Buttermilk Powder

In the process of butter production, cream is churned to produce butter which is a water-in-oil emulsion. The watery substance released as a result of churning cream is called buttermilk. It is a mixture consisting of protein, residual fat, minerals and lactose in water. It is used in liquid, as well as dried form, in a number of different recipes. The process of dehydration used to produce buttermilk powder is same as the one used to produce skim milk powder.

Butter Milk Powder Production – The Process

Buttermilk is a by-product produced as a result of churning of butter. Buttermilk is composed of about 9% solids and is evaporated and spray-dried to produce buttermilk. The resulting powder does not exceed 4% moisture content, and 4.5% fat content.

During the process of butter milk production, butter milk is first pasteurized and then concentrated using an evaporator and finally spray dried or roller dried to produce butter milk powder. The powder is rich in protein and low in fat. It also serves as a good source of vitamin B12, phosphorus, riboflavin, and calcium.

Manufacturing Requirements

The powder must be produced in accordance with accepted standards of GMP. Products are manufactured under strict quality assurance procedures that are enforced at all times. All manufacturing plants follow rules and regulations of the U.S Food and Drug Administration or the FDA, the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture or CDFA. To ensure product safety and quality, precautionary measures are taken during manufacture, storage, and distribution.

How Does the Powder Look Like?

The cream colored powder has a strong dairy flavor. Spray dried powders are more soluble compared to roller dried powders. The protein composition of the powder is similar to skim milk powder with some additional fat content. This is mainly due to the presence of small droplets of fat that are lost to the buttermilk during the production of butter.

Buttermilk powder usually contains an expiration date of six to nine months from the date of production. The powder is vulnerable to oxidation because of fat content that can produce off-flavor. Nevertheless, by storing the powder away from light and metals, oxidation, a chemical reaction that may shorten the life of the product, can be prevented.

Sensory Standards

Flavor Clean, sweet, bland
Odor Fresh dairy odor, no off-odors
Color Light Cream
Appearance Powder, free of lumps


Physical and Compositional Standard

Typical physical and compositional standard of buttermilk powder is as follows:

Lactose 51% typical
Butterfat 4.5% minimum
Moisture Content 4.0% minimum
Protein 33.4% approximately
Titratable Acidity (1gm in 10 mls) 0.18% as lactic acid maximum
Solubility Index 1.25 ml maximum
Ash 7.4% w/w
Bulk Density 0.5 gm/ml minimum
pH 6.3-6.8
Phosphatase Negative


Microbiological Standard

Typical Microbiological Standards of buttermilk powder are as follows:

Total Viable Count 20,000/gm maximum
Thermophiles at 55⁰C 5,000 /gm target, 15,000 maximum
Enterobacteriacae >10 /gm maximum
E.Coli Absent in 1 gm
Salmonella Absent in 25 grams
Coagulase +ve >10 /gm maximum
Yeasts 0/gm maximum
Moulds 10/gm maximum


Nutrient Composition

Typical composition of Buttermilk powder is as follows:

Typical Composition of Buttermilk Powder
Moisture  3%
Protein  34%
Fat  6%
Carbohydrate  49%
Ash  8%


Lipid Profile of Buttermilk Powder
(g/100g of powder)
Saturated fatty acids  3.60
Monounsaturated    fatty acids  1.67
fatty acids
Cholesterol  0.069



Vitamins and Minerals (mg/100g)

Sodium 517
Potassium  1592
Calcium  1184
Phosphorus  933
Magnesium  110
Zinc  4.02
Iron  0.30
Copper  0.111
Manganese  0.023
Selenium  0.020
Vitamin A  0.054
Thiamin  0.392
Riboflavin  1.579
Niacin  0.876
Vitamin B6  0.338
Folate  0.047
Vitamin B12  0.0038
Pantothenic Acid  3.170
Vitamin C 5.70
Vitamin E  0.40

Traceability and Labeling

Labels contain complete detail to provide full product traceability which includes: the name of the product, number of the manufacturing plant, lot number, bag number, sub-lot number, year and month of packaging, number of the storage silo and manufacturing dryer.

Handling and Storage

Kraft Paper Bags are typically used to package products. No metal fasteners or staples are used. The product is hygroscopic and can absorb odors; therefore, it is important to provide adequate protection to ensure quality and safety.

The product is recommended to be stored under 25⁰C with relative humidity of 65%. Make sure the storage environment is free of odors.  Stocks should be used in rotation preferably within 1 year of manufacture or as recommended by the expiration date labeled on the product.

Suggested Labeling Butter Milk Powder

Allergen labeling is a must. To learn more about the U.S Food Allergen Labeling Law click here. It is important to note that labeling regulations vary from one region to another. Therefore, check local regulations to determine the correct labeling of ingredients.

Quality Assurance

Strict quality control procedures are followed during product manufacture. The production environment is subject to strict control and monitoring. The finished product should be sampled and tested for chemical, sensory, and microbial benchmarks using internationally recognised procedures. During shipment and storage, precautionary measures are taken to ensure that product quality is maintained. Each package is identified, enabling trace back.

The Many Uses of Butter Milk Powder

  • Baked Goods The powder can be used in baked goods to improve flavor, texture and appearance of baked items as it helps in browning of baked goods and also incorporates air into the product.


  • Dry Mixes – the powder can also be used in the production of dry mixes such as biscuit mixes, waffles and pancakes.


  • Puddings, Sauces and Beverages – The powder is also used in certain sauces, beverages and puddings to increase the viscosity of the product. In these products, buttermilk functions to absorb water and increases the viscosity of the final product.


  • Coating for Snacks – Buttermilk powder is also sometimes used as a component in batter or breading and helps producing a desirable brown color upon heating.


  • Flavoring Agent in Chocolates – The powder can also be used to enhance the flavor and emulsifying properties of chocolates


Cheese Slices – The powder is also sometimes used in the production of spreads and cheese slices and contributes to the structure and flavor of the product.

The Manufacturing Specifications of Buttermilk Powder
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