Health

Cows 2.0: How Advanced Science is Making Whole Milk Powder Taste Better

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Historically, whole milk powder has laid claim to three definitive characteristics among milk drinkers the world over: it is cheaper than regular whole milk, it is more convenient than regular whole milk, and alas, it tastes a lot worse than regular whole milk. At least, until now.

That is because according to research carried out by the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science at North Carolina State University (Raleigh) and published in the Journal of Dairy Science, increased homogenization pressure does what was previously declared impossible: it noticeably improves the taste of whole powered milk.

This is because increased homogenization pressure does two key things: it boosts the amount of protein on the surface of milk fat droplets, and it reduces the size of these droplets. These combined factors reduce the volume of free fat in whole milk powder, which in turn significantly diminishes the off-flavor qualities — or in simpler terms, the “chalky”  and “paint-like” flavor — that many people find unpleasant, or outright unbearable.

High pressure homogenization is widely viewed as the best way to reduce particle size, rupture cell membranes, and create consistent, quality assured products like emulsions and suspensions. The process combines turbulent premixing (mechanically loosening bonds), cavitation (forming liquid-free space within a liquid solution), impact (reduces the size of solid particles in a liquid suspension), high shear (applying a tangential force to mix to immiscible phases), and operating pressure (allows for enhanced action of other forces, along with increased capacity to rupture tough cell walls).

According to BEE International which manufactures a line of high pressure homogenizers for various industries (learn more at http://www.beei.com), whole milk powder is certainly not the only product that is made significantly better — and more commercially viable — with high pressure homogenization. Other applications include health, beauty and cosmetic creams, pharmaceutical drugs, and beverages. High pressure homogenization ensures that these (and other) products are safe, stable, consistent, and efficient to produce.

Now, to get back to milk: does all of this positive homogenization news mean that people can look start enjoying “just add water” whole milk powder as if it were the real thing — which as noted, is not just more convenient, but also more cost effective? Well no; not just yet.

High pressure homogenization is an effective technique, but it is not a magic wand. Even researchers acknowledge that the taste gap still exists. However, it is now significantly smaller — which means that those who previously could not stand the taste of whole milk powder may get a reprieve, and those who tolerated it may be inspired to go from “meh!” to “mmmm!”

 

 

About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.

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