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Better quality milk foam with sugar?


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3 replies to this topic

#1 slkinsey

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:50 AM

So, like many people I've been trying to get better at producing the right kind of pourable "latte art" milk foam over the years. This has involved such refinements as installing a three-hole steam tip on my Rancilio Silvia and switching from the "standard" 20 ounce milk pitcher to a much smaller 12 ounce milk pitcher. Both had a notable impact on my ability to consistently produce high quality milk foam. But still, perhaps depending on the quality, age and fat content of the milk I used, I wasn't able to get the creamy pourable microfoamed milk I wanted. Until now.

One day I was making cappuccino for myself and Mrs. slkinsey and realized we were out of clean demitasse spoons. And I figured that since we would ordinarily put a touch of sugar into the cup, why not add the sugar to the pitcher and steam it in to the milk. Well, this made a tremendous difference. The milk foam was the best I've made. I've continued this practice, and the consistency and quality of my milk foam has increased greatly.

Anyone try this? Observe this? Have any ideas why this might be so?
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#2 Chris Hennes

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 10:25 AM

Could you describe the difference between the foam made with and without sugar? Smaller bubbles in the one with sugar? More uniform bubble size?

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#3 slkinsey

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 10:47 AM

Not necessarily any different from the very best foamed milk with no additions. Just more consistently there. If I was hitting a 10 out of 10 maybe 60% of the time before, now it's 95% with a touch of sugar added.

ETA: to be more clear... before a typical problem might be milk with lots of medium-sized bubbles that would't break down, and an overall separation of the foam top from the milk below even in the pitcher. What you want is something that feels like thick milk, where there are tiny bubbles throughout, all of the milk is part of the foam, you can easily knock out a few larger bubbles and swirl everything together into a uniform pourable mass.

Edited by slkinsey, 15 October 2011 - 10:50 AM.

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#4 earlgrey_44

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 08:16 AM

Well, this made a tremendous difference. The milk foam was the best I've made. I've continued this practice, and the consistency and quality of my milk foam has increased greatly.

Anyone try this? Observe this? Have any ideas why this might be so?


Reading this today is the first I've heard of this practice - intriguing. I'll have to play with this and see what happens...