About Dairy Products

Milk and milk products are used to provide moisture, flavor, and color, and to activate the leavening agents.


whipped cream
Whipped cream, one of our favorite dairy products.
  • Under U.S. law butter contains at least 80 percent milk fat
  • The remaining 20 percent is almost all water
  • European butter, plugras, has up to 4% more butterfat, giving the product a richer taste and smoother feel
  • The water content should be dispersed in fine droplets so butter looks dry
  • Consistency should be smooth so butter is easy to spread and melts readily on the tongue
  • Butter should have uniform color, be dense, and taste clean
  • Unsalted butter is more perishable than regular butter
  • The fat gives baked goods their distinctive flavor and tenderness
  • Read the recipe carefully to see whether it calls for salted or unsalted butter


  • Buttermilk is low-fat or skim milk to which a bacterial culture has been added
  • It is low in fat, thick, and creamy, with a mildly acidic taste
  • Sour milk, made from milk and lemon juice or vinegar, can be substituted for buttermilk

Evaporated Milk

  • Evaporated milk is milk that has had 60 percent of its water removed
  • It may be substituted for other milk products if you reconstitute it using 2 parts evaporated milk to 3 parts water (for example, 1/2 cup evaporated milk to 3/4 cup water)
  • It is sold in cans and can be stored at room temperature until opened
  • Do not use evaporated milk as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk


  • A mixture of milk and cream, half-and-half
  • Can be used instead of light cream in most recipes

Heavy Cream

  • Also called whipping cream
  • Contains between 30 and 49 percent fat
  • Can be beaten to form soft peaks that retain their shape
  • To speed up whipping, chill bowl and beaters

Light Cream

  • Also called table cream
  • Contains 10 to 30 percent fat
  • Fat content is not sufficient to allow whipping

Low-Fat Milk

  • Two types: 2 percent and 1 percent milk -- percentages refer to amount of fat left in the milk

Nonfat Dry Milk

  • Nonfat dry milk has both the fat and water removed
  • Mix nonfat milk powder with water according to package directions to form milk

Skim, Fat-Free, or Nonfat Milk

  • By U.S. law must contain less than 1/2 percent fat

Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • Sweetened condensed milk is milk that has had about 50 percent of its water removed and about 40 percent sugar added
  • Do not use as a substitute for other milks

Whole Milk

  • Whole milk is about 3 1/2 percent fat


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