Paint a Room and Wash Your Face: More Uses For Powdered Milk Than You Ever Imagined
“Yick. Why on earth would you drink powdered milk?” I used to think. “It must taste horrid,” I surmised. I never drank that much milk anyway, so the cost savings of having powdered milk on hand didn’t come into the picture either.
However, when I inherited a bread maker and started making my own loaves, I came across powdered milk as a common ingredient.
And so began the wonderful day that powdered milk became a staple in my kitchen.
Although the price of powdered milk has crept up over the years, it is still a frugal way to drink the white stuff. And in addition to the wonderful uses Myscha outlined in her article here, there are so many other interesting things you can do with powdered milk that warrant its place in your cupboard too:
Cream (Or Something Like It)
Whisk equal parts of powdered milk to cold water, and you’ll end up with something creamier than milk. Let’s call it cream. Add a touch of fresh whole milk and you’re closer.
Instant Hot Chocolate
Combine equal parts of powdered milk, cocoa powder, and sugar, and whamo – you have instant hot chocolate on hand, just requiring hot water to serve. Play around with the exact quantities to suit your taste. This is especially handy if you make a batch in advance. Then get creative – add cinnamon, or chili, or nutmeg, and believe it or not a dash of salt brings out the chocolate flavour quite nicely.
Nothing beats real whipped cream, I know. But here’s a close second that is relatively guilt-free and made with stuff you already have on hand:
Combine equal parts of ice water and powdered milk, and whip with electric beater for a few minutes, until fluffy. Add a little sugar, a touch of lemon juice, and some vanilla for good measure. Beat until it is thick like whipped topping and spoon onto your dessert. Yum!
Although you have to use commercial yoghurt to get this recipe going, it will go a long way.
In a very clean jar, put a quart of prepared milk. Add another ½ a cup of milk powder to thicken up the mixture a bit. Mix in a ¼ cup of commercial yoghurt, ensuring it has active bacterial culture in it. Stir well.
Let the mixture sit in a warm place for about 8 hours, until it is thick and creamy. Once it is the consistency you like, chill it and you’re good to go. Add fresh fruit or jam or vanilla and a touch of sugar or honey for flavour if you wish.
Curds, or Cottage Cheese, or Ricotta
First you make curds. Bring 1 part powdered milk and 2 parts water to a boil. Remove from heat and drizzle in some vinegar (ie: for every cup of water, put a tablespoon of vinegar). Stir lightly and let stand. You will see the milk separate, and you should have a clear liquid and white curds. If the liquid is still milky, add more vinegar, stir, and let sit again. Pour the mixture through a cloth to retain the curds and rinse them in cool water.
For ricotta, simply blend the curds until smooth.
For cottage cheese, add some yoghurt or evaporated milk and stir.
In The Kitchen
Thawing Frozen Fish
If you leave your frozen fish in a dish of milk to thaw, it will absorb the nutrients in the milk and taste as plump and fresh as the day it came out of the sea. Or at least close to it.
Make Sweet Corn Sweeter
Add some powdered milk (a quarter cup) to the water when boiling corn on the cob. You’ll be amazed how sweet and plump the corn will be.
Beautification and Bodily Uses
If you’re in a pinch and have no shaving cream or gel, you can (apparently) use milk as a substitute. Sounds pretty rough to me, but beggars can’t be choosers I guess. Combine powdered milk with enough water to make a thick creamy texture and apply as you would to shave.
Insect Bite Treatment
Make a paste with powdered milk and water (try equal parts powdered milk and water) and a dash of salt. It will take care of the irritants in the bites and bring relief of the itchiness.
A little milk applied to sunburns will soothe your skin and make you feel less toasty for a while. For ease of application, you can use the paste recipe shown above for insect bites.
For a really dry skin remedy, rub some cold milk on your skin and allow it to absorb the nutrients. Be sure to rinse off afterwards though or you may smell a little sour by the following morning!
Shake up some powdered milk and warm water until it has a creamy consistency. Apply with a facecloth or cotton ball, then wipe it off and rinse well with water.
For a home spa facial, use water and powdered milk to make a thick paste and spread it on your face. Relax for 20 minutes until it dries, then rinse thoroughly. It will both clean and moisturize your face wonderfully. Not to mention the fact that you just sat and did nothing for 20 minutes…the relaxation aspect of facials is not to be underestimated.
Add some powdered milk to your bath and have a nice soak. An ancient technique that is still used in some parts of the world, it is wonderful for moisturizing the skin, and quite a luxurious treat.
Clean dirty hands
Combine some (prepared) milk with a little lemon juice to wash your hands. The lemon will cut through the grease, and the milk will make your hands...well..milky soft.
For extra grimy hands, mix in some rolled oats to make a paste and scrub away.
Sour your milk by adding some lemon or vinegar. Then, soak your silver in the mixture for about half an hour, wash the silver with soapy water, buff it up, and watch it shine.
Spiff up your Patent Leather
The last pair of patent leather shoes I owned goes a while back now (yikes), but if you’ve got ‘em, now you can clean ‘em. Rub a thin layer of milk on them, let it dry, then polish your duds until they gleam again.
Clean the Plants
Only a very particular (read: anal) clean-freak or maybe a greenhouse gardener might want to test this technique. Clean your plant leaves with a weak mixture of powdered milk and water and a soft cloth. Then again just plain wiping the plants down period will get the dust and dirt off, but if you want to try milk, be my guest. I’m sure your plants will thank you in their quiet subtle way.
Cure Your Cracks
This may be an old wives tale, but if you have a piece of cracked china that you are heartbroken about, it may be worth a shot. Boil it in milk (by simmering on low heat for 45 minutes), and you just may find that the crack goes away (the milk reacting with the kaolin in the china to repair the crack from the inside out).
If anybody has done this successfully, please let us know here. It may save a lot of heartbreak-age with the good china.
Removing Ink Stains From Clothes
Soak the offending garment in milk overnight, then wash it as usual the next day. Damn those leaky pocket protectors.
Paint a Room
Mix 1 part water to 3 parts powdered milk until you get something around the consistency of paint. Blend in a water-based colour if you don’t want neutral white, and paint your heart out. As with normal paint, let it dry thoroughly between coats (ie: 24 hours).
Of course, given the amount of powdered milk required to actually paint a room, I question the cost effectiveness and practicality of this idea, but if you just need to do a touch-up on a neutral surface, or need to stretch what’s left in your can of paint a little further and aren’t fussed about lightening the tone with the dilution, this could come in handy.
Oh yeah, and you can use powdered milk as just plain milk too!
For those who are worried about their powdered milk turning out watery and lumpy, here are a few techniques for successful milk-making:
- Only mix the powdered milk with cold water. It tends not to dissolve with warm or hot water.
- Stir it well, and when you think you’ve stirred it enough, stir it some more. Let it sit for a while, then stir it even more. This helps the protein to mix in properly.
- For a creamier fuller taste and consistency, make your milk the night before and keep it in the refrigerator. It will come into its own after a night of chilling.
- If you still can’t stand the taste, try adding a drop or two of vanilla, or a touch of sugar.
And if you are trying to make the full leap from fresh milk to powdered milk, you may want to ease the transition by cutting it with fresh milk. You’ll know you did it right if nobody notices after a process of weaning yourself off the fresh milk.
Disclaimer: As with toothpaste applications , these tips and tricks have not all been tested and should be attempted at the user's risk. Heck - if you plan to paint a room with milk, it's all you!