On the Purpose of Dry Milk

Reader Vanesa (yes with only one “s”) asks:

Can you tell us more about what the powdered milk is doing in this recipe? Is it for flavor, structure, something else?

Vanesa, I’d be delighted. Flavor is part of the reason for the powdered milk, however it’s mostly there as a tenderizer. Powdered (dry) milk is composed of carbs (lactose), fat and protein. What all those things have in common is that none of them are gluten. Which means that once they’re introduced to the dough, they’ll interfere with the wheat protein networks and keep the crumb from getting too chewy. So I guess you’d say that it’s there to undermine structure more than anything else. Thanks for the question!

6 thoughts on “On the Purpose of Dry Milk”

  1. I’m a little bit curious–all the powdered milk i’ve ever found (apart from stuff that King Arthur sells on their website), purports to be non-fat. Will this still have the desired effect in a recipe? Or is “non-fat” perhaps deceptive advertising from the powdered milk industry?

    1. Actually, that’s true. Most powdered milk is nonfat (I was thinking about the composition of whole milk). But even if powdered milk is mostly carbs and protein it will still serve the purpose of tenderizing.

  2. Hi, I found your website through Food52, and loved seeing that you use powdered milk in your yeast baking, too! In the past I ordered from King Arthur, a couple times, but found I am just as happy with what I can buy at the grocery store!

    1. I feel that way myself. I’m sure KA has excellent stuff (they always do), but if you can make do with what’s readily at hand…why not?

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