Wrangler Mama’s Pantry Tip #1: Powdered Milk

I am constantly amazed at the things I do in the kitchen that other people find amazing — things like making pizza from scratch, baking bread, or even baking anything not from a mix or pre-made dough.  (Not that I don’t use mixes too, but baking from scratch isn’t that hard.)

Because of this, I’ve decided to reveal some of my secrets, little at a time.  They are things I’ve learned over time that keep me from having to dash to the store, or worse, the drive-thru, because I can’t make a meal or snack.

Without further ado, here’s my tidbit for today:  keep powdered milk on hand.  When you find that the regular milk is gone, you can still make your baked oatmeal, pancakes, or whatever it is that you needed a bit of milk to make.  I also like to buy canned evaporated milk when it goes on sale (around the holidays) for the same purpose, though powdered milk is much cheaper.

To use powdered milk in a recipe, simply add the dry amount with the dry ingredients.  The basic rule of thumb is that 1/3 cup powdered milk + however much water brings the level up to one cup = 1 cup milk.  So if I am making something like pancakes, where you can kind of use common sense for the amount of liquid, I just add the powder in with the flour.  If I were baking something that required more precise measurements (like a cake), I would mix up the cup of milk ahead of time to make sure I had exactly the right amount of liquid.

You may wonder how it tastes.  I cannot tell the difference when I use it for baking.  I don’t drink cow’s milk anymore, so I can’t really tell you what it tastes like when mixed up to actually drink.

This brings me to another point: if you or your family doesn’t drink cow’s milk on a regular basis, that is all the more reason you should have powdered milk on hand if you like to use it to bake.  You don’t have to worry about it going bad before you can use it.  I’m sure it expires eventually, but I don’t know when.  Some people like to keep their powdered milk in the fridge to help it stay fresh, but I have recently started keeping it in the cupboard and nothing bad has happened.  I figure if the grocery store can safely keep it out in the bulk bins, then it should be safe unrefrigerated at my house too.

Happy Baking!  I welcome any suggestions for tips you might want to hear me talk about.

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