Handled correctly the milk can be transformed. This is the direction we are heading. The achievement of this fabled foam is our reason for being.
Milk Frothing Equipment
If you aspire to pour latte art the pitcher will need to have a sharply defined spout. If you're just steaming milk, any shaped pitcher will do, taking care to keep the size of the pitcher in proportion to the steaming capacity of your espresso machine. It is better to steam two small pitchers than one big one. It allows for more control and in turn a better drink at the other end.
Always use a thermometer when you steam your milk. It will allow you to be consistently great. Steam milk to between 60`C and 70`C.
This is for wiping off the residual milk left on the steam wand after steaming. Keep it clean and moist. Do not fall into the temptation of wiping anything else with this cloth.
Ideally you want the milk to separate IN the cup, not in the pitcher after which you have to scoop the foam, or hold back the foam etc. Have a spoon around when you are learning. They can be especially helpful for building cappuccinos or when divvying up foam for multiple drinks.
Cold milk is essential to a good froth. Non-fat or 2% milk is easiest to froth but whole milk will result in creamier foam.
Step By Step Frothing Guide
- When the ready light comes on or goes off you're ready to steam. Blow out the steam wand to get rid of any moisture in the wand and confirm that you've got enough steam coming out of the machine for lift off.
- Submerge the steam wand deep into the pitcher of milk, and turn on the steam. Lower the pitcher slightly to allow a little air into the wand and a hissing sound should follow.
- Hold the pitcher there as the milk is foamed and heated. As the milk continues to expand it will rise in the pitcher and necessitate a subtle lowering of the pitcher. Stay with it and never force things trying to stretch the milk too quickly.
- Take the milk up to 60`C. Depending on the desired quantity of foam, you will need to have been foaming almost right from the gun and continue foaming until the temperature has reached 65`C 70`C.
- Always give the milk pitcher a little knock when you've finished steaming the milk. This can break up any big or medium sized bubbles that may have formed during the process. Follow the knock with a spinning of the pitcher. This helps to further texture the milk and you'll see a change in the surface of the milk go from a dull luster to a smooth, glossy sheen. Very sexy.
- Properly steamed milk has foam mixed in throughout the entire pitcher so that it is smooth pouring, gorgeously textured, quicksilver sheen, and viscously transformed milk. It pours beautifully in one fluid motion. The foam and milk are one and it is in the cup where things will settle out.