Steamed milk is a delicious addition to any coffee drink or hot chocolate concoction — and it’s known for its ability to bring out the rich notes of caramel and other distinct flavors of coffee. What’s not to love about that creamy layer of microfoam complementing your drink and giving it that deep, complex taste? Even if you prefer to drink your coffee black, we’re confident you’ll enjoy this simple twist on your plain dark roast.
With steamed milk, you can bring home the taste of your favorite specialty latte or cappuccino and make your kitchen more like a home cafe. Though it may sound as easy as warming up milk, it’s often done wrong — and to get that coffee shop taste, you need the right steamed milk recipe. Here’s one that’s tried and true and can be made within minutes in your Blendtec jar.
Homemade Steamed Milk Recipe
You don’t need a steam wand to make steamed milk at home. Did you know you can froth milk in a blender? Here’s how to steam milk without a steamer and achieve the perfect frothed milk for the top of your coffee.
What Is the Difference Between Steaming and Frothing?
They’re often thought of as the same, but steaming and frothing are different processes. Frothing involves the infusion of large bubbles of air into the milk, creating a layer of foam to top off a drink.
Steaming, on the other hand, is the process of pulling air into the milk to create small bubbles while simultaneously warming it. This process yields a creamy consistency that baristas sometimes refer to as microfoam.
Whichever way you prefer is a delicious way to liven up your morning brew.
What’s Happening When You Steam Milk?
Steam is a high-pressure process that causes milk fat to expand. By infusing air into the milk while heating it at the same time, a foamy texture results. Baristas know that after milk reaches room temperature, it’s harder to achieve that soft microfoam, as the milk proteins break down and destroy the bubbles — and flavor — when it’s too hot. This is why it’s so key to ensure the proper temperature at every step of the process.
What Kind of Milk Is the Best to Use?
Depending on your dietary restrictions and how you like your steamed milk, a variety of different types could work.
- Non-fat milk doesn’t taste as robust as milk options with higher fat content, but it creates the largest bubbles and saves you on calories and fat content. The end result is light and airy, and it’s perfect if you’re limiting your daily caloric intake but still want that milky flavor in your coffee.
- It’s said that 2% milk is ideal for microfoam, as it’s richer and creamer than fat-free milk and froths up quite easily.
- You might think that whole milk would be the best for steaming, but it’s actually quite difficult, as the high fat content makes the milk heavier and weighs down the bubbles. (It does create the best-tasting cappuccino, though.)
- Milk alternatives such as soy milk and lactose-free milk can technically be steamed, but their bubbles won’t last long, as these milks lack the protein structure to support the bubbles.
Common Mistakes When Steaming Milk
One of the most common mistakes baristas make is frothing the milk for too long. Milk can be sufficiently frothed in mere seconds, and by pulling in too much air, you’ll ruin the foam with large bubbles. Milk bubbles are easiest to create before the milk gets warm, and if you pull the air too late, this will also make it a lot harder to achieve the perfect microfoam.
As we mentioned before, overheating the milk is another common mistake that will destroy the bubbles and the flavor of the milk. Once it gets to 140 degrees, stop steaming it and swirl the milk around. The ideal consistency looks kind of like melted ice cream.
When steaming milk, you should use it immediately. If you wait too long, the foam could separate from the milk.
Other Tasty Ingredients to Include in This Recipe
This steamed milk recipe features hints of brown sugar, hazelnut, and vanilla — but you can experiment with it by adding whatever flavors sound best to you. Here are some suggestions to include in the steamed milk:
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- Peppermint extract
- Coconut extract
- Maple syrup
You can also jazz things up a little by topping your steamed milk with:
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate drizzle
- Caramel drizzle
- Chocolate shavings
For more at-home coffee inspiration, visit our recipe blog! We feature dozens and dozens of unique recipe ideas for quick and easy food and drinks that can be made instantly in your Blendtec.