Starbucks and coffee shops make rich and flavorful coffee but they also go the extra mile by making sure cafe lattes and cappuccinos are creatively designed with images. This is made possible because of microfoam milk, a layer of finely steamed milk that is poured on the top of your latte or cafe au lait. Microfoam milk is the perfect base for latte art and you’d be surprised how you can easily make this at home. Read on and get to know how to make microfoam milk at home.
How to make microfoam milk at home?
Here is how to create microfoam milk at home:
These are the materials that you need:
- One cup of 2% milk and place it in a microwave-safe glass
- An automatic milk frother
- A stainless steel pitcher
1. First, you have to heat the milk before frothing it.
You should be able to achieve the right temperature which is between 60 to 70 degrees Centigrade. If the temperature is too hot, the milk will not foam and if it is too cold, milk won’t taste right and may become very foamy. To get the right temperature, you should have a temperature in handy.
Heat the milk for 50 seconds and wait for three minutes. Next, heat for 20 seconds and wait for three minutes. Do this process at least three times. Make sure that you are using a microwave for the process.
2. Next, proceed with the frothing process. Place half of the heated milk in the steel pitcher. Place the frother on the right hand and place it inside the pitcher and deep in the milk. Turn on the frother, notice that a hole will be created in the milk at the start and you can see the head of the frother.
This means that air is entering but this should only last for at least five seconds. Tilt the frother slightly so the milk will swirl. At this time, you cannot see the head of the frother and the hole will disappear. The bubbles will start to disappear, continue to froth until all the bubbles disappear. If some bubbles remain, just tap the pitcher on the counter a few times and they will eventually disappear.
3. You have now successfully made microfoam milk. You can then start pouring it into your espresso shot. When pouring, do it from a distance of at least 15 cm high from the cup since this will allow the frothed milk to drop below the espresso, become colored by it and float on its top. This creates the espresso-colored surface. Next, lower your hand to at least 3 cm and you will notice that the white foam will begin to show.
The white and espresso-colored foam should become one surface but if it did not, it means that the foam was too thick. Once the frothing process is finished, pour immediately to avoid the foam from separating from the milk. You should pour at just the right pace, not too slow but not too fast either.
4. It is now time to get creative. Use a toothpick, some cocoa powder or syrup and have fun creating some latte art!
Microfoam milk is ideal for coffee drinks that are espresso-based like the latte, macchiato, mocha and cappuccino. It is usually made with the steam wand of an espresso machine that pumps steam to a milk pitcher. Its contrast is the macrofoam or dry foam which has larger bubbles and a style commonly used for cappuccinos. Perfect microfoam milk is velvety and silky smooth like wet paint. It contains little to no air, is dense and ideal for pouring deep into a cup for striking latte art.
Steamed milk uses pressurized steam, heating the milk and developing texture respectively. It heats the sugars in milk and breaks down the fat and as the steaming process happens, air bubbles form in the milk on a stable basis, resulting in a layer of microfoam that creates the silky texture.
You know you have achieved the perfect microfoam milk if there is as little air as possible in the milk. Tiny air bubbles make for a velvety foam and come with a silky smooth surface. If the steamed milk is foamed with more air it becomes a macrofoam and larger bubbles will be formed.
Ways to make microfoam milk at home
The common ways to create microfoam milk at home include the following:
By using an automatic milk frother.
It creates impressive frothed milk and microfoam even without an espresso machine. There is no need to heat the milk separately since it heats and froths in one machine.
By using French Press.
A French Press can be utilized to create frothed milk and microfoam. It does not take too much effort and warm milk is frothed in less than a minute.
Other ways to make microfoam and frothed milk is with a handheld frother and an immersion blender.
If you are on a budget or just too busy to grab a cup of joe with impressive latte art at a coffee shop, do not despair. You can always make your cafe latte with latte art and make microfoam milk at home. Follow the instructions stated above for the best results. Make sure that the milk is at the right temperature of at least 60 to 70 degrees Centigrade as it is a major determinant in creating the perfect microfoam milk.
Image: istockphoto.com / Jedsada_Piampiyachat