I want to talk to you today about a technique I use to perfect my coffee steaming process, the thing is with milk steaming is that if you don't steam it correctly, it will come out watery and bubbly and flavour is quite thin. When you steam it correctly, you will get a nice thick creamy texture which is important when you are making a flat white, cappuccino, latte or even a piccolo. Practice, practice, practice - it does pay off. The problem however is that your going to go through a lot of milk practising. What I have found to be an excellent training aid is to use regular dish soap instead of milk. So, this is how I do it. Just grab some plain tap water and add one or two drops of regular dish soap.
the benefit here is that the dish soap will behave like milk will in texturing. You want to produce a nice creamy velvety texture to our milk. To do that we are going to plunge the ilk jug into the steam wand and we want to think of the process as being each time the bubble passes the steam want it is split in two, again and again and again - that's what produces that nice micro foam.
Give the steam wand a bit of a purge, start off with the steam wand buried right on the bottom and then just a bot off the bottom. so its only a centimetre or two off the bottom of the milk jug. Then, drop the jug off the steam wand so its just breaking the surface.
Keep on doing that until it gets to about 35 degrees Celsius, which is close enough to body temperature. we dont have to use a thermometer, but it helps. But I can feel, 35c is body temperature, and once it starts to get warm, I know I've gone beyond that. That's the point where I'll bury the steam wand into the milk just to continue the heating process. It's no longer splitting the milk and then turn the steam wand off.
Now with my babbling, i didn't get it as good as I'd like, you can see there is still some bubbles in there and with regular milk, a couple of taps would tap that out. <tap tap> ha! Interesting, but anyway. You can see there, it is a nice thick creamy texture.
Of course there is the wrong way to do it.. and I'll show you that now. So if I add water, and a couple of drops of dish soap rather than using milk. Come back over to the machine. Now you can see like they do it in the movies, lots of noise, lots of up and down action. It looks impressive - looks like you're making a coffee but what will happen is you end up with a bubbly mess - its thin and watery. I've exaggerated it a lot here, but you can see its not quite the consistency you're after. So when you pour that, you're going to get bubbles. So if you compare the two; one has thin watery texture, the other one is a much more smooth, velvety creamy texture.
So that's my technique, my little training aid - just regular dish soap with water and go to work and practice, practice, practice. that's going to to be the difference between a nice creamy velvety milk and a thin and watery milk.