Non fat milk vs whole milk powder?


  • I use whole milk powder in baking, but wondering why meat recipes ask for non fat milk as a binder?
    Can I use either, or is there a different affect?

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors

    Terry Kostiw
    TOO LONG, DIDN’T READ answer: use nonfat dry milk, not whole.

    I did a bunch of reading on dry milk over last 2 weeks. There is not much hard data… a LOT of internet posts by folks following recipes, but very little if any I could find from meat scientists. Data from recipe makers is fine, if they ever once ran a test of “make one with dry whole, one with dry nonfat, here are results”, or even just allude to past experience saying they HAD made such batches. But that believable post from a reliable source didn’t exist in the top 500 google hits under various searches (<<turns out google prioritizes general reader content, only once I got links for Dairy Science journals did I find good info). I’m sure many experienced sausage makers have done it, they just aren’t posting about it much. Maybe because every recipe already directs the use of non-fat, so they figure it’s covered? Don’t know.

    Here is what I found, reading posts on the chemistry.

    1. Dry milk, while vs. Non fat-- USE THE NONFAT. The binding comes from the sugar lactose, which in nonfat makes up 50% of the product. Other components can be milk are 35 % proteins like caseinate, also a good binder and emulsifier.
      The “binding” comes from ability to hold water without it breaking loose at cooking temps. The fat binding comes from fat being coated in these protein water structures and held in place, apparently by a loose bond to the lactose-water structure and milk proteins, though this bond was just referred to, I haven’t seen any writeups on the molecular structure or bonding sites.
      –the two references I read on milk fat said the included fat took up bonding from the meat fats, and reduced the efficiency of the meat fat bonding
      – also mentioned, milk fat soft at room temps, did not survive the bond at cooking temps. No chemistry shown for that one.
      – lastly was the rancidity issue, apparently granulating and drying milk fat massively exposes it to O2 and leads to easy oxidation, and difficulty of storage in normal bags and for lengthy times.

    2. My main interest was actual data showing a difference between “hi temp dry milk” sold by sausage makers, and “low temp dry milk”, normal stuff sold in all stores. Difference being production temperatures of 130ish vs. 160ish. It is said the low temp common version doesn’t bind sausage as well, leading to some posters saying not at all. Apparently preheat temperature prior to spray drying process changes the product protein structures, or nature of lactose. I’m sure there is a study in the meat science literature but I haven’t found it yet… (edit, found some good research, will post below)

    Anyways, sorry for long answer, your question just happened to coincide with a curent research interest;) I use a lot of dry milk for weekly yogurt, like you I’m wondering if I can just stock one version.


  • Dave in AZ Thank you for this answer, AND the “Cliff notes”.


  • No that was fantastic! Thanks!

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors

    P.s. It can be extremely difficult to ascertain exactly what is in various products also. Sellers use the marketing ploy of “rebranding” items with their own proprietary name, to give the illusion it can only be purchased through them, and help hide the contents thus removing customer’s ability to comparison shop.

    They all do this, it is a rare retailer who is transparent and upfront about what they are selling you, as they are just repackagers and want to protect their ability to resell you something. Rather than standing on price, convenience, expertise, and bulk shipping with other supplies as sales points, it can be easier to convince the consumer they are buyi g a unique product by obfuscating content. I very much dislike this business model as a consumer trying to be sure what chemicals I’m putting in my food.

    Case in point, Walton’s. No insult intended here, almost everyone does this, but it’s a good example that even an info-forward place with a Meatgistics, still obscures content. Sells “Dairy blend binder” which is described only as “A high-quality meat binder made from dairy”. We don’t know if it is nonfat, hi temp, low temp, or just repackaged nonfat dry milk from Costco.
    They also sell
    “Sure Gel” which is Ingredients:Whey Protein Powder (Reduced Lactose Whey, Sodium Caseinate, Whey), Sodium Phosphate (33.33%), Hydrolyzed Gelatin (For Flavoring). <<< So this is dry milk with the lactose stripped out, but we don’t know if it is low temp or high temp. Sodium Phosphate is a catch all term for 6 to 9 actual phosphate chemicals, all with different properties and purchasable as actual correctly labeled products, but after several emails I still don’t know what this is, tripoly phosphate or sodium triphosphate or diphosphate etc. However, credit to Walton’s, Austin said they would find out from supplier and let me know.

    I’d love to buy from Walton’s, but if I cant ascertain what I’m purchasing, I’m basically buying a pig-in-a-poke.

  • Team Orange PK100 Sous Vide Power User

    Dave in AZ You touch a little on why I pretty much exclusively make my own spice blends instead of buying the Excalibur ones. The won’t provide sodium content, and that’s something I want to know.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    TexLaw said in Non fat milk vs whole milk powder?:

    Dave in AZ You touch a little on why I pretty much exclusively make my own spice blends instead of buying the Excalibur ones. The won’t provide sodium content, and that’s something I want to know.

    Seasoning companies are understandably reluctant to disclose too much information about proprietary formulas.

    Disclosing sodium/ salt content doesn’t seem like asking too much though when you consider that some folks are actively monitoring sodium intake for health reasons.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner Veteran

    processhead I think salt content should be required information due to health concerns.
    I am sure the spice blend industry has or would vigorously fight that requirement since observant label readers would realize the spice blend they would pay $2.00 and up per oz. probably contains 50% or more of salt which would cost the maker $.01 or less per oz.

  • Team Orange PK100 Sous Vide Power User

    processhead My thoughts, exactly. I would never ask for details on a recipe, but sodium content is important information that hardly gives much away.

    I’d also be fine with a “no salt” product, but that’s another discussion for another thread.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    TexLaw said in Non fat milk vs whole milk powder?:

    Dave in AZ You touch a little on why I pretty much exclusively make my own spice blends instead of buying the Excalibur ones. The won’t provide sodium content, and that’s something I want to know.

    And I do it for the challenge and to make the product exactly to my taste, but more to challenge my knowledge of the processes.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Dave in AZ Outstanding write up!

  • Team Orange PK100 Sous Vide Power User

    mrobisr I agree. I also enjoy putting together my own blends for the same reason, but there’s something to be said for grabbing something off the shelf for a quick batch, especially if it’s tasty!

  • Team Blue Big Green Egg Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User

    Dave in AZ great research. Thanks for sharing 👍

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