There’s nothing more luxurious than a silky latte. But have you ever tried to make one at home? We’ve written this piece so you can learn how to froth milk, without a machine, without spending any money on expensive equipment. While it might not produce the same results as you can achieve using a home espresso machine, it’ll make a damn good equivalent.
The science behind a good milk froth
Before we talk about the frothing methods, let’s give a quick science lesson about milk foam. Milk is made up of carbohydrates, proteins and fatty acids, which all play a part in creating the foam. When you froth milk (which is essentially just shaking it up), you add air which disrupts the protein. But the protein wants to stay together, so it forms a sort of shield around the air bubbles, which helps them hold their shape longer and protects them from bursting. This is the froth! Therefore, if you want super-foamy froth, look for milk with a higher protein content.
Interestingly, different milks and milk alternatives have different protein content:
- Skim milk: 3.4%
- 2% milk: 3.3%
- Whole milk: 3.2%
- Soy milk: 2.7%
- Almond milk: 0.4%
Even though milk alternatives have lower protein counts, they can still make good froth. It just might not be quite as creamy.
Heat your milk
Before you start frothing, you’ll need to heat your milk. To do this, you’ll need:
- Milk of your choice
- A small saucepan
- A thermometer
Pour your milk into a saucepan and heat it on the stove.Place a thermometer in the milk to monitor the temperature. Heat your milk on medium to medium-low. Stir it often to make sure it doesn’t burn. Depending on the type of milk you use, you want to hit a certain temperature to steam it:
- Milk: anywhere between 55-68 degrees depending on what temperature you like it at. Slightly cooler milk (55-65ºC) retains more sweetness which will complement your flat white/latte more when you produce the final drink.
- Soy milk: 60ºC
- Almond milk: 54ºC
Then you can start frothing using your method of choice below.
Hack 1: Froth milk with a French Press
If you have a French Press, this is a perfect way to create foam for a latte, cappuccino or flat white.
What you’ll need:
- Clean French Press
- Heated milk (Microwave or saucepan)
When your milk is heated, immediately transfer it to your French Press. It’s very important that your French Press is clean, because otherwise you’ll have coffee grounds in your milk, which isn’t ideal!
To foam your milk, repeatedly pump the plunger of your French Press into your milk until air bubbles form. Make sure to hold the lid of the French Press while you do this so it doesn’t pop off. Continue to pump your milk until over half of the milk has a foamy texture.
Let the milk rest for 1 minute before pouring. Pour it into a milk jug, and then transferring into the coffee.
Hack 2: Froth milk with a Mason Jar
This is the easiest way to froth milk. You’ll need:
- A glass jar with a lid (such as a mason jar)
- Warmed milk
Pour your milk into the jar. Make sure that it’s no more than halfway full, so the milk has room to bubble.
Put the lid on, and shake it for 30-60 seconds.
You’ll then have warm milk at the bottom of the jar, and a layer of foam on top! We suggest then decanting the milk into a milk pitcher or coffee jug, and pouring from there. This will give you a lot more control, and you’ll be able to tap the large bubbles out. By doing this your milk texture becomes perfect for pouring latte art and it’ll also produce a more creamy mouthfeel in the drink.
Hack 3: Froth milk with a tea strainer
Our final frothing hack is ingenious. All you’ll need:
- A round tea infuser
- Warmed milk
You might have a round tea infuser at home – well, this little contraption can do more than just infuse loose leaf tea. The holes work perfectly to break up milk and introduce air. Just make sure that it is completely clean – you don’t want any tea debris in your foam!
Similar to the French press, there are many fine holes throughout the loose tea infuser, which breaks up the milk and allows air to infiltrate much more of it than with other methods. To infuse the milk with air, simply whisk the tea infuser around until it is frothy. This requires more work than the other methods, but the results are excellent.
These were our three tried and tested latte-style foam hacks. Which one do you want to try? If you try any of them at home, tag us on social media @balancecoffee. We’d love to see your results!
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