What Are The Best And The Worst Kinds Of Milk For Frothing?
There’s a lot that goes into a perfect cup of coffee than just the coffee itself.
And milk and frothing play a huge role in the taste and even aesthetic of your coffee.
In this article, we’ll learn the best milk types and practices for frothing.
What Makes a Good Frothing Milk?
The best frothing milk is made from whole milk, not skimmed or nonfat milk. Whole milk contains fat molecules that help create foam when heated. Skimmed and nonfat kinds of milk lack these fat molecules, so they don’t produce foam.
Whole milk is also better than skimmed or nonfat because it contains lactose, which helps create foam. Lactose is found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and butter. So, if you’re looking for the best frothing milk, go with whole milk.
However, there are some exceptions. Some people prefer skimmed milk over whole milk because skimmed milk has fewer calories and less cholesterol. But, if you’re trying to lose weight, then skimmed milk might be a better option.
Another exception is soy milk. Soy milk is very popular among vegans, vegetarians, and those who avoid dairy products. However, most soy milk brands contain added sugars and artificial flavors, which may cause digestive problems.
The Science Behind Milk Frothing
Milk contains proteins called casein micelles. Among those proteins are ones that are hydrophobic and hydrophilic.
Hydrophobic = water repellent
Hydrophilic = attracted to water.
These proteins make frothing possible when milk is heated.
These proteins act as tiny sponges that absorb water that captures air.
The process of frothing is basically introducing air to the milk, and the proteins expand and create bubbles or foam, aka froth.
In cold milk, these proteins are clumped together. Heating loosens up the proteins in milk.
The proteins in warm milk can expand and accept the air that’s introduced through steam or mixing.
Why Are Some Milk Different From Others?
The frothing process and stabilization rely heavily on milk proteins.
There are as many differences as there are many varieties in milk.
Milk comes in many varieties, including whole milk, skimmed milk, 2% milk, 1%, nonfat milk, and soy milk. Each type of milk has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Whole milk contains fat, which gives it a creamy texture and makes it great for making lattes and shakes.
The difference that affects the results of frothing in different milk is the fat content in the milk. Some milk has more fat content.
As mentioned above, there is a hydrophobic protein in the milk. That milk attaches to the air rather than the liquid in the milk, and that makes frothing possible and stable.
That same protein can attach to fat rather than air and cause the froth to be thinner.
List of The Best Milk For Frothing
Almond milk is one of the best non-dairy milk alternatives to use for frothing.
Almond milk has much less fat than other milk, so it creates smaller, thinner foam bubbles. But it creates stable and long-lasting bubbles making it perfect for latte art.
You don’t need to heat almond milk as hot as regular cow’s milk because you can froth it up at 130 degrees F instead.
Almond milk taste sweeter and may also come flavored. This means that it adds extra sweetness to the mix.
This milk has a decent level of proteins, so it works well for creating thick, creamy, and stable coffee art. For reference, cow’s milk has eight grams of proteins, and soy milk has seven grams.
You’ll still need to worry about glycerin, but not as much compared to whole milk.
Many coffee shops and baristas prefer using soy milk as an alternative to milk because it holds its form better and has fewer calories.
Soy milk also works great for those who suffer from lactose intolerance or prefers dairy-free plant-based milk.
Soy milk is one of the best vegan milk options for frothing.
Oat milk is another great option for lactose-free frothing. It also adds superb flavor.
Oat milk contains a lot of protein and fat that are needed for frothing. Oat milk creates the same texture and flavor as whole milk foam.
That’s why oat milk and oat milk foam are the more popular dairy alternatives, thanks to their superior flavor and creaminess.
However, because oat milk, like most nut milk varieties, mostly consists of water, it doesn’t hold the foamed milk as long as cow’s milk.
There’s nothing like the taste of whole milk when it comes to frothing.
It creates an incredibly satisfying consistency of foam and the best thickness of froth.
Whole milk froths better than any other kind of milk because it contains more fat. It creates a more stable foam that’s ideal for later art or beverages that require more foam.
You can use 2 percent milk if you want something with less fat. Although, it produces thinner foams.
Worst Milk for Frothing
There are a handful of coconut milk brands that are usable for froth, but most of them are not ideal for frothing. Coconut milk is usually too thin and watered down, which is a common issue with nut milk.
Coconut Milk also has a very distinct flavor that carries over into your coffee.
If you’re a coconut milk fan, the overwhelming coconut flavor probably fine with you, but it can overpower the flavor of the coffee.
If you choose to use coconut milk, try whole fat coconut milk from cartons – they create the most decently thick froth for coconut milk.
You can make a very thin foam with cashew milk. The foam will have less stable and larger bubbles. Some describe the larger air bubbles from cashew milk as a “soapy foam texture.”
You also need to worry about the taste of cashew milk if you’re not fond of it.
Again, like with other nut milk, macadamia milk doesn’t produce a great froth. There are brands that designed and augmented macadamia milk to froth a bit better.
Rice milk doesn’t froth well at all due to its low fat and protein content.
Foam is one of the most important parts of your latte, so it’s essential to do it right.
There’s nothing worse than making perfect coffee and expecting a flawless cappuccino and then ruining the entire drink at the last stage when you added a poor-quality milk froth.
There are a lot of milk options to add to your coffee, but not as much for frothing.
Fresh milk is key to getting great foam. You can also use whole milk or 2%.
Some non-dairy milk work well too, but you’ll have a harder time getting the perfect froth for your perfect drink.
Milk should be heated to scalding first or hot to the touch but not simmering. Also, be careful not to burn the milk. Burned milk can not only cause frothing problems but will also affect the flavor.
Make sure the milk is warm enough before you start frothing to get the best results.
Also, you don’t actually need any fancy devices to froth milk. Of course, it could also go down to your milk frothing skills.
A high-quality milk frother or steam wand is ideal, but you can froth milk in a normal blender, French press, and even a whisk.
The general idea is to just introduce and trap as much air into your warm milk with lots of rapid mixing and create milk bubbles.
In the end, what the best milk is will depend on your preference. You can always experiment with real milk to milk alternatives to see which is the best types of milk work and what types of milk froth is for you, specifically.
As long as you enjoy your cozy drink, all is well!