Function of non-fat dry milk in bread recipes?

cloud_swiftFebruary 26, 2008

The Secrets of a Jewish Baker bread book I have has non-fat dry milk (it says "skim milk powder" which I assume is the same thing) as an ingredient in a lot of the recipes and that is an item I don't normally stock in my pantry. I got into the middle of making honey oat wheat bread the other day and had missed that the recipe called for non-fat dry milk. It was 2/3 cup for a recipe that had about 5 cups of flour and 2 cups of oats.

I decided to go ahead and make the bread without it. I was very pleased with the resulting loaves and my DS (aka the food critic) who has made that bread before but not recently said he couldn't detect any difference.

So what is the skim milk powder or non-fat dry milk suppose to do? If it is just to beef up the nutrients, I think our family gets enough milk protein and calcium without that. The book says it imparts flavor, adds color to the crust and acts as a tenderizer but if DS can't detect the difference, it isn't doing much.

So, bread bakers - do I need to add powdered milk to my already full pantry? Or can I ignore it in the otherwise interesting recipes in the book that call for it? Or should I get a different bread book?

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It does do those things you mentioned, tenderizes, better crust color, flavor, and also helps with the keeping quality of the bread. Bread dough with milk in it is usually softer in texture, which may be a characteristic you desire or not.

The true test would be to make the same recipe, one right after the other, one with dried milk and one without and see if you can tell any difference. That same amount is given in a bread cookbook that I have. Dried milk is also easier to measure, can be kept on hand, and doesn't have to be warmed like milk from the fridge.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:23PM
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Cloud Swift:
I would do the "true test", that Teresa suggested.
BUT have impartial persons, judge the Bread .

Many as possible and do not disclose which was baked, with or without the dry milk.

I never have omitted it, from a recipe but have subbed it for whole milk.
Nobody has complained or said one was better than the other.

They where both bad !!! SPituueee!!!- - - - ONLY JOKING !
Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

I have used it in my Challah type bread. I like it.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:20PM
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I usually add it but there are times I've run out and not bothered, it doesn't make a huge difference. You can always just substitute regular milk for some of the water rather than use skim milk powder.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:43AM
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Bakers often use a special dry milk that's been high-heat processed to disable the protease enzymes that interfere with gluten development. The result is all the advantage of milk - the increased nutrition, finer crumb, etc. without impeding the rise.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 2:53AM
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Hawk, to me, if it has milk it may be nice braided bread but it isn't challah. Traditionally challah is used at Shabbat and holiday dinners and that would usually mean a meat meal. Someone who keeps kosher doesn't eat milk and meat together so challah would not have milk.

pkguy and Carol, at the point where I realized the recipe called for powdered milk, I had already added the liquid so substituting wasn't an option. If I did add milk I remember the earlier discussion about the need to scald because of the enzymes. In any case, I don't think the changing the amount of liquid in the recipe to milk would provide an equivalent amount of milk solids as 2/3 cup of powdered milk. I did wonder about substituting evaporated milk which would be closer.

But because we keep kosher, I generally prefer my bread not to have milk so if the bread comes out fine without it I'd be happy with that. But we don't eat much meat so I could make it with milk and just not use it with meat.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:50AM
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