Milk is not new to anybody; it has been a constant in the kitchen for generations—but milk powder? Now, that is something. The truth is, milk powder recipes, or powdered milk, are not new either.
You’ve probably bought it once or twice when you went grocery shopping. Maybe, like me, you prefer it to liquid milk. That’s all fine and good, as long as you’re willing to try out some milk powder recipes.
There are a lot of recipes using milk powder. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, hello? Cake? Pancakes? Cupcakes? Bread rolls? I know enough recipes, thank you very much.” Well, congratulations! But perhaps you didn’t get me. The focus is on ways you can use milk powder for cooking as the main ingredient.
Powder Milk Or Liquid Milk?
Now that I have your attention: milk powder, what is that? I know you probably already know what it is, but for posterity’s sake, I have to tell you. A little extra knowledge never hurt anybody. Milk powder is a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to become dry.
You will agree with me that transporting liquid milk can be a chore, coupled with the fact that it has to remain refrigerated or it will not last very long. These are some of the advantages powdered milk has over liquid milk—ease of transport and longer shelf life.
And the beauty of powdered milk is that once you add the right amount of water commensurate to the quantity of powdered milk, you can easily get your liquid milk back! Life just got simpler.
You might wonder, what kind of milk makes powdered milk? Well, sir, the answer is that it’s the same kind of milk that makes liquid milk. The milk comes from dairy farms (i.e., the cows). When it gets to the creamery, it is placed in a holding tank before it is transferred to the evaporator, where a third of its water is removed.
I could go on with the process, but I don’t want to bore you with the details. Just know that it is milk from cows. Milk powder, powdered milk, and dry milk powder are all essentially the same thing. Now, the powdered milk end-product could be dry whole milk, nonfat (skimmed) dry milk, dry buttermilk, dry whey product, or a dry dairy blend.
With powdered milk, there’s something for everybody.
As for the powdered milk ingredients, different creamery companies put different things into their products, but it’s mostly supplements, vitamins, fortifications, and other things like that. The basic ingredients are usually: evaporated milk, vegetable fat, lecithin, sucrose, folic acid, and vitamins.
Powdered milk is not just evaporated milk, and it is not to be confused with condensed milk. Now that we’re all caught up on what it means to own powdered milk, let’s talk about the uses of milk powder.
Uses Of Milk Powder
Basically anything you can use liquid milk for, you can use powdered milk for. Be it for pastries, cereals, tea, coffee as cream, custard—anything at all. Powdered milk is also frequently used in the manufacture of infant formula and is a common item in UN food aid supplies, as well as in fallout shelters, warehouses, and wherever fresh milk is not a viable option. You see, powdered milk saves lives and goes to places liquid milk can’t go.
Some of the most ingenious uses of milk powder, however, are the ways it is used to make sweets, snacks, and milk powder desserts in India. To convert it to liquid milk, when measuring by volume, one cup of water combines with one-third cup of powdered milk.
Milk Powder Recipes
Personally, I love the awesome country of India. Those guys know what to do with food. Sweets from milk! Who would have thought? The milk powder sweets I’ll mention here all originate from India, so without further ado, let’s get into it.
To regular participants of Indian cuisine, this needs no introduction. Gulab jamun is the traditional Indian sweet eaten as snack and dessert. It is very easy to make, although it requires some prior expertise in cooking. The whole dish comes together in about 50 minutes.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1-2 drops of lemon juice (this is optional)
- ½ cup of milk powder
- 1 tbsp of Maida (all-purpose flour)
- A pinch of baking soda
- 1 tbsp of ghee
- 2-3 tbsps of milk
- Vegetable oil or ghee (for deep frying)
How to make:
- Combine the sugar, cardamom, water, and lemon juice in a pot or pan. The lemon juice prevents the syrup from solidifying when it cools.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat and cook until it reaches 1/2 string consistency or turns a little sticky as you stir it occasionally. It will take around 8-10 minutes over medium heat to reach the required consistency. When your sugar syrup is ready, turn off the heat.
- Now put the milk powder, maida and baking soda in a wide-mouthed bowl. Mix it well with a spoon and then add the ghee. Mix evenly; you can use your hand.
- Sprinkle the milk evenly over the mixture and gently stir it in. If necessary, add a few more teaspoons of milk powder and mix lightly. The mixture should be soft. It may be sticky, but don’t worry about that. Be careful not to over-mix or knead the mixture. If you over-mix it, gluten will form and the jamun will turn dense and unable to absorb the sugar syrup properly.
- Grease your palms with oil and divide the mixture into small, marble-sized portions (around 9-10 of these). Take each portion and make a round ball, free of cracks. If a crack appears, it means the mixture is dry. Add a teaspoon (or few drops) of milk to the mixture, combine well, and make the ball. Do not make larger balls, as the size will increase to almost double after deep frying and soaking them the sugar syrup.
- Heat the ghee for deep-frying in a deep kadai or small pan over medium heat. To check if the oil is hot, pinch out a small portion of the mixture and drop it into the hot oil. If it comes upward immediately without changing its color, the oil is hot and ready for deep-frying. If it comes upward immediately but turns brown, then the oil is too hot and needs to be cooled a bit, and if it doesn’t come upward at all, then the oil is not hot enough.
- Slowly drop 3-4 balls (according to the size of your pan or kadai) from sides of a kadai and reduce the heat to low.
- Stir gently with a slotted spoon and deep fry over low flame. Within 2-3 minutes, the color will start to turn lightly golden.
- Continue to deep fry until the balls turn golden brown. This will be about 6-7 minutes. Transfer them over to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil, using a slotted spoon to transfer them safely. Keep the temperature of the oil even by increasing or decreasing the heat between medium and low as required. Increase the heat to medium and deep fry the remaining balls as described above.
- Heat the sugar syrup for 3-4 minutes and add the deep-fried jamuns to it. Keep the jamuns in syrup for at least 2 hours before serving to allow them to absorb the syrup properly. You will notice their increase in size as syrup gets absorbed.
Your delicious jamuns are ready to be eaten! They can be served as a dessert with ice cream on top.
Aside from jamuns, there are many other delicious Indian snacks to be made from milk powder, which are just as easy to recreate. They include chum chum, kesar peda, kalakand, and others.
Milk Powder Burfi
Called borfee, borfi, or barfi, we have here a type of mithai that also comes from India. It has different types, and each type has its own constituents. However, the basic constituents of burfi are milk and sugar, mixed together in a bowl and left to solidify. My personal favorite variant is the chocolate burfi, also known as Indian-style brownies.
Burfi is served in India all year round, but it’s most popular during the holiday seasons, during wedding ceremonies, and when it’s consumed as a delicacy. All the types of burfi come out on full display during Diwali—the traditional Hindu festival of lights. We’re not in India, and this is not Diwali season, but we can whip up our own burfi and enjoy the savory goodness that is a milk powder dessert.
What you’ll need:
- ¼ cup of ghee
- ¾ cup of milk
- 2 ½ cups of milk powder
- ½ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of ground cardamom powder
- Pistachios (or dry fruits)
How to make:
- In a clean pan, add the ghee, milk, sugar, and milk powder. Mix well and stir continuously. You can add the milk powder bit by bit to avoid lumps. Stir until the mixture thickens.
- Add your cardamom powder and stir this in well until a light dough forms.
- Line a clean pan with paper towels (a lasagna or cake pan will do). Arrange the dough in the pan to form a block. Smooth out the edges properly. Then you can sprinkle some pistachios or dried fruits over the top. Gently press them in, allowing your burfi to cool for an hour or two.
- After it has cooled, it will become solid. Cut it into any shape or size and serve!
You may notice, from the measurements of ingredients given, that milk powder isn’t actually the highest in quantity—but, it is very essential. Try making any of these sweets without milk powder…I’m telling you, it will not be the same thing. But please, try out some of these milk powder recipes. They are seriously delicious. Namaste!