Powdered milk, also known as dried milk, is a dairy product manufactured by getting rid of all water from normal milk via evaporation. Powdered milk offers a number of conveniences as it can be stored without refrigeration and can be mixed with water just before it is used for drinking, cooking or baking. The flavour of powdered milk is different from that of fresh milk. However, when it is used for cooking or baking this difference is not noticeable. In fact, when fresh milk is not available, preparing foods with powdered milk is an excellent option.
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You can make powdered milk from various types of milk, including low-fat milk, whole milk or skim milk. The flavour of powdered milk prepared from different milks differs slightly. Generally baby formula manufacturers and commercial candy factories use the powdered milk made from whole milk. On the other hand, you can add skim milk or low-fat milk to liquid skim milk to enhance its flavour as well as nutrient content.
Powdered milk prepared by evaporating liquid milk remains well for several months provided it is kept in sealed packets and stored in any cool, dry place. In fact, you need not store powdered milk in a refrigerator, but when you mix it with water for drinking or cooking, it should be stored in refrigeration, like you store fresh milk. As the flavour of powdered milk tastes slightly different from liquid milk when you drink it, it is advisable that you mix the powdered milk well in water to ensure that no lumps remain and preferably chill it before drinking. Moreover, you may prepare chocolate milk by adding chocolate syrup to powdered milk after it is mixed with water.
Owing to its long shelf life, powdered milk is usually used for distribution among people in disaster-hit areas. It is also often used by hikers. In addition, powdered milk is easier to transport compared to liquid milk and it can be changed into liquid milk quickly by adding water to it. Compared to fresh liquid milk, powdered milk is cheaper as adding five cups of powdered milk to 1.5 cups of water can produce a gallon of liquid milk. Compare this to the price of a gallon of liquid milk.
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Before you purchase powdered milk product, you ought to know that various different grades of powdered milk are available in the market. The flavour as well as the nutritional value of powdered milk may differ subject to their grade. For instance, some grades of powdered milk contain additional amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D added to them.
At the same time, you must not get confused with condensed milk and evaporated milk. All these three have varying degrees of water content. For example, powdered milk is a completely dry dairy product, while evaporated milk contains roughly 40 percent of water. Like powdered milk, evaporated milk also has a long shelf life, but it is relatively darker and is generally available in cans. On the other hand, condensed milk is a thickened dairy product prepared by sweetening evaporated milk and it is often used for preparing desserts.
It is interesting to note that milk powder has a wide range of uses, which included infant formula production, making yogurt, whipped toppings, chocolate, coffee creamers, cottage cheese, curd, and sauces. In addition, it is also used in milk baths to treat skin irritation or inflammations. Since powdered milk can be reconstituted into liquid milk just by adding water to it, it has numerous uses in cooking. Moreover, you can also use powdered milk to make facial masks or add it to other beauty products and cosmetics.
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Similar to liquid milk, powdered milk also offers us several health benefits. It is available in various forms - for instance, whole powdered milk, non-fat and skimmed milk as well as buttermilk. Powdered milk is an excellent source of various vitamins and essential minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. As mentioned earlier, powdered milk is produced by completely evaporating the water as well as removing the fat content from fresh pasteurized liquid milk. While fat and water are removed during the evaporation process, powdered milk retains various nutrients like amino acids.
The health benefits of powdered milk are attributed to the various vitamins contained by it. It contains an assortment of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Vitamin A is helpful for the immune system, vision, reproductive system and it helps in the growth and differentiation of cells. Similarly vitamin D aids the intestines to take up calcium and phosphorus from the ingested foods thereby helping the heart, bones and joints. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that shields lipoproteins as well as the cell membranes and, at the same time, kindles the body's immune response to combat various diseases. Vitamin K is vital for formation of apposite blood clots.
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Milk powder is prepared from liquid milk, which encloses casein, whey and various other proteins. There are various forms of whey proteins and these include alpha-lactoglobulin, protease-peptones, immunoglobulins, beta-lactoglobulin in addition to blood serum albumin fractions. Milk powder also encloses amino acids like lysine, leucine, isoleucine, histidine, methionine, valine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and threonine. These amino acids are necessary for our good health and also to promote all the bodily functions. It is worth noting that the amino acids present in the proteins of powdered milk are digestible as well as bioavailable.
Lactose is the primary carbohydrate present in powdered milk. In addition, it also encloses glucose, galactose, and oligosaccharides. Together, glucose and galactose constitute lactose that is beneficial for infants, as it helps to prevent gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Moreover, lactose can also be a beneficial constituent of diabetic diet as it does not enhance the glucose levels in the bloodstream. At the same time, our body digests lactose very slowly compared to glucose and fructose. Another benefit of lactose is that it aids the body to take up calcium from ingested foods. People, who suffer from lactose intolerance and find it difficult to digest liquid milk, are also likely to have problems in digesting milk powder.
Since powdered milk can be easily blended with shakes, smoothies and sauces, many people use it in the form of a dietary supplement when they require additional calcium or protein. The advantage of using powdered milk is that it can be stored for a long period without getting spoilt. It is also easier to store as you do not require keeping it in a refrigerator. Moreover, this variety of milk is cost effective, and is especially affordable for people with low incomes.
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On the other hand, powdered milk also has a number of negative aspects. For instance, its taste differs from the fresh liquid milk and some people describe its flavour to be chalky. Even after it has been properly mixed with water, the taste of powdered milk is distinctly different from that of fresh liquid milk. This makes powdered milk unpalatable for many. Powdered milk has a natural tendency to form clumps and this may prove to be difficult to prepare a smooth blend of this variety of milk, especially when preparing certain recipes and beverages.
Nevertheless, powdered milk offers us a number of health benefits. For instance, this variety of milk is helpful in rehydrating our body. We all are aware that drinking milk is essential to keep our body hydrated, especially when one endures extreme dehydration or excessive loss of body fluids - mainly water.
Milk powder is also good for dental care. Milk is helpful in protecting the enamel surface of our tooth. Often, this enamel is eroded due to consumption of acidic substances like coffee or soda. In such situations, milk helps to shield the dental enamel from eroding.
This variety of milk supplies our body with the essential mineral calcium. Milk, as we all are aware, contains rich amounts of this mineral. Calcium is effective in protecting our body from a variety of ailments like bone loss, obesity and even cancer.
Powdered milk also promotes the health of our bones. Since it contains calcium, which is vital for keeping our bones strong and healthy, drinking milk or consuming milk products helps to take care of the health of our bones. Moreover, calcium present in milk also helps to prevent the chances of developing osteoporosis as well as various other bone related problems. Precisely speaking, this is one of the main benefits of consuming powdered milk.
Powdered milk is also beneficial for our cardiovascular health. Despite the fact that most of the calcium present in our body is found in the bones, calcium may also help in decreasing the risks of developing heart-related ailments. When powdered milk is taken in moderation, its calcium content is helpful in reducing the chances of suffering stroke and many other cardiovascular diseases.