I will be making the Momofuku Pork Belly Buns tomorrow. http://www.epicurious.com...

The bun recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons nonfat dried milk. Is it a crucial ingredient, or can I use some milk in place of some water?

I've seen other bread recipes that call for dried milk. What does it do?

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15 Comments

hardlikearmour February 4, 2011
lol...i meant "there", sheesh, i must be more tired than i realize!
 
hardlikearmour February 4, 2011
I just finished making a couple of batches of caramels I could bring, too..... though I'm sure the weather here beats the weather their by a mile. Picture from my lawn taken today:
Answer image
 
mrslarkin February 3, 2011
sure! come on over! you bring the pickled prunes.
 
hardlikearmour February 3, 2011
Can I come to dinner, mrslarkin?
 
mrslarkin February 3, 2011
Thanks, everyone, for your comments! I skipped the nonfat dried milk and replaced some of the water with skim milk. Also, I weighed the 3.5 cups flour (I used AP) instead of spooning it into measuring cups. The buns were really fun to make. I steamed the buns in my rice cooker for 5 minutes, about 5 buns at a time.

I served the buns with pickled veggies that I made from melissav's finalist recipe today.

Here's a pic:
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AntoniaJames February 3, 2011
Great, interesting, informative (as usual) answer, betteirene!! You've forgotten more about baking than I'll ever know. ;o)
 
betteirene February 3, 2011
Dry (powdered) milk is sometimes used as a dough enhancer. Used in a ratio of 1 tablespoon dry milk to 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of flour, it can help with browning, moisture retention, boosting flavor and adding nutritional value without thinning or diluting the batter or dough.

In this recipe for buns, the dough gets quite a workout from all the kneading and shaping, which leads to the formation of a lot of gluten. I think the dry milk here is lowering the protein content of the flour, and is also acting as a dough relaxant: You are substituting the milk powder, which does not form gluten, for some of the flour, which does make gluten. It allows you to shape dough without it getting way too elastic, forcing you to let it rest for 10 minutes between every shaping. The result will be buns that are softer, more tender and less chewy.

Try it the next time you make cinnamon rolls or sticky buns or scones : D and see if you notice a difference in texture. You can use cornstarch the same way (1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of flour).
 
hardlikearmour February 3, 2011
"limited experience" LOL, AJ.
 
AntoniaJames February 3, 2011
I've heard that professional bakers, chefs, etc. use dried milk simply because it is much easier, and more cost effective, than regular milk, and that and using dried v. regular milk makes no difference in the outcome. Using dairy, either way, does make for a crust that browns better and a nicer crumb, in my limited experience. ;o)
 
hardlikearmour February 3, 2011
mrslarkin, the chef from momofuku made these on martha stewart at one time. the recipe there is different, and doesn't use the dried milk. http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/buns
 
amysarah February 2, 2011
Actually, a long time ago I posed the same question but it was in reference to Momofuku's Crack Pie (it's still listed on the right, in the 'Popular Pickles' window.) For what it's worth, I wound up not using the powdered milk - for some reason I could only find it in giant size boxes - and the recipe worked just fine. (I've had the pie at the restaurant, so know what it's meat to taste like.) Maybe a difference would have been noticeable had we done a side-by-side taste test...who knows?

Of course, the buns are an entirely different recipe from the pie, so I'm not saying this will hold true there too. Maybe it's more essential there. Just thought I should follow up.
 
lifestooshort February 2, 2011
This is just a guess, but a lot of older bread recipes that call for milk instruct you to scald it. Maybe powdered milk gives the properties of liquid milk without the extra scalding step. I also think I remember reading somewhere that milk helps with texture and browning.
 
phyllis February 2, 2011
This question has already come up on foodpickle. You can search for it.
 
nutcakes February 2, 2011
You have to scroll down the blog to find the post on this topic.
 
nutcakes February 2, 2011
That's an interesting question, and an even more interesting recipe. I think 2 Tbsp of powdered milk is equal to about 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh milk. But I have to assume he specifies the powdered for a reason. I would go buy the powdered because I would want it to come out perfectly. Such a fun and ambitious project, are you doing it for something special?

okay, now I have read the comment section. Many had trouble with the buns and it seems D. Chang has different versions of the buns. See if you can make sense of this blog post about it.
http://www.kitchensidecar.com/search?updated-max=2010-03-16T21%3A56%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7
 
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