Helpful hints for frothing your milk
- The art of frothing and steaming milk is a long and slow process to learn. A technique has to be developed and this can only be achieved by practice and perseverance.
- Many factors come in to play when creating the perfect pitcher of froth.
- The type of milk used will affect the frothing process. Whole milk will develop froth with more body, but low fat milk is easier to froth.
- The higher the fat content in the milk the longer it takes to froth and is harder to produce a creamy texture without burning the end product – that is why it is so easy to froth skim or soy milk.
- Fill the steaming jug 1/3 full of cold fresh milk. The fresher the milk the better it froths, the colder the milk the better it also steams. If possible keep your steaming jug chilled. Warm, hot or old milk will not froth.
- Before frothing milk turn on the steam arm for a few seconds this will release any build up of water condensation (this is called bleeding) and prevents milk being diluted. Direct the steam arm into the drip tray to avoid being scolded by the moisture that may have condensed in the pipe.
- Use one hand to hold the jug by the handle. With the other hand turn on the steam arm. Move your hand to the bottom of the jug to act as a thermometer. As soon as the jug is too hot to hold remove your hand so you don’t burn yourself.
- Position the jug under the steam arm. For your safety totally immerse the arm in milk. Turn on the steam arm, when the steam has begun to release lower the jug so the nozzle is 5-10mm below the surface of the milk.
- Centre the steam arm in the jug. The jug should only be moved in a downward motion. The end of the steam arm (the nipple) is to remain at the top of the milk. Create a whirlpool effect, the milk will be forced up by the steam, the jug should be moved down in one slow motion. This should continue until the milk has reached the top of the jug. Your hand should remain at the base of the jug until you feel it is hot. Remove your hand if the heat is uncomfortable.
- Remember once the correct temperature is reached stop frothing. The milk rises in temperature by another 5 degrees as the steam releases from the jug. If you over-heat your milk it will taste, look and smell burnt, ultimately ruining your finished coffee.
- This method provides thick closely bubbled/dense milk. No large air bubbles should form, large bubbles will dissipate rapidly and your milk will fall. Underneath the foam you should have steamed milk to the bottom of the pitcher.
- Turn the steam valve off before removing the steam arm from the jug to avoid splattering of hot milk.
- Wipe the steam arm with a wet cloth immediately to remove the milk coating before it hardens. It is essential that the steam arm remain clean at all times. Do not soak the steam arm.
Trouble Shooting – What can go wrong?
Milk suddenly won’t froth?
During April and May as well as September, milk becomes difficult to froth. The higher level of fat/lactose in the milk due to the cows calving increases the milk density making it much more difficult to create foam. Another factor, which often effects milk, is different “feed” given to cattle often during unseasonable times. This will also have an effect on lactose level and even the flavour.
The milk is too hot – the foam is dissipating
Once the milk has been overheated it will not froth. That is why it is essential that the temperature of the milk be monitored at all times.
How do you know the milk is too hot or burnt?
The milk no longer rises in the jug. The jug will be extremely hot naturally. The milk has a slight yellow colour and smells like burnt custard.
How many times can you reheat the milk and can you add milk to the steam jug?
A maximum of 2 times then throw it away. Milk can be added however it must be cold. When you foam milk you are stretching and expanding the milk to create foam; the milk can only be “pulled” and expanded twice to retain its density and flavour.
Can you create froth with hot or warm milk?
No, only cold milk, however the milk can be reheated but no froth will foam.
Old milk creates better froth?
This is an old wives tale; the fresher the milk the better the froth. The colder the milk the better the density of the finished foam.