Add in lactose and protein without the liquid.

Margaret Eby
April 10, 2019
Photo by Jules Selmes via Getty Images

You might think about milk powder as something that's mostly for baby formula or survivalists. After all, it is exactly what it sounds like: regular old cow milk that's been dehydrated. Turning milk from a liquid to a solid has all kinds of advantages. Milk powder is shelf-stable, and it take up a lot less room than a regular gallon of milk. And it turns out that milk powder is an incredibly useful ingredient to have in your pantry, particularly if you're a baker. 

You can, of course, just rehydrate it and use it when you need milk and don't have any on hand. You can add the powdered milk to the other dry ingredients and then add the amount of water to reconstitute it to the mixture later. But it has other advantages for baking that you might not expect. Milk is a great source of lactose and protein, both things that can do a world of good for baked goods, particularly fat-rising items like doughnuts. The milk powder adds flavor to the mixture, for sure. But it can also contribute to a darker golden crust and a more tender innards.

Milk Bar chef and founder Christina Tosi is a huge fan of milk powder. She recommends adding to almost everything you bake, including cake, cookies, or the crumble topping for cakes. "My hidden secret ingredient to make everything taste better is a tablespoon of nonfat milk powder,” she told The Kitchn. “It just makes everything taste so much better!” Try it in chocolate chip cookies or even brownies and you can see why—it adds a backnote of unctuous smoothness that helps along most baking endeavors. 

The best part? Milk powder is really inexpensive and lasts a long time. You can purchase it at the grocery store, most of the time for under $5. Grab some and try it out. Worst case scenario you'll just have more milk on hand in the event of the next big storm.