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I have a recipe that calls for evaporated milk. How can I make "Evaporated Milk" (from raw milk), or a reasonable substitute for the canned evaporated milk found at the supermarket?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Very easy. All you want to do is to remove the water through heating. As you are not going to can it, you don't have to sterilize it afterwards.

The only concern when evaporating milk is to not end with a layer of scorched milk solids on the bottom. First, start with homogenized milk (you don't want to risk undissolved fat swimming on top of it). If you want the pure milk flavor, heat it to 70°C and wait until you are left with half the initial volume. This takes several hours, depending on the quantity of the milk. My great-grandma usually did it overnight.

If you don't mind a "scorched" taste, you can do it much quicker. Take a very big pot. It should be at least 6-7 times higher than the milk depth, because the boiling milk will foam up a lot. The width is up to you, but the wider the pot, the quicker it will go. Bring the milk to a vigorous boil. Use a setting which is just hot enough to sustain boiling, too much heat will increase the scorching. Stir all the time. You need maybe 10 minutes of stirring, again depending on quantity of the milk and pot width. You are aiming for the same rate of evaporation - you should be left with half the original volume, or somewhat less.

You don't have to add sugar to evaporated milk, the sweet taste is caused by the heating. Especially the boiling-evaporated milk is quite sweet, because you get some caramelization.

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Thanks for the detailed answer. I don't have access to raw homogenized milk... Is there any way I can reduce the risk of "undissolved fat swimming on top of it?" If not, what is the risk here? Just an uneven consistency when I'm done? – Flimzy Oct 20 '11 at 11:30
The milk doesn't have to be raw, it can be pasteurized or ESL. I don't know if UHT will work. Practically all milk in the regular supermarket is homogenized. If you buy milk from an organic market, it can be non-homogenized. The risk is indeed bad consistency. If you have a cow and want to use its raw milk, you have to do it with very fresh milk, before the fat has separated. You can also skim the separated fat off the milk before you heat it, but you will end up with milk with a lower fat content, and for an application where you need evaporated milk, it is preferable to have higher fat. – rumtscho Oct 20 '11 at 11:39
I realize it doesn't have to be raw, but I'm trying to use a large quantity of raw milk I have available. If I was going to buy pasteurized milk for this, I'd probably just buy canned evaporated milk anyway. Thanks for the additional clarification. :) – Flimzy Oct 20 '11 at 11:41
You can also do this with soy milke, and I assume other non-dairy milks. I have done it to make pareve pumpkin pies, and it turned out perfect with soymilk. – Manako Oct 20 '11 at 15:37
Keep in mind that in Canada, we use the term Homogenized to mean whole milk. In common parlance, there is Skim, 2% and Homo. (although they are all homogenized in the technical sense), and yes, milk comes in bags. – Chris Cudmore May 8 '12 at 15:33

Thanks we are doing it..We split it..We didn't have to leave the milk out..It saved me a another trip to the store.. Everyone have a great Thanks Giving..My grandmother did this a long time ago..I just needed a little refreshment on a few things..

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Please don't add "thank you" as an answer. Once you have sufficient reputation, you will be able to vote up questions and answers that you found helpful. - From Review – Divi 1 hour ago

I've heard that some people simply put milk on a large pan or container and leave it there for some hours to naturally evaporate without heating it up or anything. Did anyone here try that before?

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This will most likely get closed, as you didn't use the ask question. And there's a good chance that people who have tried it wouldn't be around to answer the question, as room temperature milk for hours is a major risk for bacterial growth (and not necessarily the good kind if you didn't heat to sterilize, and then inoculate it with the one you want, like in cheese or yogurt making) – Joe Oct 28 at 0:19
On second thought ... I guess you did answer it by second-hand knowledge ... but I'm still going to say this would be a very, very risky idea. – Joe Oct 28 at 0:20
Did anyone here try that before? -- Yes. The result is usually called farmer cheese or simply "sour milk", depending on the bacteria present during the process. – Flimzy Oct 28 at 18:56
I'm very sorry. The video I watched mentioned this so quietly and quickly I couldn't hear and didn't realize that they said that. Anyway, I tried simmering the milk, but the milk turned into odd, spongy solids, and I left it out too long. Whoops! – Grace Nov 21 at 6:08

You know a very easy way is to just get a pot pour the milk in it and boil it for at least 0 minutes and there you go. Straight and simple.

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Boil it for at least 0 minutes? I assume that is a typo. – Jay May 8 '12 at 15:59
10 minutes is likely meant for the typo 0 minutes lol – user20981 Oct 29 '13 at 18:57
@shane Unless they meant 20, or 30... – Jefromi Oct 29 '13 at 20:17
This answer should be deleted as the OP hasn't returned in over a year and as it stands "0 minutes" is clearly not what should be there... – Rob Oct 31 '13 at 8:47

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