Sunday, July 31, 2011

How To Make Powdered Milk Taste Like The Real Thing

Powdered milk is available as instant fat-free, non-instant non-fat, instant whole milk, and instant milk substitute, as well as dry buttermilk and dry goat milk (read more about the differences between powdered milk types in our April 14, 2011 post). Many people like to store fat-free powdered milk because of its long (two-year) shelf life. Unfortunately, fat-free milk is insipid, weak and watery. So, what can you do to make powdered milk taste like the real thing?
            In the past, we used to mix reconstituted dry milk with equal parts of real milk. But a quick internet search found some alternative ways to improve the taste of powdered milk that we hadn’t previously considered. Some of the ideas:
·         Add cream or creamer.
·         Add oil.
·         Refrigerate before use.
·         Mix with equal parts of whole milk.
·         Add chocolate or strawberry mix.
·         Add drops of vanilla.
·         Add sugar.
·         Use warm water to make the milk, then chill thoroughly.
·         Use whole fat powdered milk instead of low fat or no-fat.

Do these ideas work? To find out, we conducted a taste test using non-instant fat-free powdered milk to see which of the above options resulted in the best tasting milk. Here’s how we rank the above choices, from best to worst.
  1. Reconstituted powdered milk mixed with whipping cream or half-and-half beat out the competition. Adding 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream or 3 tablespoons of half and half to an 8-ounce cup of reconstituted non-fat dry milk not only returns some of the fat that gives milk its flavor; these additions also improve the mouth “feel” of the milk.
  2. Reconstituted powdered milk blended with an equal amount of whole milk was a close second.
  3. Using whole fat powdered milk instead of low fat or no-fat came in third, and is the best option if you do not have access to refrigeration.
  4. Adding a flavoring such as chocolate or strawberry mix helped to disguise the taste.
  5. Adding vanilla tasted like weak milk mixed with vanilla flavoring (though one person in our group preferred this option over all others).
  6. Adding sugar made the milk too sweet, and did nothing to return any fat to the mixture.
  7. Using warm water to make the milk and then refrigerating the mixture or even just refrigerating the milk before use helped a little, probably because the cold tricks your taste buds, so they’re not as receptive.
  8. Adding oil (1 teaspoon per cup of milk) was the worst of the options. It made the milk slimy and oily and it tasted just like powdered milk with oil added. In addition, the oil wouldn’t stay blended in the mixture and continually floated to the top.
Why not conduct your own taste test and see which option works best for you?

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