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Is it possible to steam milk w/o an espresso machine?

I have a recipe that calls for steamed milk, and I was wondering if there was a way of doing it without acquiring a cappucino machine?

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  1. It would be easy with chemistry lab equipment. Otherwise, I'd warm the milk in a double boiler and live without foam.

    1. Steamin, not so much (not that I know, at alt east) but frothing is manageable, with a whisk and a strong arm, or with one of those electric frothers. You'd want to heat the milk first, thouh.

      1. Long ago I saw Jamie Oliver make lattes on television. He poured hot milk in a plastic quart milk jug, capped it, and shook it like crazy...

        1 Reply
        1. re: JKSea

          I saw the same show and tried it. You get foam but only for a very short time. And, be very careful when opening the lid.

        2. There are two things an espresso machine does to "steamed" milk. One is to heat it, the other is to create foam. You can heat milk on the stove or nuke it. You can create foam by putting heated skim or 2% milk in a blender, though this will produce MUCH finer "bubbles" than an espresso machine. I've never tried a food processor, but because of the slower speed, it MIGHT producer more espresso machine-like bubbles. An emersion blender might work too. In fact, now that I think of it, an emersion blender might work a lot better than a counter-top blender simply because you control the angle of the blade and how deep you emerse it. When steaming milk with an espresso machine, after you've heated the milk with the wand, it's the depth of the wand (just below the surface) that creates the froth. Yeah, an emersion blender might do the trick best of all! Or there's an old fashioned whisk if you want at least one buff arm, or even an old fashioned egg beater. Or, for about ten bucks or so, you can buy a hand held "frother" that you put in the milk and turn it on. I've never tried one though.

          In my experience, you really do get better "steamed" milk foam from an espresso machine, but it is tricky to produce until you master the technique. You can buy espresso machines with a steaming wand for under a hundred bucks. I've even seen them under fifty. If you really enjoy cappuccino, maybe now's the time to drop a few hints to Santa? '-)

          And yes, skim or 2% milk does foam better than whole milk or cream. MUCH better!

          1. What are you making? Chances are, you can just heat the milk in a pot and it will be fine - in fact, your recipe will be that much richer without the extra air! If froth is what you need, renz's suggestions would be mine as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Aloo0628

              Fiance just bought the FL cookbook, want to try coffee and doughnuts. Going to be getting a decent amount of stuff at Surfas for it, but an espresso maker just to get a little bit of steamed milk seems excessive.

              I'll probably just nuke some milk in the cup attachment to my immersion blender.

            2. If you have an IKEA near you, you can buy a frother in their Kitchen Department for $2. If not, you can buy an Aerolatte for $15. or so. Heat the milk, nuke it or use a stove, froth it and combine with coffee as you might make a cappucino. Very inexpensive way to make a good coffee drink.

              2 Replies
              1. re: EclecticEater

                Yup. What you need is a Frothig :-D

                D'oh. There I go answering ancient threads again.

                1. re: EclecticEater

                  I use the cheap IKEA frother. I usuallt brew a cup of coffee in my Bialetti moka pot. When it's ready, I pour some whole milk into a mug (maybe 1/4 full), microwave it for 30 seconds and use the frother. Then I pour the coffee into it. It's not a real latte, but it's close enough for me, and a cheaper way at home than buying an espresso machine.

                2. Yes, I tried the immersion blender (which is great, by the way, for EVERYTHING leftovers in soup). The immersion blender just made a great, frothy cup of chai tea with foam. I put water in a cup, filled half way, with a tea bag, then into the micro with water for 2-1/2 min, then in a separate cup, 2% milk, filled half way for the same amount of time. I put the blender in the hot milk on low then high, and voila! great froth on top of my tea with milk. MMMM you should be here to taste it! YUMMY! RECAP: fill one cup with water and tea bag, only HALF WAY. Fill the OTHER cup with milk, HALF WAY. Each goes in for 2-1/2 min, froth milk, then combine. MMMMMmmmmm

                  1. You can get a decent stabilized foam using the method I described at http://coffeebreak.today.com/2009/02/...

                    Basically, you pour cold milk into a covered jar, shake it vigorously for about 30 seconds, then microwave it to heat it up. You don't get "microfoam" but you do get foam that stays foamy long enough to enjoy your cappuccino.

                    1. if you heated the milk then whipperd with a hand beater you would het a similar result

                      1. immersion blender (or boat motor as we like to call it) works really well.

                        1. I have a great idea you might like to try - this will get foam but not heat, so maybe if you heat the milk and then do this: Pour a few centimeters (like 3 - 5) of milk into a french press if you have one and use the press up and down quickly for about 20 - 30 seconds. The small holes in the net will create lots of bubbles and foam but because the press doesn't go all the way to the bottom you'll also be left with some straight milk. That way you can pour your latte or cappuccino or macchiato with as much or little foam as you want!

                          1. My husband happened to see this thread and mentioned that it might be possible to mod out a tea kettle by attaching a potable-water safe piece of tubing and placing either a tapered tip (that tapers to a small point), or a piece of [foodsafe] screen over the end.......? The tubing would be found in the plumbing section. You would want to attach a gate valve to control your steam output.

                            One would attach the tube to the spout end of the pot, and boil water in the teapot on the stove as normal, then once you get a good bit of steam you could place the tip in the milk and froth away....?

                            Playing on that concept, I wonder if one could flavour or even just scent the steam water, if it would be noticeable at all. Perhaps in something like frothed sweetened milk with, say, a good deal of mint, or rose, or ginger, or some such thing to make a nice hot drink..... Now that I think about it, maybe one could put some sort of flavouring in the milk as well, say a bit of jam (heated with and dissolved in the milk or other dairy or frothable liquid) or vanilla.

                            1. Immersion blender.

                              Final answer, Regis.

                              1. Do you have the Magic Bullet? What I've been doing is putting milk 1/4 way up, then blending it for a total of 1 1/4 minutes. (45 seconds, then 30 seconds.) Then I put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds, just to where the milk starts to rise to the top of the cup. Pour it into coffee, and you'll get both the hot milk AND froth! I love it!
                                Hope this helps!

                                1. if u got espresso machine u can:)

                                  1. Do you have a french press? Heat the milk, pour in the press pot, and go nuts. It's the fastest way to do it.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: redips

                                      Using french press will make milk froth not steamed milk thry are diffrent;P

                                      1. re: kamranhagh

                                        That's not entirely true... Froth will be formed, but the hot milk below the froth will share similar properties as steamed milk as the emulsifying action of the mesh will aerate the milk. It is impossible to make "steamed milk" without a steam wand, but this is the next closest thing. An immersion blender will not provide the same aeration action, and therefore will not produce as well as a press pot.