Milk frothing - additional information
Milk frothing - additional information
Some additional information:
Steam isn't always the same. You can have wet steam (not useful for frothing) and dry steam. Make sure you have dry steam and enough of it.
The tip on your steam wand! 'Almost' every manufacturer makes his own steam tip, although there seem to be great similarities. And this tip is very important as it makes, or fails to make micro froth.
- Most domestic single boiler machines (like the Rancilio Silvia) have tips on the steam wand which have one hole. The technique with one hole is: Hold the pitcher at 15/20 degrees, aim the steam wand in the lowest corner and listen. If you hear that whispering, sucking sound: your aim is good. Hold the wand not too low, and not too high. You will notice if it's too high soon enough as milk splatters all around. When it's too low, there is no bubbling at all.
- Most domestic heat exchanger espresso machiness (like the ECM Giotto and Isomac Tea) have two holes in the steam tip. These holes have a tangential component. To check this, remove the tip and look at the two holes from the inside of the tip looking outwards. Position the holes in such a way that you have one on your left and one on your right, and you'll see that the hole on the left is pointing slightly downwards and the hole on the right is pointing slightly upwards. This is what makes these tips so good! They make swirling easy,but only if you position the steaming tip in the middle of the circle formed by the surface of the milk, you hold the pitcher itself horizontal, and you have the wand perpendicular to it. Don't forget: wand in centre and perpendicular to the surface of the milk.
- If you have a machine with a three hole (or 4 hole) steam tip and at the same time a machine which gives enough dry steam (like the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva for example) you probably won't be reading this, as frothing with these devices can't go wrong. Just follow the basics and everything will be right. Be careful not to froth too quickly. If you heat the milk too quickly, the stretching phase has to be finished too soon. You won't achieve the best possible results. Take it easy opening the steam valve and don't froth too quickly. Just take your time to infuse air into the milk as you can open the wand completely (if it's necessary at all) after the 'expanding' phase.
Choice of milk pitcher.
You can use anything to steam milk in, but some pitchers just work better! See if you can get a stainless steel pitcher, and make sure that if you want to make latte art your pitcher has a sharply formed spout to pour the 'foam' onto your espresso.
Amount of milk to use.
For two cappuccinos the amount of milk needed is less than you might think. As the milk is frothed it expands and fills your cup quite easily. So just experiment on how much milk you need and don't throw away anything down the sink (the cows made this milk with pride, you know!). If you fill a cappuccino cup half way with milk, you have the amount of milk you need to froth for one cappa.
What kind of foam?
For cappuccino the best foam is micro foam. This is foam which contains tiny little bubbles of air, while it will give you that full, wobbly mouthfeel from the begin to the last drop. Besides, Latte Art is only possible with micro foam (and it's nice to know that my daughters only want their hot chocolate micro foamed).
Never boil the milk, it will destroy the 'air structure'. Put one hand on the bottom of the pitcher. and when it is too hot to touch. the 'milk' is ready and you have to stop steaming immediately.
Next :  Further hints and tips
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Thanks for the information. I'm using my new ECM Cellini & trying to get the textering down. It's not working! Well, not yet. I know you need to practice and then again. I will try out what you said...it sounded good. Sounds like you have a lot of experience. Thanks for not forgetting the newbies like myself. Keep the info comeing.
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