Steaming milk with sugar: Clumps!

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N6GQ

#1: Post by N6GQ »

So I enjoy adding a touch of sugar and vanilla to the milk before I steam/froth it for my lattes. I like the extra sweetness beyond the regular milk sugars and I think the sugar adds a bit of texture as well.

I notice though that I sometimes get clumps in my frothed milk. Its not predictable (to me) - sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, and when it does, its not predictable how bad its going to be. Sometimes its one small 1/2" clump, other times its 2 or 3 1" clumps.

I don't *think* I'm doing anything differently.

My technique is raw sugar in bottom of stainless pitcher, then maybe 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, then milk, then steam/froth to about 145F. I do the typical stretching to about 100F, then dip the tip for the ride to 140-150F.

I'm learning a new machine that has a ton of steam power so this process of start to finish for about 6-8 ounces of milk goes by REALLY quickly, so thats why its hard to know if I'm doing mych differently.

I know I could add the sugar/vanilla in after the milk is steamed but I like to think I'm homogenizing the whole thing :mrgreen:

Any thoughts/suggestions? Anyone else have milk clumps?
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MB

#2: Post by MB »

I have a sweet tooth and I steam with plain white sugar in the milk, but no vanilla. Have been doing so with a Europiccola (weak steamer), Londinium 1 (a beast steamer), and a cheap Mr. Coffee steamer I use for frothing at work. Never had any clumps over the past few years. Maybe the addition of the vanilla is the culprit?
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N6GQ

#3: Post by N6GQ »

MB wrote:I have a sweet tooth and I steam with plain white sugar in the milk, but no vanilla. Have been doing so with a Europiccola (weak steamer), Londinium 1 (a beast steamer), and a cheap Mr. Coffee steamer I use for frothing at work. Never had any clumps over the past few years. Maybe the addition of the vanilla is the culprit?
Hm, thanks for that - I'll give it a whirl and see if leaving the vanilla out will fix it. That would be much easier than leaving the sugar out!
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sweaner
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#4: Post by sweaner »

Maybe try adding the sugar and syrup AFTER adding the milk to the pitcher?
Scott
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N6GQ

#5: Post by N6GQ » replying to sweaner »

Right, certainly worth a go. Thanks. I'll see if I can get beyond the clumps!
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CwD

#6: Post by CwD »

What size is the raw sugar? I've never used it for coffee drinks, so never tried to steam it, but my raw sugar take more time to dissolve in milk (for vanilla milk, actually) than the typically smaller white sugar.

You could either try finer sugar or use a food processor or something on your sugar.

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N6GQ

#7: Post by N6GQ » replying to CwD »

Ya, the raw sugar granules are much larger than plain white sugar.

Although, as suggested, pouring the milk first, then adding sugar/vanilla into the milk seems to have fixed the problems. 2 or 3 steams so far and no clumping so I'm hoping that's a fix. :mrgreen:
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Nunas
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#8: Post by Nunas »

Glad to hear you've solved the problem. Just a comment...I think you may find further improvement by cutting back a tad on the heat. if you are using a typical analogue thermometer, cutting off the steam at 140 F will result in finished milk that is about 145, due to the lag in the thermometer. If you're using a low mass thermocouple then this suggestion would not apply. 73 VA7IU

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N6GQ

#9: Post by N6GQ » replying to Nunas »

Yes, I use a ThermoWorks thermometer, its pretty fast but I do shut down the steam around 140 - I'm using an HX with a ton of steam so I've seen it rise very quickly!
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mlim18

#10: Post by mlim18 »

What if you made a sugar/vanilla simple syrup? Try using a 2:1 sugar to water ratio w/ vanilla to taste.