Foaming milk

Okay, you have now submerged your wand into your milk and turned it on.  The next step is the hardest step in steaming milk and it just takes practice.  You want to bring the wand up (well in fact you lower the pitcher down, but relatively speaking it is the same as raising the wand) until it is just below the surface of the milk.  Here is where the sound is key.  It should sound like Tst- tst – tst.  It should not be loud.  You should be able to hold a conversation over the noise of the machine during steaming.  I am usually concentrating too hard to have a real conversation, but it is more because I am focused on the milk than the noise from the machine.

This is one of the two phases called foaming or stretching and the next phase is called texturing.  

If you are creating any big bubbles you are allowing the wand to get too close to the top of the milk.  The faster you can go from fully submerged to just under the surface the better.  This takes practice and experience and again it is better to take longer getting to that spot than to accidentally pull down to fast and create any large bubbles.

The first phase of stretching the milk should be continued until the milk is at about 100 degrees F.  You will find if you want to do this without a thermometer the goal is to detect that this happens when the jug no longer feels cold to the touch (because it has arrived at the temperature of your body).

I tried to find a good video with this sound demonstrated in it and most videos have music piped in or no sound, so it took a while, but here is a video where you do hear the tsk-tsk sound.  It occurs roughly from 4:01-4:11 in the video.  (I could not find one where it happened earlier).

Once you get to this stage you are ready for the next one – texturing.

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