I reading a new to me bread recipe it calls for a specific brand of nonfat dry milk powder (such as Alba). I wonder if there is a difference in brands/ makers or is there something special about this brand?? Is it just a suggestion OF a brand due to what is popular in the area where the recipe is from? I do so want to try the recipe for "Kindered's Milk Bread" and I don't want to mess it up. So.. I guess the question is .. stick with the brand name that is mentioned or use any good, non descript brand. Thank you ever so much with the help here..
There are some differences between powdered milk brands -- most significant is in if they have fat in them or not. Most powdered milk are non-fat, but there are a few such as Nido that contain fat in them.
Your recipe specifically says nonfat powdered milk, so it significantly reduces the differences. There might be some variety because of how they're produced (vaccuum only, vaccuum plus mild heat to dry it) or what the source of the non-fat was (eg, if it came from butter-making).
There are also come companies that fortify (add vitamins) to their powdered milk -- Nido again comes to mind. Some of the vitamins (eg, vitamin C) can make a difference in yeast activity.
That being said, the majority of times when a recipe calls for a specific brand**, it's because the recipe was distributed by a specific company, and they're trying to get you to use their brands. Pillsbury, Kraft and Campbells are quite common in this regard, and I wouldn't be surprised if other companies did so as well.
** Except in the case of hot sauces. Although there are some hot sauce cookbooks distributed by Tobasco and such, the differences in heat and spicing are quite significant, and some cookbooks will say things like "1 TB hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)".
My personal recommendation would be to try to look up the nutrition information for the variety they call for, and the one you have. If they're similar (same amount to reconstitute to a cup of milk, and similar sugar levels), I'd go ahead and try it -- you might even like it better with the different brand. If it doesn't come out quite like you're looking for, then go ahead and try to find the specific brand from the recipe.
Dried milk - depending on what temperature it was pasteurised at before being dried - will have an impact on how well your bread dough rises. Dried powdered Milk that hasn’t been pasteurised at very high temperatures will interact with the yeast on your dough, causing it not to rise very well. Other brands that have used higher temperatures will have little or no impact on how your dough rises.