Found a recipe in an old cookbook calling for rich milk. My best guess is that this means whole milk, but that seems like the standard back then (and I've never seen skim milk noted in old recipes) so can anyone confirm?
I thought rich milk was condensed milk when perusing recipes from cookbooks from the 50's.
Years ago when milk was delivered the top two inches of it was cream ....the bottles were shaken before use !
Yes, in unhomogenized whole milk the butterfat tends to rise to the top, forming a layer of cream. If you don't shake the container to redistribute the fat, the milk at the top of the bottle is richer in fat than the stuff below.
Hence "rich milk" or "top milk" (another term you sometimes see in old recipes). You can approximate it for baking by adding light cream to homogenized whole milk, 50/50 or so.
You used to see (not so long ago) extra rich milk sold pretty commonly- it was whole milk fortified with milk solids (not butterfat).
My guess is whole milk, but the good stuff. Ronnybrook makes a creamline non-homogenized milk and it's insanely delicious. I love to use it in my baked goods.
I used to be able to buy "Extra Rich Milk" by the quart some years ago. It had more fat in it than whole milk, but not as much fat as Half-and-Half.
I would suggest using half and half.