These milk frothers ensure creamy foam at home. Fluffy, creamy, delicious – for fans of latte macchiato, the milk foam is the icing on the cake. With practical milk frothers, it works perfectly at home even without expensive fully automatic machines. We explain what these kitchen gadgets are all about. In this article, we are going to cover:
- How milk frothers work
- Which milks are best for frothing
- How to achieve barista-style milk foam at home
- Tips for choosing the right milk frother
- How to clean milk frothers
Coffee is one of many people’s favorite drinks. Whether black or with milk: More than half of coffee drinkers reach for a quick wake-up call several times a day. And not infrequently in the form of latte macchiato, cappuccino and other coffee specialties. If you don’t want to do without milk froth at home and don’t have a fully automatic coffee machine or a portafilter with a foam function, you don’t have to use the whisk. Here are things to know about milk frothers.
How is milk foam made?
Milk consists of water, fats, and proteins as well as emulsifiers, which hold all ingredients together homogeneously. If the milk is heated, these compounds are easily broken. It should, therefore, not be heated above 40 degrees. Otherwise, the protein in the milk can coagulate. And the foam won’t succeed.
With the aid of aids such as the gland or the whisk, tiny air bubbles can be introduced into the connections loosened by the heat. The protein surrounds them so that a solid bond is formed.
Tip: It is easier to make milk foam with long-life milk because its proteins are already denatured.
How do you find the best milk frother for your own needs?
To find the best milk frother for the home, you first have to decide on one type: a distinction is made between manual and automatic models. With the latter, you can choose between electric milk frothers, models with induction technology, and whiskers. The capacity is also important because the amount of milk foam that can be prepared depends on the capacity of the milk container.
With electric milk frothers, the power available to achieve a creamy consistency is also important. Material and workmanship are also important. The size and design of the device should also not be neglected so that it goes well with the kitchen and your own taste. Of course, the price also plays a role.
Which milk you use for this is not important. Fine-pored foam can be produced from whole milk, low-fat and lactose-free milk as well as low-fat organic milk. The fat content is more decisive for the taste. The higher this is, the more full-bodied the milk foam tastes.
What types of milk frothers are there?
Milk can be frothed in a number of ways. There are four types of milk frothers:
Electric milk frother
These devices heat and froth milk at the push of a button: Pour into the milk container, press the button, wait briefly, done. These milk frothers are particularly easy to use. They cost around 50 euros.
Induction milk frother
Models with modern induction technology are very popular, but a little more expensive. As the name suggests, they work with induction heat and heat the milk when it is frothed. Thanks to the technology, heating to the optimum temperature is lightning-fast. In addition, these devices can usually be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Stick whisk milk frother
A simple and inexpensive solution for quickly frothing milk is whiskers. Such a whisk has a motor that makes a mini whisk rotate. To prepare the foam, you put the warm milk in a higher container and then whisk the milk into foam without any effort. Stick whisks are easy to use and can also be stowed away in the smallest kitchen.
A very simple and usually inexpensive variant is also hand foamers. With them, the milk is filled into a tall jug with a rod with a sieve attached to the lid. In order to froth the milk, the filter rod is pumped up and down. Usually, a maximum of 30 pumping movements are necessary to create the desired creamy consistency. The advantage of the robust hand foamer lies not only in the price but also in the very easy handling.
This is how you can create the creamy milk foam yourself
However, there are a few tricks to keep in mind when preparing the foam. The milk should be well chilled before heating. Milk that has already been on the stove or has been frothed cannot be frothed again. It is also important not to let the milk get too hot. This makes the foam pleasantly sweet and gives it the desired creaminess. From a temperature of 70 degrees or more, the foam collapses again – or if the foam cools down too much.
If the milk is heated too much, sulfurous compounds are formed, among other things. They strongly influence the taste of the foam.
It is also important to use a clean, residue-free container for the milk. Leftover food or soap can prevent foaming. The vessel should be filled to a maximum of two-thirds, as the foam has a large volume. If you use too little milk, it heats up too quickly and the protein molecules coagulate.
Hold the electric milk frother just below the surface of the slightly warmed milk. The first blisters will be visible after a short time. If milk foam has formed, gently move the whisk in the pan or the milk jug under the nozzle. This is the so-called roll phase. Milk frother should no longer just be held below the surface but can be immersed deeper with rolling movements. This will destroy large air bubbles. And that in turn makes the foam smoother.
Continue the movements until a creamy, fine-pored mass has formed.
To create the pretty layers from white to light to dark brown, first, add the frothed milk to the glass. Then slowly pour in the hotter coffee. The drink at home can look the same as it does in the coffee bar.
What kind of milk makes the best foam?
Whether whole milk, low-fat, lactose-free, oat, or soy milk is a matter of taste. Different types of milk can be used to prepare milk foam. The fat content does not play a role in frothing, fat only provides the taste. Instead, the decisive factor for a creamy consistency is a high protein content: the higher, the more stable and fine-pored the foam.
The protein content is important for good milk foam. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to milk alternatives made from soy, oats, or almonds. Compared to cow’s milk, they contain less protein and are therefore more difficult to foam up.
Also important: the temperature of the milk. For a good result, it is best to start with chilled milk. It should be about seven to eight degrees. The optimal temperature for frothing is 65 degrees to a maximum of 70 degrees Celsius; the perfect consistency is achieved within this temperature range. Coffee and milk foam can only be creamy when the foam has a light, fine-pored structure.
Note: Milk alternatives made from rice or coconut do not foam well. The foam collapses quickly and is often too watery.
What is the perfect milk foam?
The perfect milk foam is creamy, fine-pored, and creamy. It combines with the coffee when you drink it and should therefore not be too firm. Rigid milk foam floats on the drink and does not form any connection with it. It sticks in the cup after drinking instead of completing the taste of the coffee.
What’s the best way to clean a milk frother?
Milk frothers of any type should be cleaned thoroughly after each use. Milk residues must be removed, for example, to prevent the formation of germs. The easiest way to clean it is of course immediately after use, when the milk is not yet dry.
Manual milk frothers and, in many cases, electric milk containers are suitable for the dishwasher. Otherwise, they are wiped off with warm soapy water. A soft cloth should be used for this so as not to damage the non-stick coating. Stick whisks can easily be cleaned under running water.