Got (filled) milk?
November 21, 2007 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Have I ruined Thanksgiving? I was shopping for pie ingredients yesterday and picked up a few cans of evaporated filled milk.

...instead of just regular evaporated milk. If I can't make it back to the store to get the real thing, how noticeable will it be in the pumpkin pies? Apparently they take out the whole milk and add vegetable fat of some kind to make it cheaper and stuff - will it be the same difference as baking with butter (mmmmmm!) and margarine (meh)?
posted by ferociouskitty to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're in the US (which you seem to be), it might just be called "filled" rather than actually *being* filled milk. See, I came across this FDA document that says actual filled milk is illegal in the US, as it's a fraud.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:10 AM on November 21, 2007

This document says that according to the Filled Milk Act, it is illegal to ship filled milk interstate, but it is legal to produce it in 39 states. (At time of writing, 1969.) It also says that "The limiting factor in greater public acceptance of filled milk ... has been the palatability of the products."

I don't get the fraud thing. If it's labeled as "filled" who is being defrauded? The above document makes it sound like it's the dairy farmers who are being protected (financially, by not allowing non-dairy fats to fill the milk).

How far do you live from the store? This is one of those instances where, rather than worry about it, I'd just make a run and get the correct ingredient. But I don't have actual filled milk experience. Or baking experience (so I don't know if the different kinds of fat bake differently, etc).
posted by iguanapolitico at 5:34 AM on November 21, 2007

Different kinds of fat do bake differently, but I don't know exactly what this substitution will do to your pie because I have no experience with filled milk. It might not taste as rich, what with the whole milk being replaced with vegetable fat.

I vote for going back to the store if you can.
posted by cooker girl at 5:47 AM on November 21, 2007

I've never heard of "filled" milk (perhaps I live in one of the states where it's not legal), but, based on the description, I would return it and get the regular kind. It does seem as if the flavor might be different.

In a pinch, though, you can make a very very good pumpkin pie with just regular milk, not even evaporated. (That's my grandma's recipe, and it's tasty.) Evaporated milk is one method, but it's not the only way. Let me know if you need the recipe.
posted by litlnemo at 6:14 AM on November 21, 2007

ferociouskitty: Apparently they take out the whole milk and add vegetable fat of some kind to make it cheaper and stuff - will it be the same difference as baking with butter (mmmmmm!) and margarine (meh)?

They generally add vegetable oil to make filled milk. Which means it'll be more like margarine. (But it's very, very hard to tell the difference in a pie.)

Also, it won't be like the difference between margarine and butter. It'll be like adding a bunch of vegetable oil. So if the recipe calls for butter or margarine or oil of any kind, you can just put in less of the oil and more of the milk.
posted by koeselitz at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2007

Also, vegetable oil cooks better than any other oil, generally, so you shouldn't worry about it being a problem. Unless, that is, there was no butter, margarine, or vegetable oil in the recipe to begin with.
posted by koeselitz at 8:30 AM on November 21, 2007

I have not idea what "filled" milk is, but I have substituted the following milk products for each other in pie, cake, cookie, and even creamed sauce or soup recipes:

sour cream for buttermilk
milk and extra shortening for buttermilk
buttermilk for sour cream
plain yogurt, thinned with water, for milk
yogurt for sour cream
sour cream for yogurt

Probably the flavor and texture are different, but unless you eat them side by side with the correct version, who's gonna know? I use the logic that I need a milk product of a certain consistency and try to duplicate that with ingredients on hand. Probably the foodies in here are holding their heads in their hands and weeping, but I never seem to have what I need, so I'm always improvising (full disclosure-- I tend to be a better main course than dessert maker. There's probably a reason for that.)
posted by nax at 11:29 AM on November 21, 2007

Regarding nax's comment: I had no idea what filled milk was, either. :) I also have a great friend who is an excellent cook and he has no problem substituting dairy products for one another. I think a lot of good cooks would agree with you.

It was when I googled "filled milk" that I learned that its own fat is removed and it is literally "filled" with vegetable fats. So my only concern, being a totally uninformed and crappy cook, is whether filled milk is really akin to true "dairy" milk. Is the consistency the same, does it react the same to temperatures, etc. I may be overthinking this. We were all hoping that some mefite would know these answers, and more. :)

And I sooo wanted to find an opportunity to assure the OP that there is no use crying over filled milk, but alas, the opportunity did not present itself.
posted by iguanapolitico at 12:32 PM on November 21, 2007

Lordy. Don't I have work to do?

This page offers up advice stating that filled milk can be used interchangeably with regular milk. Search for "filled milk" on the page; it occurs several times.

I imagine you already took our advice to get new evaporated milk; oh well. There really IS no use crying over filled milk!
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:34 PM on November 21, 2007

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