Lactose vs Milk Permeate Powders in Industrial Kitchen Settings

To the average person, the recipes used in large-scale industrial cooking settings might seem strange and unfamiliar. But every good food scientist knows that appealing to today’s consumers requires modern product formulations to meet several challenging criteria, blending traditional cooking techniques and advanced food science. Taste must remain consistent across the board, no matter how many thousands of products the kitchen creates; in many cases, those products must stay good on the shelf for a reasonable period. At the same time, there are nutritional concerns to watch over, all while balancing the books to keep every product centered on the right price point.

Lactose derived from milk products is one of the most common ingredients in industrial cooking, particularly in baking and confectionery thanks to the many roles it can fulfill. However, a cost-effective alternative such as milk permeate powder (MPP) could have a vital role to play, too. What is there to know about this product, and can it act as a wholesale replacement for pure lactose in certain processes?

What is MPP, or Milk Permeate Powder?

MPP is the result of a physical refinement method known as ultrafiltration. By forcing fresh skimmed milk through a very fine filter under high pressure, it is possible to extract whole milk proteins for the creation of milk protein concentrates, also known as MPC. The co-product of this process is a liquid with much of the milk proteins removed, but a great deal of remaining lactose. By taking this leftover liquid and drying it into a powder as well, we create MPP. Since the lactose is too small for ultrafiltration to catch, MPPs have a lactose content no lower than 75%, and typically 80% or higher.

MPP also contains a small amount of protein (roughly 3%), some milk minerals, and a trace amount of fat. The natural milk mineral content of MPP is a unique attribute that separates it from pure lactose products. While there are some challenges to note in formulating products using MPP due to the presence of these minerals, they can also prove to be beneficial in some cases.

The Role of Lactose in Industrial Cooking

Why is a reliable source of lactose so important for large-scale cooking? While whole dairy products may go into a product’s formulation, lactose has a different role to play in targeting specific effects. For example, bakeries are among the largest users of isolated lactose because of the many positive properties it can impart to products during the cooking process.

One of these effects is the way lactose contributes to robust Maillard browning. The Maillard reaction is one of the most important effects in cooking, not only responsible for creating a visually appealing “golden brown” color, but also for imparting richer flavors and caramelized notes. Added lactose may also contribute to keeping the product fluffy and moist for some time after cooking. In confectionery, manufacturers use lactose to control the way sugars crystallize, offering greater control over a traditionally challenging process. With a range of other uses, it’s not hard to see why so many operations choose to incorporate isolated lactose as a part of their ingredients list.

The Benefits of MPP Usage in Industrial Kitchens

What are the reasons for choosing MPP? Cost-effectiveness may be one reason, but there are functional considerations, too. Can MPP achieve the same effects as traditional lactose options? The answer is a clear “yes.” Milk permeate powder promotes similarly excellent Maillard browning when compared to regular lactose, while continuing to deliver the flavor profile that consumers look for in baked products. MPP helps to maintain pleasing tastes in products while providing options for bulking up formulations as a natural filler.

The mineral content of MPP can prove challenging to some emulsions and stabilization schemes, and care should be taken to formulate products to nullify these effects where necessary. However, the mineral content can lend a salty note to products when desired — allowing for the elimination of added sodium chloride. Reducing the amount of salt necessary not only has implications for cost-effectiveness, but it may also integrate well with a nutritional strategy to produce lower-sodium products. With a wide range of potential benefits, MPP is more than an adequate substitute for regular lactose.

Learn More About High-Quality MPP Production

Idaho Milk Products, an innovator in the world of high-quality products derived from fresh, pure milk, has developed a milk permeate powder of exceptional value for large-scale cooking operations. With a minimum lactose content of 80% and an average content reading of 85% lactose, this Grade-A MPP has the ideal flavor profile desired in baking and pastry applications. As a low moisture product, IdaPro MPP will not significantly impact formulations outside of the constraints already discussed above.

To learn more about IdaPro MPP, or to explore more information about the benefits of MPP in these settings, contact us today.