It’s been around for years, though you’ve probably never bought it. Here are a whole
lot of reasons to try using skim milk powder
FORGET shilajit resin, gubinge and boab roots. The hottest ingredient is skim milk powder (SMP). While China might be going mad for infant formula milk powder, it is actually the production of SMP that’s booming (around 70 per cent of national milk powder production).
A host of top chefs and cooks are finding new ways to wield SMP for the culinary good – and not just for camping, whipping up cheat’s hot chocolates or making fake buttermilk.
Add it when making stocks for a richer flavour. Heston Blumenthal does it for his chicken stock, so now I do too.
I SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
Add a spoon or so of SMP to your ice cream bases to add body. (Though I have to admit I find ice cream is pretty good at adding body to me already!) Gelato Messina uses SMP in gelatos like its fior di latte ice cream.
A BIT CORNY
Add a spoonful to the water when boiling corn cobs to make them taste sweeter.
Browned butter is all the rage but you can boost the flavour by adding a couple of spoons of SMP to your butter when browning it. You are basically adding more milk solids to go deliciously nutty.
CRUMBS OF KNOWLEDGE
Flip this idea on its head and make a batch of brown butter crumbs to use as a gluten-free soil or crumb in desserts, to fold through ice cream when making brown butter ice cream (pictured), or to toss with prawns in a pasta. Thank Sydney supercook Alex Herbert for that idea. To make the crumbs, toss 300g SMP with 125g melted butter. Spread a thin layer on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with 2½ tbs sugar. Bake in a preheated 180oc oven for eight minutes, or until lightly golden. To ensure even toasting, rotate the tray halfway through, tossing at the same time. Remove the tray from the oven and let the crumbs cool on it.
Use SMP as your secret ingredient when making those Indian dessert balls known as gulab jamun.
Add a spoonful with flour when making chocolate chip cookies for a chewier, fudgier result. That’s a neat idea from US Masterchef judge Christina Tosi who is the baking brains and inspiration behind New York’s Milk Bar.
You can add it to your protein ball mix instead of using protein powder.
Make whipped cream more stable by adding 15g of SMP for every 250ml of cream as you are whipping it. This is great when you want to use the cream to frost a cake. I use it to give extra hold to my rosettes of piped two-ingredient, cheat’s white chocolate mousse, which I suppose I will now have to rename.
No cream? It is possible to make a fluffy dessert topping by whisking equal quantities of iced water with SMP, but it tastes a bit fake – like one of those ’70s dessert toppings in a sachet. You can also make very average ricotta with SMP, water and vinegar, but I wouldn’t unless I was stuck at Davis Station in Antarctica and forced to compete in a milk-free ricotta challenge that will decide the fate of the world by an Italian super-villain. So basically I wouldn’t. I’d just buy some.
Make a paste from SMP and water for shaving, relieving sunburn, to put on insect bites or to use as a face mask. I’d suggest only doing all these in a post-apocalyptic emergency when the zombie hordes make it too difficult to pop down to the shops.