Spray-dried probiotic milk powder was produced at pilot scale from 300 L of 20% (w/v) reconstituted skim milk containing a rifampicin resistant variant of the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei NFBC 338 (Rif(r)). During powder manufacture, air inlet and outlet temperatures of 175degreesC and 68degreesC, respectively, were used, which yielded a probiotic survival of 84.5%. The powder, which contained 1 x 10(9) cfu g(-1) of Lb. paracasei NFBC 338 Rif(r) was used as an adjunct inoculum (at 0.1% w/v) during probiotic Cheddar cheese manufacture. Probiotic numbers were 2 x 10(7) Cfu g(-1) in the cheese on day 1 and grew to 7.7 x 10(7) cfu g(-1) after 3 months of ripening, without adversely affecting cheese quality. The data demonstrate that probiotic spray-dried powder is a useful means of probiotic addition to dairy products, as this example for Cheddar cheese manufacture shows. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.