Frothed Milk VS Steamed Milk – Learn the Differences

Are you one of the home baristas currently learning the skills on how to making the perfect cup of coffee? If you are an aspiring barista, then you must have had this question at one point or another: what is the difference between frothed milk vs steamed milk?

This can be perplexing for newbies in the coffee making world, since they cannot see the eccentricities of the two processes. The process of preparing milk can have a huge impact on the type of beverage you want to drink.

Avoid heating milk at high temperature to save time. It will only create a bad taste and ruin your cup of Joe.

It is, therefore, important to know the difference between frothed milk vs steamed milk. In this overview, we will also look at how they are both prepared, and the right equipment to use.

What is Frothed Milk?

Steamed milk and frothed milk are alike to some degree.

In the world of coffee making, “frothed” produced is categorized as “dry” in the meaning. This signifies that due to its foamy texture, it is less watery, fluffier, lofty and can hold its shape.

Creating this froth is really easy. You add air to the fluid using a steam wand, frother or a similar equipment.

A container that can not only be closed easily but can also be shaken, will help it easier for you to make frothed milk. Using a blender or a French press can really help you out with this.

Types of Frothers You Can Use

If you want to make large foam, then it is best for you to buy a handheld frother. It is a clean, compact and convenient to use device. Most of the models are portable and use batteries to function.

You can also go for the stovetop type of frother. These are electronic machines and are powerful, offering various modes of operation. They are more towards the pricey side compared to the handheld appliances, but they function with a press of button and can switch off automatically.

How to Make Frothed Milk?

Frothed milk can be made by aerating milk – this means by adding the air bubbles. This aeration process creates the froth or foam. The entire purpose of making this milk is to achieve a particular consistency and texture.

It gives a creamy and airy mouthfeel to milk based drinks. The high-quality foam is fluffy and thick.

Foam is a fundamental part of some drinks, such as cappuccinos. They consist of 1/3 foam. They won’t even be called cappuccinos if there is no foam in them. The foam can also go into cold drinks such as iced cappuccinos. It gives them texture and complexity.

It is an easy task to make frothed milk while at home. A jar or whisk can be used, or a dedicated milk frother can be bought for this purpose, like handheld frother as mentioned above.

Milk has to be heated separately for hot drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos etc. as the basic frothing does not include heat. Electronic milk frothers can also be used that heat as well as froth the milk for you. They also have temperature settings for warm, hot or cold froth.

What is Steamed Milk?

Steamed milk has its differences from the frothed milk in that it’s always hot and it creates better and more gentle foam – which is also called microfoam. This “foam” is not anything like the bubbly foam in cappuccinos.

Steaming the milk makes it somewhat aerated, it creates small bubbles of air. Steaming makes it heavier also and gives it a smooth and silky texture.

What Drinks Use Steamed Milk?

A lot of drinks such as mochas, lattes and hot chocolate use the steamed milk. It plays a very important role as it makes the drinks smooth, and creamy. The microfoam creates latte art.

How to Make Steamed Milk?

Characteristically, a milk steam wand makes steamed milk. They can be found on various espresso machines. Not just that, the higher-priced coffee makers also have milk steam wand. The electric milk steamers can also be bought.

In this procedure, milk is brought in contact with pressurized steam, retaining the liquid density. The dairy product is texturized and heated by the steam concurrently.

The lactic sugar is heated and fats are broken down. As the liquid is stirred equally, the bubbles are formed that are uniform and are called “microfoam”. When poured in a cup, this milk has reflective shine.

Steam wand is used for heating and making foam in your drink.

Milk Frother VS Steamer

When we compare milk frother vs steamer, both devices give a strong competition. They are essentially the same, but frothers have two whisks – one is used for frothing and the other is used for steaming. Both devices are multi-functional and can make beverages that are not milk-based.

Let’s have a look at the milk processing procedures in the machines.

Preparing Foamed Milk

In order to make a frothed produced and produce foam, you require a small quantity of milk, it can be either hot or cold, its volume will be enhanced 2-3 times.

Developing the Texture

Mix or shake the product so the texture can be developed. Due to these rapid movements, the milk becomes aerated. When it’s aerated, it turns into foam. After this procedure, you will notice that the milk is divided into two separate layers. One is milk, and the other is foam with large bubbles.

When the milk is poured in the coffee, foam will be on top and won’t dissipate. It’s soft and spreads rapidly. You can feel the parting of layers when you drink coffee.

Both the milk types can be prepared using the same devices. The froth has to be more aerated. Even if it’s a manual or automatic frother, the liquid must have even texture.

Using a Steam Wand for Preparing Foamed Milk

If a steam wand is used, position the tip close to the liquid’s surface. This way, more air can be added constantly, almost like stretching the milk. When the volume has increased, jug must be lowered so that end of the wand is held below liquid’s surface.

Key Points While Frothing Milk

There are some important factors that play a significant role in milk frothing. Let us tell you what are those:

  • All milk types don’t produce large quantity of foam. It is advised to use cold milk. Cold milk gives better and long-lasting froth. If hot milk is needed, then temperature must be between 140 – 150 F (60 – 65 degrees C).
  • Non-fat dairy and skimmed products are good with frothing. They give a light foam, which doesn’t stay for long. For a creamy froth, whole milk is the best. It gives a thick foam, that stays for a long time. Non-fat products aren’t as flavorful compared to the whole ones.
  • Steam wand must be cleaned so that a better, thick and high-quality froth can be produced when you make a beverage.

Preparing Steamed Milk

The difference between steamed milk vs frothed milk is that steamed milk has a heavier texture. The method with which it is prepared does not require aeration.

The tip of steam wand is to be held under the liquid’s surface. It has to be positioned in a way so that vortex is created in the pitcher and product is spun. This heats the liquid evenly.

Next the jar must be tilted, this enables the lactic product and foam to mix and make a soft texture.

Flavor and texture is developed from steaming, whereas thickness and body is created from frothing.

Key Points While Steaming Milk

Here are some important points while steaming milk:

  • You should always use cold milk. This means that it won’t boil right away while steaming. The fluid must not be overheated or even boiled as this will have an effect on the beverage’s taste.
  • In order to get a good quality product, you need about 20-60 seconds. It is dependent on the equipment used by you; the steamer, wand or attachments that go with the coffee maker.
  • The temperature of dairy product should not go above 160 F (70 degrees C). If it goes beyond this temperature, it will lose the sweetness, proteins will be denatured and micro-foam won’t be produced. It’s better to use a calibrated thermometer for indicating the temperature of product.
  • The drink will have its sweet taste and will be full of lactose between 150 – 160 F (65 – 70 degrees C). The steaming should be stopped when the temperature of liquid rises between 135 – 140 F (55 – 60 degrees C).
  • Keep in mind that while any type of milk can be used, whole milk is always better as compared to skimmed milk.

Wrapping Up Our Guide on Frother Milk VS Steamed Milk

To sum it up, frother milk is known to have more volume with considerable amount of foam. On the other side, steamed milk is aerated in a way that it produces lesser amount of microfoam.

Before choosing the appliance that you need for making the coffee drink of your choice, first find out what milk state you want. If you prefer your drinks with a solid texture of milk and microfoam, then go for a steamer.

However, if you like your beverage with thick froth (hot or cold), then go for a frother.

We hope that this guide helped with getting clearer and better understanding the differences between frothed milk vs steamed milk.