Frothing or texturing milk is one of the more difficult barista skills, simply because there are distinct stages the milk goes through when steaming and they usually happen in less than 60 seconds. To get that silky smooth milk with just the right amount of micro-foam there are three keys things to focus on:
Stretching the milk adds small air bubbles to the milk creating the desired amount of micro-foam, which should be silky smooth with no visible bubbles. To stretch the milk, you bring the wand to the surface of the milk so the tip is at surface level, making a kind of ‘kissing’ noise as it incorporates air into the milk. The stretching phase should be completed by the time the temperature reaches 40 degrees.
Once the milk has been correctly stretched, the milk is then texturised by submerging the nozzle of the steam wand under the surface and creating a whirlpool motion.This thickens the milk up, giving it a smooth creamy texture.
Important Note: Don’t let the wand touch the bottom!
Ideal serving temperature for different milks:
-Full cream and skim milk is served at 65 degrees.
-Soy, macadamia, almond milk and other alternative milks are served at 60 degrees.
It’s important to NEVER reheat milk. During the heating process all the sugars are caramelized and the protein in the milk is broken down. If you reheat the milk the flavour will change as the sugars become burnt and the foam will become bubbly or ‘fluffy’, rather than smooth and dense.