For many bread bakers, dry milk is an essential ingredient used to replace the expensive cartons of milk found in the dairy aisle of the grocery store. The reconstituted dry milk has no effect on the flavor of the bread and ensures that no regular milk goes to waste in a home that drinks little to no milk.
Storage of dry milk can be a problem for people looking to stock up on it for emergency purposes. The boxes of dry milk that are found in the grocery store typically have a shelf life of 1 to 2 years when kept in ideal conditions. However, it’s best to keep boxed dry milk in constant rotation.
The biggest enemies of dry milk are sunlight, warm temperatures, oxygen, moisture, and insects and rodents. To combat these problems, some people store their boxed dry milk in clean, food grade plastic containers to keep out rodents, bugs, and moisture. These containers are then stored in the coolest, driest place the home has to offer.
Do not store boxes of dry milk in garbage bags. In the past, food storage books would suggest storing basic food supplies in metal trash cans, lined with a garbage bag. Garbage bags are often treated with insecticides and the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the food.
When a box of dry milk is open, store the dry milk in a plastic container and keep it in the coolest place in your kitchen or pantry. For best results, store the opened dry milk in your refrigerator.
For long-term storage of dry milk, many emergency preparedness catalogs sell instant nonfat dry milk in #10 cans and in food grade plastic pails. When kept at temperatures of 70 degrees F or colder, these unopened containers of dry milk can last for up to 20 years, and are ideal for people wanting a long-term solution for storing dry milk.