Many people around the world cannot properly wake up before they have had a nice, refreshing cup of coffee. Different people like drinking their coffee in many ways – black, with honey, Irish or with more sugar and of course – with milk.
We cannot think of a better way to complement every wonderful cup of coffee than to add some steamed milk. Some may know how to steam milk, others may only think that they know, but are always wondering why they cannot achieve the perfect result.
Steaming milk might look very similar, but it can turn out to be very tricky to achieve. In order to know how to steam milk the right way, you have to know what exactly happens when you try to do it. The process is very simple – first we are aerating or “stretching” it and then it gets emulsified, which gives the milk more texture.
How to steam milk?
Now that we know what is the backbone of the process, let us get on how to actually do it. Stay with us to learn more about how to steam milk like a boss at home, without an espresso machine!
We would also like to share some tips with you:
- Cold milk froths better than warm. This is because the proteins of the milk are more stable when it is cold, which allows air to get trapped in the bubbles easily. This is important for the first part of the process behind steaming milk – the aeration.
- We recommend you to pick milk that has a high fat percentage as this contributes to a richer foam with more body, but on the other hand, if you are looking for more foam, you should go for lower-fat milk.
Method 1 – Whisk And Stove
Pour milk in a pan, placed on the stove over medium-low heat. Using an electric mixer, whisk air into the milk for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat once the milk is fluffy and warm.
This method produces big, airy and fluffy bubbles.
Method 2 – French Press
Fill the press at ⅓ with cold milk. Insert the plunger and pump repetitively until the milk gets thick and foamy. Before we add it to the coffee, we must warm it up, so place it in a microwave safe container and heat up for 30 seconds, if it is not too warm yet, heat up again at 10-second intervals.
This method created very dense and velvety foam with no visible bubbles.
Method 3 – The Frothing Wand
They are battery operated and are made specifically for milk foams. Pour the milk in a measuring cup and try to whip with the wand as much as possible. Do this by creating a whirlpool, while keeping half of the tip exposed to the air. This will create several large bubbles.
After one minute you can fully submerge the tip and keep it from getting exposed to the air. Continue frothing for about 3 minutes until the large bubbles have been incorporated into the milk, the texture of which should be smooth and velvety.
Again, because we started off with cold milk, we will have to warm it up so transfer into a heat-safe container and heat for 30 seconds and after that at 10-second intervals until warm.
This method produces very light foram, almost like a fluffy cloud.
Method 4 – With A Jar
Fill the jar less than halfway with cold milk and seal tightly. Shake vigorously for about 30-40 seconds or until frothy. Remove the lid and if the jar if microwave safe, heat it up for 30 seconds, if not – you will have to gently transfer the steamed milk into a heat-safe container first.
The foam produced will be smooth, but more fluid.
Expresso Machine Tips
For those of you who have an espresso machine at home, we have prepared some useful information as well!
Place the stem halfway in the cup with milk, too low down and it will not produce any air, while too high up and it will add too much air, so the placement is crucial. As you start to turn it on you will hear a tearing sound – this is the sound of air being introduced to the milk.
Froth the milk for around 15 seconds, then remove it from the stem. Give it a quick twirl – it should look like wet paint, nice and glossy. Tap out any surface bubbles if you are conscious of them.
To sum this up, depending on what foam you need for your coffee, there are different ways to steam milk without even using an espresso machine.
For big and fluffy bubbles, use an electric mixer and a stove. If you prefer a denser and creamier foam then the french press is the way to go, just make sure to fill it at around ⅓. Use a frothing wand for very light and smooth foam, the trick with it is not to submerge the tip at first, but to wait about a minute, otherwise you will get too much air into the milk too fast. Finally – if you do not have time for none of the above, use the old method with a jar – beat the milk vigorously and in less than a minute you will have it nice and frothy!
Now you are prepared to steam your milk at home to perfection and the next time your friends ask you for a cappuccino you will show them the new skills you have mastered thanks to our article for steaming milk in four different ways at home!