful during supply chain disruptions due to strikes, highways, or supply problems. There is also a price fluctuation due to fuel costs. Carrying heavy and bulky milk jugs consumes a lot of fuel, while a truck can easily haul a full load of bagged milk powder without feeling too heavy in comparison.

However, we have always had it in our closet just for convenience. While we use cream in our coffee, we don’t drink milk. We use rice milk for breakfast cereal and powdered milk for baking. We have never wasted bad milk or panic when we bake because there is not enough milk. Don’t worry, just mix it up a bit and keep going.

Our cookbook, From One Small Garden, demonstrates our habit of using powdered milk for cooking. Of course, you can use fresh milk in almost any recipe that calls for powdered milk. Just skip the powdered milk and use milk in place of the water called for in the recipe.

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