The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What is powdered milk?

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Powdered or dried milk is manufactured by spray drying (removing water from liquid milk). Most of milk’s natural colour, flavour, solubility and nutritive value are preserved.

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Powdered or dried milk is commonly manufactured by spray drying. This method involves removing water from liquid milk in stages. During the first stage, the milk is evaporated by using vacuum and mild heat. This concentrates the solids to approximately 50%. The concentrate is then sprayed as a fine mist into a heated chamber, which lets the last water evaporate from the minute droplets. This process happens at about the same temperature as pasteurisation and so prevents any significant nutrient loss. Spray drying retains most of milk’s natural characteristics and properties, such as colour, flavour, solubility and nutritive value. Milk can also be freeze dried, but this process is much more expensive and therefore not as commonly used.

Drying milk is an effective way not only to reduce the bulk of the product and so save on transport costs, but also to extend the shelf life of the product.

Powdered milk is useful as ingredient in many products and can be reconstituted to liquid milk with water. In its dry state it does not require refrigeration

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