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steaming milk
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > steaming milk  
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 9:16am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

I agree with all you've said.  I don't see anything wrong with using a thermometer.  However, I believe you can get exceptional results consistently without one.  I outlined the entire procedure for the OP, since he's using "hands-on" technique and he is not experienced in the stages of frothing, and therefore, probably should learn what is going on in the pitcher before moving on to the level of frothing that you use.

 
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calblacksmith
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Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 9:36am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

I'm sorry if I sounded a little gruff, it was not intended that way and after re reading my post, it can be taken that way.

The Sylvia really does not have enough power to steam the way I do, I was just making a comment, I guess it really isn't much help with the issue at hand..... never mind my whole post above! LOL!!!!!

To the point of the glob of foam in the middle of the pitcher, you are likely stretching too much and not getting a strong enough whirlpool to mix it in. Stretch less and work on the strong whirlpool.

With the weaker steaming power of the Sylvia, some find it helpful to cool the pitcher as well as using ice cold milk to give a little more time in the stretch phase without the temp going out of range. For a cap, you need to stretch more so you are right in the middle. Keep it up, you will get it!

 
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Wayne P.
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jneff28
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Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 11:34am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

Better results. Tried the soapy water deal and found that my issue was where i had the steam wand caused so much turbulance i could not get a consistent hole surf without milk rolling everywhere. So now i found a good place and getting much better results
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jneff28
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Location: Illinois
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Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 11:38am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

emradguy Said:

Hey Josh,

You're steaming way too long, and not only likely scalding the milk, but ruining the microfoam you may already have made.  hands-on technique is only a method of replacing the thermometer inside the pitcher with your own sense of heat, and allowing you to approximate the cues by feel.

1) you haven't started frothing yet...cold milk in pitcher feels very cold on the outside and is around 35-40 degrees (depending on your refrigerator - unless you put your pitchers in the freezer).

2) you're stretching the milk...the milk is swirling in a vortex or roll in the pitcher and there's a whisper-like noise as you introduce air, but the pitcher still feels cold.

3) you're at the end of the stretch phase...skin temp is about 85 degrees (body core temp 98.6 - textbook).  Milk stretch ends at about 100 degrees (about when you begin to feel the pitcher is warm).  Most people say to stop stretching when the pitcher no longer feels cold and does not yet feel warm (that puts it at about skin temp - but remember there's a lag between heat transfer from the milk across the pitcher wall to your hand)

4) you're in the texturing phase...the vortex or roll is continuing, but you're no longer allowing air to be introduced to the milk.  The steam tip is either submerged, or it's held steady (no more pitcher lowering) just under the surface (my preferred method).  Either position needs to be accompanied by continued vortex/roll without additional introduction of air.

5) you're done and the steam needs to be shut off...the pitcher wall feels hot, possibly even too hot to hold (depends on temp wall thickness and rate of lag across it, and your skin's sensitivity to heat).  You should be around 135-145 degrees at this point. The end point will depend on how hot you like your drink and how long it's going to sit before you drink it (ie., go hotter for to-go cups).  Also, the milk temp will rise another 5-10 degrees after you stop steaming.  

If you want to train your mind/hand to feel each temp cue, you can do both hands-on and thermometer in pitcher for a while.

re, pitcher size:  the larger one may give you more waste, but it will also give you more time to interact with the milk.

Posted May 30, 2012 link

I wondered. That would explain that globulous glob that plops on out?
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 2:40pm
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

glad to hear your progress, Josh.  I used to have a Silvia v1 and had done the articulating wand upgrade.  It's really capable of making great foam, but as Wayne says, it's not too powerful and you really need to get the technique down to where you're able to have a continuous vortex.  My approximate wand angles were, rotated about 30 degrees off to the side and about 30 degrees off perpendicular (talking about the lowest straight segment here).  My pitcher was not tilted front or back, but the bottom rocked out to my right about 30 degrees.  I kept the wand tip about 1 cm towards the center from the side wall (using a radius line from about 7 o'clock position.  It game me a great vortex.


lol at Wayne sounding gruff...no worries, Man, and no offense taken! (as always, you made good points)  ;-)

 
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