How to Froth Milk
Frothing milk at home can transform your latte experience. Here are five easy ways to froth milk and upgrade your latte.
Frothing Milk at Home
I make tea lattes fairly often at home but I don’t have a fancy espresso machine to steam milk to get that lovely froth.
I’ve tried five different methods that have given me varying degrees of success. I’ll go through each of them in this post.
What I’m aiming for is microfoam, the kind of velvety foam that you get using a steam wand from an espresso machine. The bubbles are so small that you can barely see them.
(This is the same kind of foam I try to achieve using a bamboo whisk when making matcha.)
It adds a rich mouthfeel and smooth texture that elevates the latte experience at home.
What I want to avoid is dry foam that has a lot of big bubbles.
Because the purpose of frothing is to add in air, I don’t like to use any method that requires an air-tight container like a jar or a bullet blender since it just creates a vacuum and can cause a big mess.
To froth milk, you need to start with heated milk.
I heat milk in a saucepan on a stovetop. Don’t leave the stovetop unattended since milk can easily boil, which is NOT what you want.
Simmer milk instead of boiling it and stir it occasionally to prevent that thin layer from appearing on top. Turn the heat off once you see steam coming from the milk.
A quicker method is to heat milk using a microwave. Start with 30 seconds, stir, then heat for another 15 seconds until the milk starts to steam.
Frothing Milk with a Handheld Milk Frother
I got my first handheld milk frother years ago to make Greek frappes and have since gone through multiple brands.
This frother is the best since it’s held up the longest without any issues. I have a Bodum one which works fine but it goes through batteries like crazy.
To create froth, you’re basically adding air into the milk. The milk frother whips around the milk to aerate and should double the volume of the milk.
After the whisk, the handheld milk frother will increase the volume of the milk, but as you can see, the froth isn’t so smooth and you can clearly see the bubbles.
I would recommend using this if you want something quick and easy to clean.
I just run the milk frother in a cup of water with some soap then rinse. It cleans it in seconds.
The froth is passable but not ideal.
Frothing Milk with an Immersion Blender
An immersion blender is basically a handheld milk frother on steroids.
It can make a mess so be sure to use a deep container otherwise you’ll end up with your own Jackson Pollack all over your wall and floor.
The immersion blender creates a ton of bubbles. Not good.
It did almost double the volume but no microfoam in sight. I would not recommend using an immersion blender.
“Pulled Tea” Method to Froth Milk
A method to create froth I’ve seen at a Malaysian cafe was by pouring a liquid from one container to another. They call it “pulled tea” and the more times you pour the liquid, the more air you end up adding, which is what we want.
I did get the milk to increase in volume but it created dry foam, not the microfoam I was aiming for.
I wouldn’t recommend this method since it makes too much of a mess AND the froth isn’t ideal.
How to Froth Milk in a French Press
Pour the hot milk (filling no more than a third of the container) into the French press and push and pull the plunger until the milk increases in volume.
It doesn’t take too much effort and froths the hot milk in less than a minute
The French press creates great microfoam. Lots and lots of little bubbles and your latte will have a smooth froth.
It doesn’t produce espresso machine quality froth but it’s close enough for home.
But the big drawback is the cleanup. It’s a lot of work to do extra dishes for one cup of latte.
The French press was the method I used when I wanted a nice froth and had the extra time.
Frothing Milk in an Automatic Milk Frother
This automatic milk frother was a game-changer for me. It creates THE BEST froth at home without having an espresso machine.
I use it almost every day in the winter to make matcha lattes.
This machine warms up the milk for you so no need to heat up milk on the stovetop or the microwave like all the other frothing methods above.
Pour in cold milk, set the temperature, and watch it froth the milk to perfection.
The automatic milk frother creates the best froth out of all the other methods. The froth is creamy and velvety.
Using this frother is my first choice when making lattes at home. I highly recommend it.