Powdered milk - what do you do with it?

My wife buys powdered milk to use as creamer in her coffee. She prefers it to either liquid milk or non-dairy powdered creamers. When I pick up a box of it at the store, a box that makes 8 quarts runs about $8 or $9. Now, when I was younger I always had the impression that powdered milk was used by people who couldn’t afford real milk. (In fact, I think I had a roommate in college for a while that drank the stuff.) But at the equivalent of around $4 a gallon, buying powdered milk for drinking is going to be more expensive than buying a gallon of milk out of the dairy case.

So I’m just curious. Those of you who buy powdered milk - what do you use it for?

Good question! I was looking to buy a box of powdered milk since I only use milk occasionally, but when I saw the price I was like WTF?! I thought it was supposed to be cheaper than milk, not more expensive!

It has a long shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration. It works as well as milk when reconstituted for many recipes, and is high in calcium and has other nutrients. I wasn’t aware that it was ever supposed to be a big money saver. Milk production has been heavily regulated and subsidized to maintain low prices for a long time here in the US. But I remember a time when not everyone had a refrigerator, or ready access to fresh milk, something more common among people of limited means.

ETA: As for the current prices, at one time it may have been made from excess milk that would have been wasted. But these days nothing is wasted in food production. The retail price reflects the cost of production, marketing, packaging, etc.

A half-cup of powdered milk, a tray of ice cubes, some artificial sweetener, a few drops of vanilla, four or five fresh strawberries or strawberry extract… toss all in blender, add a small amount of water as necessary… smoothies!
Experiment with the ingredients as desired.

I use it for cooking since I don’t usually keep fresh milk on hand. Also I make my own instant breakfast with Metamucil, Ovaltine, and powdered milk. Mmmm, regularity!

I have a pancake mix recipe that calls for powdered milk. Also a hot cocoa mix recipe that calls for it.

When I have it (because I was making pancake or hot cocoa mix) I use it in certain of my bread recipes instead of regular milk.

Here. it’s almost the same price and since we don’t have a car, we need to buy enough to get through the two weeks between shopping trips.

I certainly remember when it was a thrifty way to supply your family’s milk needs, and you were advised to mix it half and half with normal milk to try to mask the flavor until they got used to it. Nowadays I see it used only in homemade mixes such as hot chocolate mix or the above instant breakfast mix.

Powdered milk used to be cheaper than regular milk, plus of course it keeps for a long time without refrigeration, as others said.

My mother used to put powdered milk in the water that she boiled the potatoes in, to make mashed potatoes or potato soup. For mashed potatoes, she’d drain some of the water off.

Backpacking. That’s the only time I ever use it. Makes hot cocoa mix, biscuit mix, mac n cheese mix, lotsa stuff. Plus milk for tea.

I used it quite a bit when I lived out in the sticks a long way from a store. You can’t tell the difference in milk gravies, and it’s also an ingredient in the fry bread recipes that I have seen. IIRC, I would buy a 2% version, rather than non-fat.

I pour it on my powdered cereal.

Back when I was a student, I’d buy it bulk from the food co-op and use it to make yogurt. All those years ago, it was cheaper than buying yogurt, or buying regular milk for making yogurt. I bought some a few years ago when I was baking, to add some extra protein to some loaves, but I dislike the taste these days.

But using it in homemade cocoa mix sounds great.

I mix it with hot water sometimes to make a warm milk drink. When I worked in an office, I used to keep a bag of it in a tin along with some teabags, instant coffee, Quik, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom. I also kept a jar of honey close at hand. No shortage of combinations there.

I could never drink it in the proportions given on the package, though. For it to taste like milk at all, I need at least three heaping tablespoons per glass or mug of water. Otherwise, it just tastes like water with chalk in it!

You made your own yoghurt? How? Using one of those cultures you can buy at places like these ?

You can also use a container of store bought yogurt as starter. Then when you’ve made your own, when you get down to the last serving, use that as the starter for your next batch.

My grandmother made her own yogurt regularly. I know people who have tried it a few times, but she would start up a new batch every week. She didn’t understand why people bought it at the store.

Powdered full-fat goat milk is the best thing in a thermos of coffee. I can never find full-fat cow milk except occasional at outdoors/sports type stores.

It’s good for camping as others have said. These days I’d imagine the bulk of poweered milk production goes to food manufacturers. Anything with ‘milk solids’ in the ingredients list will be made with powdered milk (infant formula, confecitonary and the like). It’s also a big component of emergency food aid, being an easily stored and transported complete food.

Yup, just make sure it’s labeled as having live cultures and you’re set. I use powdered milk as a texture/thickness booster - maybe 1/4-1/2 cup powdered to 3 c liquid milk - when I’m making homemade yogurt.