April 30 2021 – Diana L
Getting that right frothiness on your morning chai tea latte doesn't need to be difficult. But there is an art behind properly frothing milk or non-dairy alternative to get that beautiful, silky foam for the perfect creamy latte.
There are several types of milk and non-dairy products that can be frothed to create your dreamy, creamy tea latte. Follow these steps and you'll create the perfect latte every time.
How to use a milk frother
Knowing how to froth milk opens up a whole world for you right in your own home. There are several tools available to froth milk, but let's be honest. We want to keep it simple so we want to make it more often. Those tiny handheld frothers work just as well as an integrated steam wand in a fancy espresso machine. Learn how to use a quality hand-held milk frother to create that perfect velvety whip you love.
Which type of milk you choose depending on your own personal preference and dietary needs. Whole milk lends itself to the perfect froth we all imagine, but it does require a little more effort. Skim milk can be used as well, but it doesn't produce the most creamy froth, but it does hold the foam better at room temperature. Non-dairy alternatives are also an option which we'll get to in a minute.
Any type of milk has three basic macronutrients: Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Although it seems like the fat content would be most important to achieve that creamy froth, but it actually isn't. The key element is the protein content. The higher the protein, the better the froth.
You can froth cold milk or room temperature milk. But if you're going to be adding it to your delicious steeped tea, steamed milk is best so it doesn't cool down your cuppa. The best temperature is about 140-150°F. Again, since we're trying to keep this simple, instead of pulling out your thermometer, just watch for the steam to rise from your pot of milk. The key here is not to let the milk boil. Once it has passed that point, it will not froth well. If it did, cooling it down won't help and you're better off starting over with new milk.
Milk froths better with more volume. However milk will double its volume as it froths, so don't fill your bowl too high. Keep it half full to leave some space for expansion. Typically the milk will reach its maximum volume in about 30 seconds. Don't take the approach that more is better. Once you have achieved the creaminess and froth you're after, it's time to stop. If you keep frothing you risk degrading the beautiful foam you already created.
Oh no! My milk cooled while frothing!
Even though you started with the warm milk, it most likely cooled a bit while frothing (or waiting for your tea to steep). While it's not super recommended, you can pop the frothed milk into the microwave, but only for about 20-30 seconds depending on the amount of milk you have. Make sure you don't let the milk hit that boiling point. Adding this step can also help stabilize the foam and bubbles.
If you've only tried using your milk frother with dairy milk, but you want to avoid dairy products, here are some tips for the best results with some great dairy-free milk alternatives that can be frothed like standard milk.
How to froth almond milk
Almond milk and other dairy-free alternatives can be more difficult to froth because of their lower protein content. Good quality almond milk will have a higher percentage of almonds, and therefore protein. A lower quality almond milk is made up largely of water, and you can imagine how well water whisks...
Although regular milk can froth steamed or not, almond milk foams up better once it has been steamed. Put the desired amount of milk in a pan and heat it until you clearly see steam rising from the pan. If someone else is anxiously awaiting a delicious latte, go ahead and make enough milk for two. Almond milk is much easier to froth when you're using a larger volume of it.
Once your almond milk is heated, froth it well making circular movements with your hand frother for about two minutes until it has reached the creaminess and amount of froth you enjoy.
How to froth coconut milk
Coconut milk is lower protein than cow's milk, but enriched with fat it can still form a perfect froth. There are fewer proteins in coconut milk so it can have trouble supporting the air bubbles required to froth. Look for coconut milk that has gellan in the ingredient list. Gellan helps it bond, making up for the lack of protein and creating a more stable foam. Frothing coconut milk will add sweetness to your latte, and the froth will have less body in the mouthfeel.
Again, you want to heat the milk and pour it into a bowl before frothing. After your coconut milk is slightly steaming in the pan, insert the frothing wand into the milk then turn it on. Whisk your milk until you see the perfect consistency in the milk and you see a nice foamy top layer. Now just scoop the frothed milk into your latte. MMMM!
How to clean a milk frother
A handy milk frother is so easy to use, and you don't have to make a fuss over cleaning it either. By far, handheld milk frothers are the easiest to clean. Here are two simple ways to clean your milk frother:
- It's always easiest (and best) to clean immediately after use. It makes your chore more difficult if the milk has been allowed to dry on the whisk. Wipe your whisk end carefully not to bend the wires with a soapy sponge and give it a good rinse in warm water. Wipe the handle if necessary with the sponge. Your milk frother will be sparkling and ready to use for your next latte.
- A second option is to fill a small glass or cup with warm water and a drop or two of liquid soap. Place the whisk head into the water and turn it on. Run the frother for 10-15 seconds. Rinse the frother, empty the glass, and refill with fresh water without soap. Again, run the whisk in the clean water for 10-15 seconds to remove any soap residue.
Either method you choose, never submerge the main body of the milk frother in water. Just wipe the main body with a damp cloth and dry before storing.