A faster way to make freeze distilled milk

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Mike-R
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#1: Post by Mike-R »

If you haven't heard of freeze distilled milk, do a quick Google search. It's used by some competitors at barista competitions. It's not super popular, but a lot of people are trying it.

Today I thought I'd give it a try. I did a Google search to see how people are making the freeze distilled milk. It seems that all the sources I could find recommend the same procedure: freeze the milk overnight then thaw with the container upside down over a pot. Since the milk concentrate melts at a lower temperature than the ice crystals, the milk concentrate slowly drips into the pot leaving the ice crystals behind.

This is very inefficient. The milk concentrate does not need to be frozen and then thawed. It's an unnecessary round trip.

After the milk has been in the freezer for a couple of hours, the ice crystals will have frozen but the milk concentrate will still be liquid. This is the perfect time to take the milk out of the freezer and simply drain it. No thawing required.

I did this today and it worked very well.

I have a few ideas about how to speed up the draining, which I will explain later in replies to this post.

Mike-R (original poster)
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#2: Post by Mike-R (original poster) »

This morning I used the milk concentrate that I made yesterday from freeze distillation. It definitely tasted different than straight milk. For me, it was a bit too thick and creamy.

It was fun to try but after weighing the benefit against the extra fat and calories, I probably won't be trying this again soon.

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bostonbuzz
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#3: Post by bostonbuzz »

How is the result different from condensed milk or heavy cream or any other dairy product? Is it unique in some good way?

I can see doing a breve with half and half or heavy cream and skipping breakfast altogether.
LMWDP #353

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another_jim
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#4: Post by another_jim »

Thanks for the instructions.

Over the years, baristas have tried various ways of upping the milk and cream concentration in cappas, everything from Jersey cows to spiking with half and half or unsweetened condensed milk. This is no different than using enriched milks as creamers in regular coffee, e.g. the use fo condensed milk in SE Asian coffee recipes.

So for those who do enjoy the extra dollop, these instructions are neat alternative to buying extra types of dairy product.
Jim Schulman

Mike-R (original poster)
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#5: Post by Mike-R (original poster) »

In case someone wants to try this, here was my idea to speed the draining of milk concentrate from the ice. I haven't tried this, but I'm pretty sure it will work.

Only try this if you have a quart/liter container that you trust not to accidentally open and spray milk all over your kitchen.

Take the partially frozen milk and hold the quart/liter container by the bottom. Swing your arm in a circle (windmill motion) to create a poor man's centrifuge. Since the milk concentrate is heavier than the ice, it should cause the milk concentrate to go away from your hand and the ice crystals to float on top.

After enough rotations (perhaps 10 to 20 times?), finish with your arm hanging at your side. From this point onward, keep the container upside down to avoid remixing the milk concentrate into the ice crystals.

Open the container over a pot and let the milk drain out. It may come out rapidly in the beginning, so take care when opening.

Depending on the size of the opening in your container, you may be some ice coming out as well. If so, you can drain over a mesh strainer to catch the ice.

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another_jim
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#6: Post by another_jim »

That sounds very athletic. How about just dropping the slurry into a strainer and waiting? Doing it in a fridge will prevent the ice from melting.
Jim Schulman

Mike-R (original poster)
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#7: Post by Mike-R (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies.

Regarding the slight differences between freeze distilled milk and alternatives you can buy in the grocery store...

Sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk both use high temperature processes to concentrate the milk, so the result is something like concentrated UHT milk. So the idea behind freeze distilled milk is to get a sufficiently concentrated milk without heating to a point where the milk sugars break down. The claim is that milk sugars creates at milk steaming temperatures are more complex and tasty than simple sugars that need to be added to UHT milk.

High cream milk has extra fat, but not extra milk solids and milk sugars. So there is a slight difference in taste.

jpender
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#8: Post by jpender »

bostonbuzz wrote:How is the result different from condensed milk or heavy cream or any other dairy product? Is it unique in some good way?
Cream and half/half have a lot more fat than milk with some of the water removed. Condensed milk has a lot of added sucrose. Evaporated milk is water reduced but involves heat so the character is changed as compared to freeze distillation.

Supposedly whole milk with less water works better for coffee but I've never tried it.

Mike-R (original poster)
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#9: Post by Mike-R (original poster) »

another_jim wrote:That sounds very athletic. How about just dropping the slurry into a strainer and waiting? Doing it in a fridge will prevent the ice from melting.
This is optional step and only if you want to speed the draining to be even faster. For example if you don't have space in your refrigerator.

EDIT: Sorry, I missed your point about the strainer. Yes, using a stainer over a bowl is actually how I did it. It's more of a slush than a slurry, so I had to cut the top off my milk container to get it out. And it drained very slowly so it would be necessary to keep it in the fridge.

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SteveRhinehart
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#10: Post by SteveRhinehart »

Another similar technique was utilized by Anthony Douglas, where he freeze-dried milk to add back to liquid milk and bulk its fat and sugar content. That's much more expensive and intensive to DIY than simple freeze distillation, so perhaps trying out some store-bought dry whole milk powder would satisfy the curiosity.