A picture of different types of milk products in glasses on a bench.

Concentrated Milk

What is concentrated milk?

Many of us use concentrated milk every day, although we may refer to it using names like powdered milk or condensed milk. These are some examples of concentrated milk.

Concentrated milk is simply milk that has moisture removed. Concentrated milk contains the same vitamins and minerals as fresh milk.

However, different types of concentrated milk undergo unique processes.

Types of concentrated milk

Evaporated or unsweetened condensed milk

What is condensed milk? Producers take milk solids and increase them to 28% by gently evaporating water, or 20% in the case of skim evaporated milk. After the milk is concentrated, the milk is then canned and sterilised to destroy bacteria and enzymes to increase shelf life. This process also makes lactose (the sugar in milk) caramelise, which provides a unique colour and flavour. Condensed milk benefits come from its versatility, as many people use it instead of cream.

Sweetened condensed milk

Producers take unsweetened condensed milk, then add sugar as a preservative. This adds a sweeter taste and is useful for situations where refrigeration is limited.

Powdered milk and instant milk powders

What is powdered milk? Powdered milk is made from a milk concentrate containing about 40% milk solids and 3% moisture content, which stops particles clumping together. Extended shelf life is a major benefit of powdered milk: unopened powdered milk can last up to a year when stored correctly.

Techniques like coating particles with lecithin, a substance in milk, are used to make instant milk powders. This also helps reduce particles from "clumping" together.

Using concentrated milk

Follow some simple rules to make sure you get the best out of your concentrated milk:

  • Unopened cans of concentrated milk are in peak condition for six months or more when at room temperatures
  • After opening, cans or diluted powdered milk should be well covered and stored like fresh milk
  • Unopened powdered milk will remain in peak condition for a year or more if stored in a cool, dry place
  • After opening, reseal as tightly as possible to avoid a build up of moisture