Can You Get Decent Frothed Milk Manually?

hand-frothed cream

I find myself temporarily without a steamer - now that the espresso maker is back, the steamer has decided to lose its seal. Until I find a way to replace the gasket, I'm without my usual indulgence -- cappuccino. Or I was. Yesterday, I decided to try volumizing my cream for cappuccino manually and... While the picture is decidedly poor quality and that certainly is not latte art by any stretch of the imagination, you can see that the cream is definitely volumized and thick and just about the perfect texture. Woohoo!

And seriously? It's easier and takes less time than steaming the milk with the steam wand. All you need is a fairly deep, fairly narrow glass container and a small hand whisk that fits into the container. Turns out the one that came with my electric mixer -- and which I never ever use -- is almost the perfect size to stand up straight in one of the coffee mugs my mother picked up at the recycling center. I know. That doesn't give you much to go on. Essentially, you want the whisk to fit the container just a little less snugly than the plunger in a French press. That is -- not quite but almost touching the sides.

How You Froth Cream for Your Coffee Manually

  • Pour your milk or cream (I use about 1 oz.) into a microwave-safe glass cup, mug or jar.
  • Nuke for about 30 seconds. You want the milk hot but not simmering.
  • Remove the glass from the microwave. Put the whisk upright into the cup of milk until it touches the bottom.
  • Hold the whisk handle between your two palms and roll it rapidly back and forth until the milk is the desired consistency - 30 to 60 seconds.

I've been doing it while my espresso maker is heating up so the milk is ready to pour when the shot is pulled and it's been delightful! I may not even bother fixing the steam wand.

What have you discovered when your machine broke down? 

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