- Pasteurized Milk: Milk which is heated to specific temperatures that results in eradication of potentially harmful bacteria without affecting its flavour. Pasteurized milk tends to keep fresh for up to 2-3 days when refrigerated. This is the type of milk that is most often used for drinking and in cooking. Some people do enjoy unpasteurized milk too. It is of course recommended that babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with an impaired immune system should refrain from drinking unpasteurized milk.
- Whole Milk: Though usually pasteurized, whole milk being undisturbed in its composition, has a higher saturated fat and cholesterol content.
Semi-skimmed and skimmed milk are fat-reduced versions.
- Semi-skimmed Milk (low-fat milk) contains 1.5-1.8 % fat.
- Skimmed Milk has a maximum fat content of 0.1-0.3 %. Skimmed milk has the vast majority of its fat removed, containing only half the calories as full-cream milk, retaining most vitamins and calcium except for fat-soluble vitamins A and D.
- UHT or Ultra Heat Treated Milk is subjected to high temperatures of 132 C/270 F, that leaves the taste unaffected but dramatically increases shelf-life as a pack of unopened UHT milk may last for up to 3 months even without refrigeration.
- Dried Milk or Milk Powder: Full-fat or skimmed milk subjected to a process of spray drying in order to improve the quality.
- Evaporated Milk: Homogenized milk (with fat particles evenly dispersed) with its water content reduced to make it twice as concentrated as regular milk. The application of high heat during processing lends it a highly distinctive flavour and good store life.
- Condensed Milk: is basically evaporated milk in which sugar has been incorporated in order to thicken as well as sweeten it. This is primarily used in making desserts and sweets.
Culinary Uses of Milk
Milk is a liquid ingredient that has various culinary uses. Not only is the liquid form used in cooking but processed milk products are also widely used in making milk based dishes. Milk recipes often include desserts and baked dishes. Several savory dishes are also made with milk as the main ingredient. Milk adds to the richness of the dish and forms a good base. Few milk recipes include milk powder that is as tasty as liquid milk. Beverages such as tea, coffee and milk shakes are mainly prepared with milk, either in liquid form or in powdered form. Soup, stews, sauces and dips are also some of the commonly prepared milk dishes. Milk is an integral part of making sweets, cakes, cookies and puddings. Almost all ice-creams have milk as the base.
Popular Milk Recipes
Milk dishes are popular across the globe. Listed below are some of the most popular milk recipes:
• Mango shakes – It is very popular milk shake made with milk and mango pulp.
• Milk cake – This dish is a very commonly served sweet in Indian cuisine. It is made up of fresh milk while cooking it until thickens.
• Vanilla ice cream – One of the most popular milk recipes made with cream and milk. Vanilla ice cream is popular around the world as a dessert.
• Khoya – It is an Indian milk recipe made with milk as the only ingredient. It is basically used to make various Indian sweets.
• Milk biscuits – This milk recipe is very nutritious and well-liked by kids.
Cuisines Commonly Making Milk Dishes
Milk is such a versatile and readily available ingredient that it is used by almost all cuisines. The other dairy-products made up of milk are equally used in cuisines across the globe. In Indian cuisine, milk is mainly used to make sweets. Clarified butter or ‘ghee’ is a very common food item in all Indian households. ‘Chaach’ or ‘lassi’ are the Indian cold beverages that are made up of by-products of milk and are considered very light and healthy. Italian cuisine uses cheese extensively in most of the dishes and cheese is the processed form of milk only. American, French and Middle Eastern cuisines are also commonly making milk dishes such as puddings, pancakes, salad dressings, and cream based meat and vegetable dishes.
Preferred Methods for Cooking Milk Dishes
• Boiling – Milk is often used afer boiling. Though boiling doesn’t alter the milk nutrients. Soup and broth dishes are often made by this method.
• Baking – Various desserts and milk puddings are made using the method of baking .
• Freezing – Milk ice creams and desserts are frozen in order to set or solidify them.
• Churning – This is the most common method of processing milk to produce butter. In this method milk is continuously stirred vigourously in such a way as to separate the butter from the milk.
Nutritive Value of Milk
Milk is a complete ‘nature’s food’. It is highly nutritious and provides various health benefits as well. Nutritive value of milk and some health benefits are mentioned below:
• Milk and milk dishes provide high-quality protein.
• It also supplies vitamin B, zinc and phosphorous.
• Calcium is found in abundance in milk and milk products. Calcium ensures healthy and strong bones along with healthy structure of teeth.
• Whole milk also contains iodine, niacin and vitamin B6
• For young children milk is very essential as it helps in building bones.
Apart from containing lots of nutrients, milk product contains few drawbacks:
• Whole milk and especially cream contains high amount of fat.
• Unpasteurised milk is a common cause of food poisoning.
• Some people have lactose intolerance, hence milk is not suitable for them.
NON-DAIRY MILK OPTIONS
Almond milk may be fortified like regular milk to improve its Vitamin A, D and calcium content. Vitamin A is important for healthy vision, Vitamin E and A have antioxidant properties protecting tissues from free radical damage. Calcium and Vitamin D build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also regulates blood pressure and facilitates muscle contraction. Vitamin D enhances immune function.
Coconut milk has the advantage of being soy-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free. It is rich in taste and creamy in texture, lending itself beautifully to not only desserts but also curries and gravies. Coconut milk is even consumed directly as a milk replacement.