Whether you want to make the best cappuccino, latte, or espresso, one of the most important steps is for you to know how to steam milk the right way. You do not need to be an expert barista to do this and you can even steam it the right way at the comfort of your kitchen at home.
While most people prefer steaming milk with a steam wand, which is a very straightforward process, you can still steam milk without having a steam wand by just heating your milk to 150 °F (66°C). You can also froth the milk with a frother or any other piece of kitchen equipment and although the end result might not be the same as what you get at your local coffee shop, it will suffice.
Steamed milk is made by heating the milk to the appropriate temperature whereby a steam wand is submerged into a pitcher and it’s characterized by a creamy smoothness but is not whipped up. On the other hand, frothed milk is whipped up by incorporating air into your milk. This is done by placing the tip of the steam wand on the surface of the milk. Frothed milk is normally much lighter than steamed milk and it’s usually a smooth, silkily beverage.
Fill up your pitcher
You first need to fill your pitcher to either halfway or full using cold milk. If you are using a steam wand, you will have to open the valve of your steam wand to purge any condensation. While doing this, ensure that your steam wand is pointed over your machine’s drip tray or into a damp cloth before you open the steam valve. With this method, you will be able to get rid of any condensed water that may be in your steam wand before using it to aerate your milk.
Purge the steam wand
Let your steam wand run for a couple of seconds. This allows you to purge any left over that is trapped in the tip and allows the wand to heat up a little. By purging your steam wand you will not only avoid accidentally spraying water into your milk while steaming, but it also keeps your steam wand clean and prevents any blockage in the holes on the wand.
You have to set the wand into the milk ensuring that the line at which the tip screws are on the same level with the surface of the milk. If possible, the wand should be at about a 15-degree angle from the side and slightly off center in the pitcher.
Aerating and texturing the milk
Aerating, also known as stretching the milk is another step that ensures a smooth texture by introducing air to create foam. You will hear popping sounds during aerating so continue with the process until the popping sound stops and the milk starts spinning. Spin the milk until it’s around 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) then turn off the steam.
Resting and polishing
Once the milk reaches the preferred temperature, turn off the steam valve and let the milk sit for a while before pouring. Swirl it around to make sure the milk and micro-foam are together. The shinier the milk the better the quality of steamed milk.
Apart from following the above steps correctly, get information on Warm Chef about steamed milk as well as the best tools to make great coffee.