Automatic bread machines have been in commercial bakeries and restaurants since the early 1900s, but the first home models were not made until the 1980s. Many bread machine recipes call for powdered milk, which you may not have in your pantry. Understanding the ingredients and processes involved in making bread will help you decide when and how to substitute skim milk for milk powder.
Milk powder is made by evaporating the water out of skim milk then putting it through a drying process. This process concentrates the milk solids into a fine powder. Milk powder can be made from whole or skim milk, but most packaged dry milk powder is made from skim milk. It is fat-free, which gives it a longer shelf life.
Baking bread in an automatic bread machine is simple compared to baking bread from scratch. Fit the kneading blade into the bread pan. Pour the wet ingredients into the baking pan, top with the dry ingredients and add the yeast. Put the pan into the bread machine and press the "Start" button. A few hours later, you will have a freshly baked loaf of homemade bread.
How to Substitute Skim Milk
To reconstitute milk powder, mix 1 part milk powder with 4 parts water. Look at the bread machine recipe to determine how much milk powder and how much water it requires to determine how much skim milk to use. For example, if a bread machine recipe calls for 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of dry milk powder, use 2 cups of skim milk, because this is how much reconstituted milk those two ingredients would make if you mixed them before putting them in the bread pan. If the amounts are not so simple, you may have to add extra water or supplement the skim milk with extra milk powder.
Many bread machine recipes call for powdered milk because bread machines typically have a delayed baking setting. This allows you to set up the bread machine at night and wake up to fresh, hot bread in the morning. Powdered milk is shelf-stable, so it is safe to let it sit in the bread machine for several hours before baking. Skim milk must be refrigerated to stay fresh. If you plan to begin the baking cycle immediately, you can substitute skim milk for milk powder. But if you will use the delayed baking cycle, it is safest to use powdered milk.
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