Frothing milk is actually not difficult to do, unless you aim to do it for a living. Generally, you will get used to the technique after several tries. To take a short-cut and avoid common mistakes while frothing, take these following tips:
- Keep moving the jug
Don’t shake or move the jug when frothing milk or you will end up with lots of unwanted big airy bubbles. Hold it still instead.
- Fill the wrong amount of milk
When frothing, it is important to fill the right amount of milk in a jug and also use a jug of appropriate size. With an under-filled or over-filled jug of milk, you can’t produce the right texture of froth. It is recommended to use a jug with 300-400ml in capacity for one cup of coffee; about 600ml will do for 2 cups. Make sure you using the best milk frother which will guide you how much milk you need to pour in with the indicator.
- Heat the milk rather than froth it
The “sweet spot” is a term that refers to the point at which milk foams start to form properly (without big bubbles). You need to find that spot rather than just move the wand aimlessly or you will just heat the milk and not froth it. Dip the wand 1-2mm below the milk surface, slightly off the center to find the point where a whirlpool starts and a ch-ch-ch sound is produced.
- Apply wrong wand tip position
The tip position of the milk frother wand is very important. Too deep below the milk surface and you may hear squealing sounds; the milk gets hot but you don’t end up with a creamy micro-foam texture you wish for. Too close to the milk surface and you will have big air bubbles in the milk that fill the jug capacity; after you raise the tip a little bit to add air to the milk, you have to lower it again to stretch the milk.
- Don’t clean up the wand well
If you want good quality froth that smells nice, taking care of your wand is a must.
After each use, you need to wipe it down to the bottom. Letting the milk build up on the wand is not a good idea: milk residues/build-up will eventually fall into the new batch of milk and affect the taste.
You also must remember to purge the wand. The wand is often left with its tip in the milk jug and once they cool off, milk can get into it. Or, between uses, water can gather in the one. If you wand big milk bubbles in your froth, open the wand valve to purge water or milk out
- Block the air intake of automatic frothing wand
For wands that come with an air hold, don’t let it blocked or you get little to no froth because no air is introduced into the milk. Make sure the wand is clean.
- Apply the wrong milk temperature
Try touching your milk pitcher and see if it is too hold for you to hold: that is a sign that the milk is heated up or boiled too much. The milk temperature should be in the range of 135-160 degree. Above 165 degree, the milk will lose its sweetness or even get scalded so you must avoid overheating it.
- Do not use fresh milk for frothing
Milk quality will affect how the froth turns out. If you use stale milk, don’t expect good froth quality and taste. Use fresh, cold milk that is taken straight from the refrigerator within 5 days of purchase for the best froth quality.
- Froth milk too long or not long enough
Knowing the right time to stop frothing is important. Too long and you get tasteless, thick and stiff foam that is hard to consume. Not long enough and you get a watery texture that is far from the creamy, velvety texture you expect.
- Let the frothed milk sit long before use
If you leave your frothed milk settle in the pitcher for 5-10 minutes, you will find it look very differently when you come back. The foam get separated, making it hard for you to pour it in the coffee cup. It is best to serve the milk right after you finish frothing; if not, you have to try swirling the milk or pour it into another warm jug to remix foam.