Major Bellman stovetop steamer breakthrough! - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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spressomon
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#11: Post by spressomon »

DaveB wrote:Sure. To save time, add an inch or two of boiling water. With a medium sized flame (or high setting on an electric or inductive stove), the relief valve should start hissing in 5 to 10 minutes. If it doesn't start hissing after say, 20 minutes...RUN!!!

All joking aside, the only safety concern I can think of would be if the relief valve somehow got blocked; it could concievably build pressure until it exploded violently. However these units have been on the market for many years, and if anything like that ever happened it would have been all over the internet. I'm not sure if it's even possible to build up enough scale to cause the relief valve to fail.
My Bellman isn't magnetic stainless; inductive burner won't work. Does your's work on induction burner?
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DaveB

#12: Post by DaveB » replying to spressomon »

I never thought to try - so just did. The induction cooker in the commercial kitchen next to my place works with cast iron and stainless steel-bottomed vessels, but they have to be a certain minimum width. Sure enough, the Bellmen is too narrow to stop the unit from issuing warning beeps and it won't heat. Here's a possible solution:



You could possibly use a smaller pan to good effect. I was already wondering about using some sort of diffusion plate when on the gas stove to keep the flames at bay. One thing about the induction cooker is it heats up stuff FAST. If you put your fingers on a thick cast iron pan when cold and turn on the induction cooker, in surprisingly few seconds it will be too hot to touch - WAY faster than on one of the mighty Montague's giant burners going full blast with its high blue flames. It's pretty surreal. If I get bored I'll try to find an optimal vessel to put under the Bellman and time it relative to my gas stove. 8)
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jgood

#13: Post by jgood »

cidadao wrote:thanks for the tips - as a prospective buyer of the bellman stovetop unit, i thought i'd ask here: have any you found a way to overcome potential safety hazards with this steamer? i've read on other threads to leave the main valve open a wee tad, which would provide two potential pathways for the escape of excess pressure, but still i'd like to know what, practically, one might do to minimize the risk of accident. i don't plan to leave the thing unattended, of course, but feel a bit reluctant to bring any pressurized vessel into my small home kitchen. also: any secret retailers of the bellman i might not know about? prima coffee is out till June.
Basically I heat the Bellman up until the pressure relief valve starts to hiss -- that way you know there's full steam pressure going. I'm not sure what safety precautions you refer to -- obviously don't fill it up too far -- the pressure release value needs to be in air or steam to work, not water. And don't leave it unattended for too long. Also do make sure the cap is tightened down well as if there's a little gap the pressure will blow past the gaskets and the machine will take off like a jet -- or a hot bomb -- that's dangerous. Don't ask how I know that!

deity6667

#14: Post by deity6667 »

spressomon wrote:My Bellman isn't magnetic stainless; inductive burner won't work. Does your's work on induction burner?
Mine works on induction but you have to position it very carefully moving it around slowly to find a spot it must engage enough of the coils. I can only get one burner to reliably work and damn it's quick with induction.

DaveB

#15: Post by DaveB » replying to deity6667 »

I was wondering if a smaller diameter stand-alone induction cooker would work; a quick search found this:

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/eurodi ... gLbufD_BwE

It can take vessels as small as 4 3/4 in diameter, I checked the Bellman and it's 4 1/8 - possibly close enough. FWIW, the big Update cooker does take pans/pots much smaller than its recommended 12" minimum, so I'm thinking somthing like this unit might work. I'm thinking a small iron skillet could be heated up to blazing hot while the water is pre-boiling. Stay tuned for further testing. 8)
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monkeygrinder

#16: Post by monkeygrinder »

DaveB wrote:A Interestingly, I didn't get any large bubbles but kept in open for appox. 10 seconds anyway. I waited till the pressure built up again to hissing, turned the heat down to low, did a quick purge, and prepared to steam. With exactly 4 oz milk in my small Cafelat pitcher, I got an immediate whirlpool going with good control, and I ended up with most excellent microfoam ...
Dave, I tried a variation on your method today with my La Pavoni "Bellman knock-off" (pretty sure it's the same). I immersed the tip in cold water, ran it for maybe 5 seconds. After that, I did not re-pressurize, but just attempted to steam ~5 oz milk. I still got some large bubbles, but not as many as before, and there was some honest-to-God microfoam along with it!

Can you tell me where the tip is when you start steaming milk? Everyone advises "tip just below the surface", but on the Bellman are we talking about the steam holes just below, or the entire tip? Other advice I've heard is that the tip needs to be high enough for you to hear a "kissing sound", meaning you have air incorporation occurring. I'm just trying to get the right balance and not get any large bubbles.

My other variable is I'm attempting to use 2% milk, which is controversial. . But I'm not sure that would be a factor for larger bubbles.


Thanks!

DaveB

#17: Post by DaveB »

I think you need to submerge the wand for a lot longer than 5 seconds. I think 20-30 seconds would be good. I found that with less rebound time there wasn't enough power to get a good whirlpool going even with the small amount of milk (4 oz). I'm still experimenting so I don't have anything definitive yet, but I found that letting it rebound with medium heat for at least 10-15 seconds gave better results. Even if your results aren't great while you're getting it dialed, you can pour the milk back and forth a couple times into a pre-heated 2nd pitcher - and this will improve the texture a good bit.

Edit to add: I steam just like any other machine - with the tip/holes just below the surface. With the optimum amount of cooling and rebound you can open full blast and get a good whirlpool going right away. If you are getting large bumbles, you probably didn't cool in cold water long enough.
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monkeygrinder

#18: Post by monkeygrinder »

Well, that technique does help. I still am getting some small bubbles on the surface right when I open the valve and before the whirlpool starts, but it's better than before. I'm quite new to this so likely just need to experiment. I do notice that even with the entire tip submerged, if the valve is more than halfway open, this thing is screeching like a banshee!

I also verified the findings of several of you, where I steamed a second batch right afterward, and got excellent results.

Something else that might help: I've been getting by with a Pyrex measuring cup so far, but a proper steaming pitcher will be arriving on Friday. :)

DaveB

#19: Post by DaveB »

monkeygrinder wrote:I also verified the findings of several of you, where I steamed a second batch right afterward, and got excellent results.
This is something I had been wondering before the "breakthrough": What would happen if you took the exact same amount of water at the same temp as the milk (40ºF), pretended you were steaming milk for the same duration of time, and then did whatever you normally do before the 2nd pitcher magically comes out perfect. So is the magical 2nd pitcher part of 2 drinks in rapid succession? And what's happening with the Bellman doing the next shot prep? Is the burner still on? Is the steam as powerful as the first pitcher? Etc, etc. Still trying to understand the "why" of how this works.
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spressomon
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#20: Post by spressomon »

^ same here! Can't figure out the "why". But its fairly consistent where subsequent milk steaming after the first one is pure blissful microfoam that makes my Slayer take notice :D. I've given up trying to figure out "why".
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