How To Use Powdered Milk In Baking

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Milk is one of those baking ingredients that you either need or do not need. Cake (and cupcakes) recipes may or may not use milk instead of water in its batter. 

Unless you store fresh milk in your pantry at all times, you probably don't have fresh milk readily available. The good news is that fresh milk can easily be made using evaporated milk and water or powdered milk and water. Even better is that both of these ingredients (evaporated milk and powdered milk) are both easily available in sari-sari stores. No need to go to the big supermarket! 

You may stock up on evaporated milk but we also think you should stock up on powdered milk, too. That's because it's just as shelf-stable as evaporated milk and just as versatile, too. 

There are a few kinds of dry milk: powdered skim milk and full-cream powdered milk. The main difference between these two kinds of powdered milk is fat content. Skim milk or skimmed milk has less milk fat than full-cream powdered milk, just like fresh skimmed milk has less fat than fresh full-cream milk. (Fun fact: "Full-cream" fresh milk is also known as "whole milk" since the cream aka the milk fat has not been removed.) 


If you want to try baking with powdered milk instead of evaporated milk or even fresh milk, here's how to use powdered milk in baking: 

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1 Make "evaporated milk". 

Evaporated milk is concentrated milk that's unsweetened. It's an essential ingredient for leche flan, yema, tres leches cakes, and other desserts that require creaminess. If you find you do not have a can or two of evaporated milk in your pantry when you crave one of these desserts, you can use powdered milk. 


It's a simple formula: Mix 3/4 cup warm water + 1/2 cup powdered milk. Using warm water is necessary if you're using full-cream powdered milk to help it dissolve and combine better with the water. Skimmed milk will more easily blend into any temperature water. 

If you want to make your evaporated milk even richer, swap out the water for fresh milk. 

Once made, use as directed in your recipe. This is delicious to try in your chicken sopas or to use in leche flan. 

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2 Make "fresh milk". 

Unlike evaporated milk, fresh milk is less milky in taste and less rich but no less delicious, especially when added to dishes. To make fresh milk using powdered milk, use this formula: 1/3 cup powdered milk + 3/4 cup warm water. (Again, warm up the water if you're using full-cream powdered milk. Just let cool when ready to use in your recipe.) 

Photo by Patrick Martires

3 Make pastillas.

One advantage of powdered milk is that there's no need to reduce liquid milk into a thick consistency that you need for some recipes. Pastillas is a fantastic example of this. There's no need to stir fresh milk and sugar consistently on the stove to reduce it until it's thick enough to roll into these homemade candies. 

Photo by Riell Santos

4 Stir it into a cake batter.

Powdered milk can be stirred into your cake batter! Doing this increases the creaminess and milkiness of your cake, giving it a taste that's similar to pastillas. However, it's important to note that powdered milk is a dry ingredient, and it can dry out your cake texture. To combat this, this cake recipe uses a combination of butter and oil to keep it moist.  


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

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