I’ll bet that if you said powdered milk in a group of people you would get the most passionate of responses, either for or against drinking it. I personally, grew up with it and except for a few years off, I continue to drink it. I like the light flavor and ‘thin texture’ (other milk seems very thick to me)-and yes, it’s almost like drinking water.

What is Powdered Milk?

Powdered milk comes in two forms: Instant non-fat dry milk (which I use) and non-instant non-fat dry milk. The former dissolves faster than the latter. Powdered milk has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and the powerder does not need to be refrigerated due to its low moisture content.

Once mixed the powdered milk will need to be chilled for a few hours first for it to taste decent, and no you can’t trick someone into drinking it immediately, it takes time and maybe never. (I’ve tried)

How Milk is Processed?

Powdered milk is typically made by spray-drying nonfat skim milk. Pasteurized milk is sprayed into a low pressure chamber where the water instantly evaporates, leaving behind fine particles of powdered milk solids. Alternatively, the milk can be dried by drum drying. Milk is applied as a thin film to the surface of a heated drum, and the dried milk solids are then scraped off with a knife. Powdered milk made by drum drying tends to have a cooked flavor, due to caramelization caused by greater exposure to heat.

How Powdered Milk is Mixed?

That’s how it’s made into powder, but once I get the box home I remix it with water. For a 2 quart pitcher, I use 2 cups of powdered. Then I fill the rest with water and stir vigorously until dissolved- this takes practice and a novice can really make a batch taste yucky. Then I leave it in the refrigerator for a good 3 hours before drinking. Due to the need for chilling it, you really have to think ahead of when you will be needing milk for lunch or dinner.

But one of the best things about powdered milk is that a 20 quart box runs me cheaper than for someone else buying gallons of fresh milk. It’s not a lot of money saved, but if you factor in that I don’t have to run to the store because I ran out of milk for dinner, then I’m happy. And with food prices going up over time, I’m glad I like the taste.

For more information: Saving Money with Powdered Milk

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  1. Anonymous // Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:05:00 PM  

    Powdered milk is beyond chintzy.

    It's not frugal, it's cheapskate garbage food.

    Milk is for baby calves, not humans.

    If you want a milk substitute there are literally dozens on the market, three brands or so that come in the dairy case.

    I think listing powdered milk as some sort of frugality tool is grasping at straws.

    1) it's highly processed and not really any better for you than regular milk
    2) you don't live in a third world country that needs to get its vitamin D and calcium into your system.
    3) In truth it's not frugal. It's government subsidized, like the entire dairy industry, because milk is produced far in excess of demand.

    Sorry, hug miss on the idea of powdered milk.

    Oh, and it tastes like shit.

  2. ~Dawn C // Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:41:00 PM  

    Thank you Anonymous for stopping by and taking the time to provide us your opinion.
    This is the wonderful part about frugality, you can pick and choose what you think is "beyond chintzy".

  3. Condo Blues // Wednesday, January 28, 2009 4:05:00 PM  

    I use powdered milk to make bread but am not fond of drinking it.

    I thought we might like it since we drink skim milk but that wasn't the case.

  4. RickRussellTX // Wednesday, January 28, 2009 7:56:00 PM  

    No arguments here -- we started using powdered milk when my kid first started drinking milk. It may have an off taste, depending on the brand -- some (Carnation) had a distinct "roasted" taste, alien but not bad.

    Mixing it with ice to start with cools it off and makes it drinkable faster.

  5. Innahouse // Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:36:00 AM  

    We have found that Carnation is the worst-tasting of all the powdered milk brands. All other brands seem to be about the same, otherwise. As Dawn said, you DO have to get used to it gradually, though. We never surprised visitors with it, because we knew they weren't used to it; but we were able to save quite a bit on powdered milk, being a big milk-drinking family.

  6. Innahouse // Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:25:00 AM  

    I just thought of something else on the "Pro" side of the powdered milk consideration: Less plastic, gallon bottles for the landfill. Cardboard boxes (which hold the powdered milk) break down much faster than plastic, by far!

  7. Anonymous // Saturday, January 31, 2009 8:02:00 PM  

    Take a Powder of the MILK variety

    What can I say about Powdered milk, I want to say it's a great cost effective alternative for bagged or cartoned milk,,,really I want to say it.
    I have one big hesitation my childhood. I recall powdered milk with dread. IT was lumpy as made in haste (5 kids in my family) and it practically turned me off the stuff entirely. So I say if made correctly and cooled in the refridgerator I am sure it is fine.
    I personally wouldnt drink it I may as suggested use it for cooking and for coffee and tea.
    Although I may suggest if you really want to save some dough, drink herbal teas. they dont require sugar or milk.
    Green tea is great for you and its cost effective too.


  8. Tina // Sunday, April 04, 2010 11:25:00 PM  

    Here in Canada we can get something called Medallion Milk, here in Winnipeg. It is a NON instant powdered milk...mix it into a thick sludge, add more water, then let sit overnight. You CANNOT tell the difference between it and regular milk. I do buy fresh milk as here this powdered milk is not cost effective except to use to cover those last few days before payday and my day to grocery shop again. However, when I lived in Northern (Arctic) Canada where a gallon (4L) of milk was 15.00CDN in some communities, you can bet many of us drank the Medallion!