The Scoop on Dairy Products, Part 2
As promised in my last blog about dairy products, here’s more help to keep you from scratching your head in confusion at the dairy counter. Use it to sort out the best product for your cooking.
- A dairy basic that’s familiar to almost everyone, milk comes as whole, low-fat, skim, fat-free or non-fat.
- Skim, fat-free and non-fat milk all contain less than 1/2% fat.
- Low-fat milk has 1% or 2% fat. Check out the label to know which one you are purchasing.
- Whole milks contain 3.5% fat.
- All fat levels of milk come as either pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurization simply heats the milk to a higher temperature for less time than pasteurization. Both methods result in milk that is 99.9% free of bacteria. Ultra-pasteurizing extends milk’s shelf life, making it more convenient for some.
- In recipes, use the fat level specified. If none is indicated, you can substitute one milk for another in baked goods, cold beverages, puddings and custards. Just remember that lower fat levels result in less richness. Warm soups, sauces and hot beverages often need at least 2% or higher fat levels to keep from curdling.
Read 10 Ways to Use Your Milk for tips on milk’s shelf life and getting the most from your milk.
Non-fat dry milk powder
- Real milk with both the butterfat and water removed. Store in tightly sealed moisture-proof containers for months at room temperature.
- Follow package directions for combining milk powder and water.
- Use reconstituted dry milk just like skim milk in recipes. If you want to drink it, keep it very cold and try stirring 1/4 teaspoon sugar or a drop of vanilla into every cup.
Get recipes and more tips on using non-fat dry milk powder here.
- Not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk is simply milk with 60% of its water removed. Skim, low-fat and whole milk varieties may be stored at room temperature until opened.
- Use evaporated milk in recipes calling for it or substitute undiluted evaporated milk for heavy cream in hot soups, sauces and casseroles (like macaroni and cheese). It reduces calories and saturated fats while maintaining a creamy texture.
- You may replace regular milk with evaporated milk in baking by using 2 parts of evaporated milk to 3 parts of water (for example 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 3/4 cup water takes the place of 1 1/4 cups regular milk).
Our Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese uses evaporated milk and is an easy, delicious version of this family favorite.
Sweetened condensed milk
- Like evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk has 60% of its water removed, but it also has about 40% added sugar. Skim, low-fat and whole milk varieties of sweetened condensed milk may be stored at room temperature until opened.
- Only use sweetened condensed milk in recipes that specify it.
If you haven’t read it yet, check our Part 1 of our dairy products primer!