51 Introduction to Dairy Products

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and describe milk and dairy products used in the food service industry
  • Describe the production of milk and dairy products
  • Describe the function of milk and dairy products in baking

Milk and milk products are some of our oldest and best-known natural foods. In baking, milk is used fresh, condensed, powdered, skimmed, or whole. The great bulk, weight, and perishability of fresh milk plus the expense of refrigeration makes it a relatively high-cost ingredient, and for this reason, most modern bakeries use non-fat powdered milk or buttermilk powder.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a trend to lower fat content in dairy products. This reflects the high caloric value of milk fat, and also is compatible with the trend to leaner, healthier nutrition. These “low-fat” products often have the fat replaced with sugars, so care must be taking in substituting these ingredients in a recipe. For bakers, this trend has not meant any great changes in formulas: a 35% milk fat or a 15% cream cheese product usually works equally well in a cheesecake. Some pastry chefs find lowering the richness in pastries and plated desserts can make them more enjoyable, especially after a large meal.

Table 15 provides the nutritional properties of milk products.


Whole Milk

(3.5% milk fat)

Skim Milk

(0.1% milk fat)

Coffee Cream

(18% milk fat)

Heavy or Whipping Cream

(36% milk fat)

Protein 3.22 g 3.37 g 3 g 2 g
Fat 3.25 g 0.08 g 19 g 37 g
Cholesterol 10 mg 2 mg 66 mg 137 mg
Potassium 143 mg 156 mg 122 mg 75 mg
Calcium 113 mg 125 mg 96 mg 65 mg
Magnesium 10 mg 11 mg 9 mg 7 mg
Sodium 40 mg 42 mg 40 mg 40 mg
Vitamin A (IU) 102 IU 204 IU 656 IU 1470 IU

Table 15 Nutritional properties of milk products (per 100 g)

Note: Besides the elements shown in Table 15, all dairy products contain vitamin B-complex.

IU = International Units, a term used in nutritional measurement


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