Just about everyone loves to have some form of coffee in the mornings, especially when they are first trying to wake up.
For some people, it’s generally easier to go to the café and get some coffee this way, but for many other people, this is inconvenient and expensive, which naturally leads to the solution of learning how to prepare your favorite coffee drink at home.
However, there are some problems that come with this, such as when you need to prepare the milk that goes into your coffee in a specific manner.
This is usually more common when you need to have frothed milk or milk that has been prepared in a steamer. Not everyone has the equipment needed to get this done at home.
The matter becomes even more complicated when you are using an alternative milk compared to standard cow dairy milk.
Because these milks often have different properties to them, it can be hard to figure out how to properly steam an alternative milk (such as almond milk) on its own, and especially so when you are trying to find an alternative to using a steamer.
Thankfully, though, it still remains relatively easy to steam almond milk as its properties are similar enough to standard milk that you do not need to do anything special to it, even if you do not have a steamer that you can use.
Some techniques will require the use of a microwave, while other techniques may require the use of a French press.
The Goal of Steamed Milk
To better understand why people steam their milk, you need to know what the end goal is. This will help you find the best way to recreate steamed milk, even if you don’t have a steaming wand.
More often than not, the overall goal of steaming milk is to get a frothy, airy texture to the milk to enhance certain coffee drinks. The easiest way to do this is to, naturally, add steam to the milk so that it expands.
Even if you don’t have a steamer, there are ways to introduce volume to your milk, whether that is through whisking it, using a French press, or utilizing the microwave to help get it a bit warmer, not unlike the way that steamers help with fixing milk.
Some of these methods may not work as well with almond milk, as almond milk has slightly different properties compared to your standard cow’s milk.
When all is said and done, though, there are two main ways that people will recreate a steamed texture to their milk. That will either be by hand or by the use of external appliances (such as a microwave or a French press).
With this being said, the only way to get the nice, heated, “steamed” milk is to make use of the microwave. This will produce the heated effect that steamed milk generally has, so keep this in mind if you aren’t keen on using the microwave.
Making Heated, Steamed Milk in the Microwave
To make “steamed” milk in the microwave, all you really have to do is shake up the almond milk and then place it in the microwave for a little bit. The shaking helps to add air bubbles to the milk and you can accomplish the same effect with a French press, a whisk, or even a blender if you really wanted to.
The reason why you want to create these air bubbles is that, once exposed to the heat of the microwave, they will expand to create that frothy and foamy texture to steamed milk that everyone is after.
This is a universal effect that comes from heating up the milk, but it just so happens that in lieu of a steam wand, using the microwave is generally the easiest way to get the job done.
First things first; you are going to want to introduce the air bubbles to the almond milk. The easiest way to do this, and the way to do this with the fewest tools, is to pour the almond milk into a lidded microwave-safe container.
You will typically only need four to eight ounces of milk for any standard coffee that you are making, but make sure that the jar you are using will have enough room in it for the expanded milk.
As a general rule of thumb, you will want the milk to reach no more than the halfway point of the container; otherwise, you could expect it to spill over the edge.
You will then want to make sure that the lid on the jar is securely tightened, and then you will want to vigorously shake the container for 30 to 60 seconds until you have the desired amount of air bubbles and foam.
The more you shake it, the more bubbles you can expect, meaning that it will expand more in the microwave.
Then, all you have to do is remove the lid of the jar, place the jar into the microwave, and then microwave it for approximately 30 seconds to make sure that the milk is at the desired temperature and that the foam bubbles have stabilized into the steamed milk that you are after.
Substitutions You Can Make
Of course, this isn’t the only way to achieve frothy milk. Rather than shaking the container, you could use a whisk to get the same effect, which can be helpful if you do not have a lidded container that you can use to keep the milk from spilling everywhere.
If you have a French press, you can achieve the same effect through this as well. With this method, you will want to heat the milk up on the stove first, rather than the microwave.
Your goal temperature should be about 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), or at a warm temperature but not too hot to the touch.
You can also use a blender to achieve the same effect, but because blenders tend to be far more vigorous than people are, you should only use the blender for no more than 30 seconds at a time to reach the desired level of foaminess.
Blenders can also make it a bit harder to gauge exactly how foamy the milk has gotten, so use the blender with relative caution.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.