Food Storage

How to Freeze Dried milk? – A Friendly Guide

Freeze dried milk, also known as lyophilization, is a process of removing water from a substance by freezing it and then reducing the pressure to a point where the ice sublimates, or changes directly from a solid to a gas. This process is often used to preserve food, as it allows the food to retain its nutritional value and structure.

To freeze dried milk, you will need the following equipment:

  • A freeze dryer
  • Trays or containers for the milk
  • A vacuum pump
  • A condenser
  • A heat source

Milk Preservation Methods

Here’s a table summarizing the various methods for preserving milk, along with their pros and cons:

Milk Preservation MethodProsCons
Pasteurization– Kills most harmful bacteria– Does not kill all bacteria, so milk still needs to be refrigerated
Sterilization– Kills all bacteria, so milk can be stored at room temperature– Changes the taste and texture of milk significantly
Ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment– Kills all bacteria, so milk can be stored at room temperature– Changes the taste and texture of milk slightly
Drying– Extends the shelf life of milk significantly– Changes the taste and texture of milk significantly
Freezing– Extends the shelf life of milk significantly– Does not change the taste and texture of milk significantly

Freeze Dried Milk vs. Powdered Milk:

Production Methods

Freeze dried milk is produced by first freezing the milk and then reducing the pressure in a vacuum chamber. This causes the ice crystals to sublimate, or turn directly from a solid to a gas. The milk is then ground into a powder.

Powdered milk is produced by spraying the milk into a hot chamber, which causes the water to evaporate. The milk solids are then collected and ground into a powder.

Nutritional Attributes

Both freeze dried milk and powdered milk are good sources of protein and calcium. However, freeze dried milk is higher in vitamin D and lactose than powdered milk.

NutrientFreeze Dried MilkPowdered Milk
Vitamin DMediumLow

Flavor Profiles

  • Freeze dried milk has a creamy and slightly sweet flavor. Powdered milk has a more cooked flavor than freeze-dried milk.

Shelf Life

  • Freeze dried milk has a shelf life of up to 25 years when stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. Powdered milk has a shelf life of up to 2 years when stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.


  • Freeze dried milk is a more nutritious and flavorful product than powdered milk. However, it is also more expensive. Powdered milk is a good option if you are looking for a more affordable and shelf-stable product.

Which one to choose?

The best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a nutritious and flavorful product with a long shelf life, freeze dried milk is a good option. If you are looking for a more affordable and shelf-stable product, powdered milk is a good option.

Choosing for Freeze Dr
ied Milk:

When choosing milk for freeze dried milk, consider the following factors:

  • Type of milk: Whole milk will produce a creamier freeze-dried milk powder.
  • Quality of milk: Choose pasteurized milk.
  • Fat content: Whole milk will produce a creamier powder, while skim milk will produce a more powdery powder.
  • Lactose content: If you are lactose intolerant, choose lactose-free milk.
  • Added ingredients: Avoid milk with added ingredients.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Avoid milk that is past its expiration date.
  • Choose milk that is stored in a cool, dark place.
  • If you are using skim milk, make sure that it is non-fat or low-fat.

By following these tips, you can choose the best milk for freeze-drying.

Freeze Dried Milk Yield and Influencing Factors

Freeze dried milk yield is the amount of freeze dried milk powder that is produced from a given amount of fresh milk. It can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of milk, quality of milk, freeze dryer, freeze-drying conditions, freezing method, grinding method, and packaging.

The typical freeze dried milk yield for whole milk is around 10-15% of the original volume of milk. This means that 1 liter of whole milk will typically produce around 100-150 grams of freeze-dried milk powder.

To maximize freeze dried milk yield, it is important to use high-quality milk and optimal freeze-drying conditions. It is also important to freeze the milk quickly and grind it into a fine powder. Finally, it is important to package the freeze-dried milk in airtight containers.

Time and Temperature

Freeze-drying milk requires precise time and temperature control:

  • Freeze-drying times vary based on batch size and equipment efficiency.
  • Temperatures start low for freezing, then rise gradually for sublimation.
  • Desired outcomes (long-term storage vs. instant use) dictate specific settings.
  • Equipment capabilities, from commercial to home-scale, affect control.
  • Continuous monitoring and adjustments ensure quality.

Reconstituting Freeze Dried Milk:

  1. Measure the powder.
  2. Boil water, then cool slightly.
  3. Gradually add powder to hot water while stirring.
  4. Mix until smooth.
  5. Let it rest for a few minutes to settle.
  6. Use or store in the refrigerator.


  • Start with hot, not boiling, water.
  • Add powder gradually while stirring.
  • Allow the mixture to rest for better texture.
  • Adjust the water-to-powder ratio as needed.
  • Use promptly for the best taste and texture.
Source: Live.Life.Simple. yt channel

Characteristics of Freeze Dried Milk:

CharacteristicFreeze-Dried MilkFresh Milk
AppearanceRegains similar texture and flavor, with slight mouthfeel variationLiquid, creamy white
TexturePowdery, lightweight, dissolves easilyLiquid, smooth, slight viscosity
AromaMild, subtle sweet, dairy scentPronounced dairy aroma, varies
FlavorMild, slightly sweet, creamyRobust and distinct dairy flavor
RehydrationRegains similar texture and flavor, slight mouthfeel variationMaintains original texture and flavor
Variations Based on Milk SourceFlavor and aroma may vary depending on the sourceFlavor and aroma vary by source and factors such as fat content, breed, and diet

Troubleshooting Common Freeze Drying Issues

When freeze-drying milk, several issues may arise. Here’s troubleshooting guidance for common problems like clumping, flavor deviations, and moisture retention:

1. Clumping:

  • Issue: Clumps or lumps in freeze-dried milk powder.
  • Solution:
    • Ensure the milk powder is properly homogenized before freeze-drying to prevent clumps.
    • Use a finer mesh sieve to sift the freeze-dried milk powder to remove any existing clumps.
    • Adjust the temperature and vacuum settings during freeze-drying to minimize moisture retention, which can cause clumping.

2. Flavor Deviations:

  • Issue: Freeze-dried milk with off-flavors or undesirable taste.
  • Solution:
    • Use fresh milk of high quality and good flavor as the starting material.
    • Properly clean and maintain all equipment to avoid contamination.
    • Monitor the temperature and processing time during freeze-drying to prevent overheating, which can lead to flavor changes.
    • Store the freeze-dried milk in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to preserve flavor.

3. Moisture Retention:

  • Issue: Excessive moisture in freeze-dried milk, resulting in a less powdery texture.
  • Solution:
    • Ensure proper freezing of milk before starting the freeze-drying process.
    • Adjust the freeze-drying time and temperature settings to allow for thorough sublimation of moisture.
    • Use a vacuum pump with adequate capacity to maintain low pressure in the chamber.
    • Store freeze-dried milk in moisture-resistant packaging to prevent moisture absorption.

4. Uneven Freeze-Drying:

  • Issue: Inconsistent texture or moisture content within the freeze-dried milk.
  • Solution:
    • Distribute the milk evenly on freeze-drying trays to ensure uniform drying.
    • Check for any obstructions or airflow issues in the freeze-drying chamber.
    • Rotate or rearrange trays during the process to promote even drying.

5. Color Changes:

  • Issue: Undesirable color changes in the freeze-dried milk.
  • Solution:
    • Use milk with minimal exposure to light and heat before freeze-drying.
    • Prevent prolonged exposure to oxygen during the process by sealing containers properly.
    • Consider using light-protective packaging for storage.

By addressing these common issues and implementing the suggested solutions, you can enhance the quality and consistency of your freeze-dried milk production.

Freeze Drying Non Dairy Milk Alternatives:

  • Almond Milk: Suitable for freeze-drying, retains a mild nutty flavor, and reconstitutes with a smooth texture.
  • Coconut Milk: Freeze-dries effectively, preserves a rich coconut taste, and reconstitutes with a creamy consistency.
  • Both alternatives offer convenience and extended shelf life, making them valuable options for various culinary uses, though they may have slight taste and texture differences compared to dairy milk.

Resources :

1: Can you freeze dry milk at home?

Yes, it’s possible to freeze-dry milk at home, but it requires specialized equipment and can be a time-consuming and complex process. Most people find it more convenient to purchase commercially freeze-dried milk.

2: Why shouldn’t you freeze milk?

You can freeze milk, but it may change in texture and should be used within 1-3 months. Ensure proper container space for expansion and gentle stirring upon thawing.

3: Can you freeze milk and use it months later?

Yes, you can freeze milk and use it months later. However, it’s important to follow proper freezing and thawing techniques to maintain its quality. Freeze milk in a suitable container, leave some room for expansion, and use it within 1-3 months for the best results. Thaw gently in the refrigerator and shake or stir to recombine any separated components before using.

4: What is the best way to freeze milk?

The best way to freeze milk is to:
1. Use airtight, freezer-safe containers.
2. Leave space at the top for expansion.
3. Label and date the containers.
4. Cool the milk in the fridge first.
5. Use within 1-3 months for optimal quality.

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