While having fresh milk on hand would be neat, it’s not always possible and even more so in times when stores don’t get a supply or can’t even be accessed. As a prepper, it’ll be good for you to know the basics of how to make milk powder as preparation for when SHTF.
Making powdered milk at home is relatively easy, and there are three well-known methods by which you can do so. To create powdered milk, you need to dehydrate it by removing its water content. Once you complete the dehydration process, it’ll leave you with dry, flaky pieces, which you should crumble and grind in a blender to reach a powdery consistency. Hereafter, all you’ll have to do is store it properly to ensure that it lasts you a lifetime.
If you want more information on powdered milk and recipes on how to make milk powder using various methods, read on through our guide to upskill in this area and be prepper ready before hard times strike.
How to Make Milk Powder at Home
Before you start making powdered milk, you’ll need to bulk-buy fresh milk. Steer away from raw milk due to the risk of bacteria, and instead opt for pasteurized, skim milk if you want the best results. If your chosen milk has low-fat content, the powdered form will store better.
As most of us have ovens, the oven method of making milk powder is the most well-known and convenient. To make approximately 150 grams of milk powder, you’ll need:
- 1 liter of your chosen milk
- A big enough ovenproof dish/enough ovenproof dishes to hold the milk at a one-inch level
- Storage Container
- Start by pouring your chosen milk into the ovenproof dish at a level no higher than one inch. Ensure that the milk is at room temperature.
- Put your oven on its lowest setting (preferably 50-60°C) with the fan-assisted option. If your oven doesn’t have a fan, you can leave the door slightly open.
- Place your ovenproof dish in the oven to allow water evaporation. Check your milk regularly to ensure that it doesn’t turn brown. If it does, your oven temperature is too high.
- Stir the milk frequently until it reaches a paste-like texture.
- Once a pasty texture is reached, spread the paste on a tray or parchment paper and return it to the oven to completely dry.
- Remove the dry flakes once you can easily snap them in half.
- Let cool and transfer to a blender to grind into powder. Once a powdered consistency is reached, you can sieve the milk powder to check for bigger pieces which you can ground again.
- Once all the dried flakes are ground to a powder, place your powdered milk into an air-tight container for storage.
If you own a dehydrator, you can easily make powdered milk in about 12 hours. If you want to use this method, follow the easy recipe instructions below:
- Fruit Rolls
- Storage Container
- Slowly pour room temperature milk into the dehydrator trays after you’ve placed a fruit roll in each.
- Set your dehydrator to 50-60°C.
- Let your dehydrator run until the milk is dry and flaky.
- If all the milk hasn’t dried after 12 hours, remove the dry pieces, re-tray those that aren’t, and dehydrate them again.
- Once all the milk is dry and flaky, crumble them into pieces and place the crumbles in a blender to grind to powder form.
- Transfer the ground powder to your chosen storage container.
You might be wondering how to make milk powder if you don’t own an oven or dehydrator. Luckily, there is a third method that you can use, although it’s not very popular due to health concerns.
If you use this method, start by pouring your chosen milk into a bowl and heat it over medium-high heat using a double boiler method. Stir the milk occasionally until the water evaporates and you’re left with a thick paste. Remove the paste from the bowl and spread it out on a tray or parchment paper. Identify a well-ventilated area and place the tray/parchment paper to allow the milk-paste to dry out.
Once the paste is dry and flaky, crumble it into pieces and blend it until you have a fine powder. Store the powder in an air-tight container for a long shelf-life.
How to Store Milk Powder
After you’ve made powdered milk, you’ll want to store it properly to keep it fresh for years. Although being able to make milk powder is valuable on its own, following the proper storage guidelines can help you stockpile milk for up to 10 years. If you use milk with a low or no fat content, you can safely extend your storage period to up to 20 years!
Because powdered milk is subject to oxidation, keeping it in a container that protects it from moisture and oxygen is best for long-term storage. You should pair this type of storage container with a cool storage location that has a low risk of temperature fluctuations.
Some excellent storage containers you can use include air-tight plastic buckets, tin cans, glass jars, and vacuum-sealed pouches. To guarantee safe storage, you can vacuum seal your milk powder and then place the sealed bags in air-tight buckets or jars.
Once you open your milk powder, it’ll stay fresh in a cupboard for about three months, while you can safely store it in a freezer for up to 3 years. After you’ve made fluid milk with it, it’ll keep fresh in the refrigerator for 5 – 7 days, while you can freeze it for three months before it goes off. Note that the mentioned timeframes are applicable only when you continue to use air-tight containers.
How to Reconstitute Powdered Milk
There’s a lot of conflicting advice on how to reconstitute powdered milk. Although many people use powdered milk in food or with coffee and tea, you can also make it taste as good as fresh milk and drink it straight from the jug. To do this, you can follow the following steps:
- To make 1 liter of milk, pour 500 ml cold water into a jug.
- Add 200 ml powdered milk in the water and mix it well with a wire whisk.
- Once this is done, you should have a thick liquid.
- Add either a ½ teaspoon sugar or vanilla extract to the liquid and mix well.
- Top your mixture off with the remaining 500 ml cold water and whisk it again.
- Store your liquid milk in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Reconstituting powdered milk to a delicious, drinkable state might take some experimenting. You can play around with the milk’s thickness and the sweeteners to reach a texture and taste that you and your family will enjoy.
Benefits of Stockpiling Powdered Milk
Knowing how to make powdered milk as part of your pantry prep is extremely valuable. When SHTF, you’ll want to have powdered milk on hand, or if you don’t, you’ll need to know how to start making it if you’re lucky enough to still purchase or find fresh milk in those times.
Shelf-Life: Powdered milk has a very long shelf-life compared to liquid milk, and you don’t need to refrigerate it. It’s the perfect substitute for fresh milk when stockpiling your pantry.
Nutrition: Powdered milk is packed with protein, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D, ensuring equal nutritional value to fresh milk. In tough times, you might not have access to all these nutrients. If you have powdered milk on hand, this gap is covered.
Multi-purpose: Just like fresh milk, you can use powdered milk for more than just drinking. You can substitute fresh milk for powdered milk in any recipe that calls for milk.
How to Know If Your Powdered Milk Is Off
Although powdered milk has a shelf-life far past its estimated best by date, it can still go bad. If your powdered milk starts to develop an off-odor alongside yellow discoloration, it should be discarded. These signs signal that moisture most likely entered the powdered milk, making it suspectable to bacteria growth and mold.
To ensure that no waste is incurred, it’s best to store your powdered milk in smaller quantities and only open them as needed.
The purpose of making powdered milk is to preserve it, ensuring that it lasts for years. Having a stockpile of powdered milk and knowing how to make it saves money, gives you all the health benefits of fresh milk, and can help you out in tough times. If the dehydration process is followed correctly, any health concerns about making our own powdered milk at home can be avoided, making it an excellent substitute for fresh milk.
Once you master making milk powder, you can start adding this product to your prepper pantry. When disaster strikes, you’ll be thankful that you learned how to make milk powder, and if you have access to more fresh milk, you’re guaranteed a lifetime supply of milk for drinking, cooking, beauty, and other odd purposes.