Hydrostatic pressure effects on whey protein/lactose mixtures were recorded with subsequent analysis of their structural, molecular and glass transition properties in comparison to thermal effects at atmospheric pressure. Experimental techniques used were small deformation dynamic oscillation in shear, modulated differential scanning calorimetry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and theoretical modelling of glass transition phenomena. Levels of solids ranged from 30 to 80% (w/w) in formulations with a protein/co-solute ratio of four-to-one. Addition of lactose protects the secondary conformation of the protein under application of high hydrostatic pressure. Nevertheless, pressurized protein systems are able to form three-dimensional structures due to the reduction in polymeric free volume and the development of an efficient friction coefficient amongst tightly packed particles. Systems can be seen as developing a "molten globular state", where the structural knots of pressure-treated networks remain in the native conformation but achieve intermolecular cross-linking owing to frictional contact. Furthermore, pressure treated assemblies of condensed whey protein preparations could match the viscoelasticity of the thermally treated counterparts upon cooling below ambient temperatures. That allowed examination of the physical state and morphology of a condensed preparation at 80% solids by the combined framework of reduced variables and free volume theory thus affording derivation of glass transition temperatures for pressurized and atmospheric samples. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.