With prices of dairy products soaring, a lot of people are turning to powdered milk to save some money. Dry, or powdered milk is still faring better than fresh milk, which can cost somewhere between $2.50 to $3.50 a gallon in most places, with dairy towns prices around $2 to $3.
Powdered milk can be intimidating to a lot of people, but with it saving you money and increasing convenience, it’s a rewarding solution.
In this article, we’ll be telling you all the information that you need to know to get started with powdered milk.
What Is It?
Though powdered milk does not taste as good as fresh milk, it is a more convenient to get and easier to store. Powdered milk from a prepper store’s long term food section will have a life of up to 20 years.
Its two most common forms are: Instant Non-Fat Powdered Milk and Regular Non-Fat Powdered Milk. Instant Non-Fat Powdered Milk is made with a process that results in larger flakes.
It is generally easier to mix with a spoon, or blender, because it dissolves in water easily. Regular Non-Fat Powdered Milk is considerably more difficult to mix than its instant counterpart, meaning more stirring is necessary.
It also requires chilling before it can be served. Regular, Non-Instant, milk is the economical purchase as less is used in cooking.
Why Home Dry?
Although home drying is not as common as freezing or canning, there are many benefits to doing it. The most important factor is that it is cost saving as you’re generally going to buying in bulk and you’ll be reducing food waste, as products like milk are perishable goods.
Another factor is the health benefits. The slow application of heat does not destroy the minerals, vitamins (iron, fiber, several B vitamins and some A vitamins), and other nutrients in your food.
The only things you lose in the process are water and moisture. You also don’t need to add any chemicals, additives, or preservatives to your dried foods.
Methods for Home Drying
There are three ways that milk can be turned into powder, those being: spray drying, drum drying, and freeze drying. Spray drying is the preferred method as it produces more even particles when compared to drum drying or freeze drying.
Freeze drying puts frozen foods in a vacuum. Milk freezes well but it does not have as long shelf life as dried powder milk.
Sun drying is not a good method for drying milk because it takes a long time and there is a higher risk of bacterial contamination.
Dehydrating Milk in the Dehydrator
All you’ll need to make powdered milk, is a dehydrator, fruit roll sheets, and milk. The process generally takes approximately 12 hours depending on the power output. The more trays stacked, the longer it takes.
Any milk can be used for drying, but it must be pasteurized so that there’s a reduced number of bacteria present.
Raw milk (non-pasteurized milk) should not be used for making powdered milk. For best results, use skim milk as the less fat there is, the better the milk powdered will store.
- Place a fruit roll insert into each dehydrator tray and slowly pour one cup of milk onto each tray. (Make sure the counter/surface is level)
- Set the dehydrator at 130°F – 135°
- Dehydrate until dry and flaky.
- If after 12 hours, there are some areas that are ‘goopy’, gently remove the dried milk, re-tray and dehydrate it again.
- After the milk is completely dry and flaky, crumble it into pieces.
- Place the pieces into a blender and mix until it forms a powder. (Not a necessary step, but allows for a more compact storage and makes it easier to measure).
- Pour powder into a jar and vacuum seal for a longer shelf life.
- If it’s your first time, it is recommended that you only do 2 trays to ensure that the temperature setting works with your dehydrator.
- Place the round tray (with fruit roll sheet) inside the dehydrator before pouring the milk to ensure no spillage.
- Make sure the tray and the dehydrator are level so that it evenly dehydrates.
- When the milk is done, it should feel like a thin piece of peanut brittle.
Dehydrating Milk in the Oven
If you don’t wish to use a dehydrator, there is another way to make powdered milk but it is not widely used. This is using the oven instead of a dehydrator. The direction is as followed:
- Place 1 to 2 gallons of milk into a double boiler (add water as needed).
- Simmer for several hours till most of the water has evaporated from the milk.
- When milk gets to a creamy consistency, pour into a large pan with sides.
- Place into an oven preheated at 150°F (the oven should be around 140°F to 160°F).
- Leave the oven door slightly open to allow moisture to get out.
- When milk is dry, flip out onto a dishtowel.
- Once cooled, grind the pieces in a blender and store.
The oven drying method has some advantages and disadvantages. A benefit is that most of us have an oven, and so there isn’t a need to invest in special equipment. This method does result in some flavor loss.
Reconstituting Powdered Milk
The ratio for reconstituting powdered milk is: 1 part milk powder to 2 parts water.
13 tsp. of dehydrated milk powder will equal to roughly one cup of reconstituted milk. When reconstituting the powder, add 1 tbsp. of hot water to your powder and mix. Continue adding ½ tsp. of hot water until it reaches your desired consistency.
Some additional conversion facts:
- 1 Cup Milk = 1 Cup Water + 3 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
- ¾ Cup Milk = ¾ Cup Water + 2 ¼ Tbsp. Powdered Milk
- 2/3 Cup Milk = 2/3 Cup Water + 2 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
- ½ Cup Milk = ½ Cup Water + 1 ½ Tbsp. Powdered Milk
- 1/3 Cup Milk = 1/3 Cup Water + 1 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
- ¼ Cup Milk = ¼ Cup Water + ¾ Tbsp. Powdered Milk
Quick Uses for Powdered Milk
After you have made the powdered milk, there are various things you can make from there. Below, we have given you some of our favorites.
Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz. can)
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 cup powdered milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. butter
Evaporated Milk (12 oz. can)
- 1 ½ cup water
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp. powdered milk
Dry Pudding Mix (24 servings)
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 2 ½ cup powdered milk
- 1 ¼ cu flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup powdered milk
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice OR white vinegar (add to cup of milk and let it stand for 5-10 minutes).
Cocoa / Chocolate Milk Mix
- 2 cups dry milk powder
- ¾ cup sugar (or substitute)
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup powdered non-dairy coffee creamer (or use an additional ½ cup of powdered milk)
If storing, whisk all the ingredients together, and store in airtight containers.
If making, add three to four tbsp. of mix to 1 cup of boiling water. Mix until well incorporated.
- ½ cup ice cold water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup powdered milk
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
You can also incorporate powdered milk into cooking recipes.
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Potato Soup Recipe (Courtesy of The Complete Guide to Drying Foods at Home)
- 1 ¾ cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 1 ½ cup dried milk powder
- 2 tbsp. milk powder
- 2 tbsp. chicken bouillon powder
- 1 tbsp. dried onion pieces
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. seasoned salt
If storing, stir everything together and store into a tight container.
If making, mix ½ cup of soup with 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until smooth and ready to eat.
Banana Oatmeal (Courtesy of The Complete Guide to Drying Foods at Home)
- ½ cup of dried cooked whole oats – chopped
- ¼ cup dried banana slices
- 2 tbsp. dry milk powder
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- Pinch of ground nutmeg and cinnamon
If storing, combine all ingredients in a sealable bag
If making, mix everything together with 1 cup of water and soak for half an hour. After that, put it over heat and simmer for roughly five to ten minutes.
Safety and Concerns
Dried foods preserve really well because bacteria, fungus or mold cannot survive where there is no moisture. So, it is imperative that you ensure that all the moisture has been removed.
Consult the recipe to see what texture or consistency the final product should be. Let the pieces cool off because assessing their dryness.
All things considered, making your own powdered milk is not only saves money, but also has numerous health benefits. The safety and concerns regarding the dehydration of milk can easily be avoided if the instructions are followed to the letter.
Now you have everything you need to get started with making powdered milk, so we’re curious to know if you ever tried and of this and how it worked out for you.
My name is Teresa Fikes. I am a Homesteader, survivalist, prepper, historian, and writer plus much more all in one package deal. I was raised on a small family farm were I was taught at an early age to survive off the land without the help of modern conveniences. I am a writer by profession and a Homesteader by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.