How to Use a Milk Frother
Learning how to use a milk frother is fairly straightforward. And once you’ve mastered the art, you can make specialty coffee beverages at home. Here is how we recommend you use a milk frother, along with a few simple tips that will help you get optimal results.
A Milk Frother
- This tutorial covers how to use a battery operated whisk frother. These devices are inexpensive and easy to find (check price on Amazon here).
A glass or ceramic pitcher (microwavable)
- Your vessel needs to be circular, and not too large, otherwise you wont be able to get the milk to create the needed whirlpool
- At the same time, make sure the vessel is large enough. Keep in mind that the milk should double in volume.
- We found a 1 cup glass measuring cup to be ideal, but you can also your coffee cup
- In this tutorial we use a microwave to heat the milk. This is the simplest method.
- If you prefer, you can also heat the milk on the stovetop. To do this, heat the milk in a saucepan and then transfer it to a suitable vessel for frothing.
- One of the biggest mistakes people make when frothing is overheating the milk. Milk scalds easily, and scalded milk does not taste pleasant in coffee. Therefore, we highly recommend that you start out using a thermometer. Using a thermometer, you can determine how long you need to microwave the milk (the time will vary depending on the power of your microwave and how cold your fridge is). Once you have determined the correct time, you can ditch the thermometer.
- Almost any kitchen thermometer will work, we found that a digital instant read thermometer was the easiest to use
- Any kind of milk will work, but the higher the fat content the better the milk will froth
- You can also froth non-dairy milks, but the results will vary. Some companies make “Barista Blends” of their non-dairy milks. These milks are specially fortified so that they froth better. One popular version is Califia Farms’ Barista Blend Almond Milk.
Instructions: How to Use a Milk Frother
1. Prep: Pour 6 oz (3/4 c. or 175 ml) of cold milk into a microwavable container
2. Heat: Place the milk in the microwave and heat until it is 150-155° F/65°-68° C (about 1 minute)
- The ideal temperature for frothed milk is a matter of personal taste; anything between 140°-160° F/60°-70° C will work. However, milk scalds at 160° F/70° C—so if you overheat the milk it is ruined. At the same time, milk that is colder than 140° F/60° C will not froth properly.
- DO NOT put your thermometer in the microwave. Heat the milk for a while and then remove it to test the temperature.
3. Froth: Remove the milk from the microwave and place the vessel on a convenient work area, like a counter or table. You are now ready to begin frothing!
i) With the frother turned off, insert it fully into the center of the milk—the whisk should be just slightly above the bottom of the vessel
ii) Turn on the frother and hold it in place until a whirlpool forms, let it spin for 10-15 seconds
iii) Slowly lift the frother toward the surface of the milk. When the frother is near the surface, it should begin to suck air into the milk and create a lot of very bubbly foam. Continue creating foam until the milk has nearly doubled in volume, about 20-30 seconds.
- You might need to experiment until you find just the right height. You should see lots of bubbles forming, but if this doesn’t happen, try lifting the frother a little bit higher. If doing so causes milk to splatter everywhere, you are too high.
- Tilting the frother slightly to one side can help create foam if it doesn’t seem to be forming
- If you are having trouble with spattering, try pulsing the frother
iv) Once you have a good amount of foam, push the frother back down to the bottom of the vessel. Hold it in place so that the whirlpool forms again. Hold the frother in this position for a while (roughly 30 sec). This will break up the bigger bubbles and leave a nicely textured form.
- The goal is a foam that is made up of tiny bubbles, which will make for a smooth, creamy froth. Larger bubbles are undesirable, and should be broken up as much as possible. This is the goal of the second whirlpool.
That’s it! You now know how to use a milk frother!
- Make sure to give your frother a good cleaning after every use. If you leave milk on the frother, it will quickly become host to a colony of milk bacteria.
- Many milk frothers show pictures of elaborate latte art on the packaging or in the marketing. It is never stated, but it is implied, that you can create such latte art with a frothing wand. Don’t be deceived; it’s not possible. To make latte art, you need cafe quality steamed milk, for which you will need a high end espresso machine.