“Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! Stir it! Scrape it! Make it! Bake it!” – From In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
On Thursday evening, I read In the Night Kitchen to my sons at bedtime. It’s one of my favorite children’s books. I hadn’t planned on it, but I when came across the brown-hued cover on the bookshelf, it seemed appropriate timing considering our plans for the morning—my son’s physician-supervised oral food challenge for baked milk.
This would mark his sixth food challenge, and I feel the same way every time—nervous, worried, happy and excited. After our unsuccessful attempt at baked milk back in July 2014, when my son refused to eat all the required doses of cake, we decided to try a new approach. This time, as recommended by his pediatric allergist, I modified the recipe and baked the cake at home.
I’m elated to report that my son “passed” the challenge with a negative result—no reaction whatsoever. This is huge. I baked Zopf with milk and butter for my family on Sunday, and we all ate it together. My hope is that every child with a milk allergy can get to this point. We feel so incredibly lucky once again.
Why is baked milk okay?
When milk is extensively heated (i.e., baked), the proteins change somehow so my son’s immune system no longer considers it an allergen. From the various articles I’ve seen and our own experience, the heating standard for food challenges with baked milk is generally 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. One recent study estimates that the majority (75 percent) of children with cow’s milk allergy can tolerate eating baked milk products, like cake and bread. Another study has found that consuming baked milk products helps to increase children’s tolerance for drinking unheated cow’s milk.
- Allergy Breakthrough on Baked Milk and Egg, Claire Gagné, Allergic Living, 2010.
- Dietary baked milk accelerates the resolution of cow’s milk allergy in children, Kim, Jennifer S. et al., Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 128, Issue 1, 125 – 131, 2008.
- Tolerance to extensively heated milk in children with cow’s milk allergy, Nowak-Wegrzyn, Anna et al., Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 122, Issue 2, 342 – 347, 2011.
Have you participated in a baked milk food challenge? What was your experience? Please leave a comment below.
My son will have another milk-based challenge coming up this spring. More details soon… In the meantime, I’m making sure he has baked milk in some form every day until then. I’m thrilled to be baking with milk and butter again!
Thanks for your continued support and advice! I hope you’re getting some good news about food allergies too.
Updated: If you would like the recipe I used for the baked milk challenge, please send me an email for more information. February 2, 2015.