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Date: 19 Mar 2007 11:44:50
From: DADGAD
Subject: Steaming technique
I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
"creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
into the espresso.
Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
--- > Ed





 
Date: 21 Mar 2007 09:53:15
From: seastl
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
On 19 2007 11:44:50 -0700, "DADGAD" <e.lowenstein@att.net > wrote:

>I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
>a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
>"creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
>read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
>temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
>into the espresso.
>Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
>---> Ed

I haven't had any problem with the milk. I do the following with good
success, but it doesn't mean it's the only way, or the preferred way, or
even an acceptable method. Comments welcomed because I plan on learning up
til the end :-)

Dry out the steam by cracking the valve as the boiler heats up to steaming
temp and bleed until the steam is just dry.

Fill *cold* 16oz or 20oz (these sizes are probably best for learning)
stainless steel pitcher with 1/3 to 2/3 2% *cold* milk depending on how
much you will need. Place a thermometer in the milk. (You can give up the
thermometer eventually once you get the feel - keep your holding hand
around the pitcher so you can feel the milk heating up. This is why
stainless steel pitchers are preferred).

Place steam wand in lower portion of milk and open about 1/8th turn. Tilt
pitcher and angle the tip until you can form a vortex in the milk.

Lower the pitcher until you just *slightly* slurp some air into the milk
at the bottom of the vortex (you may need to start raising the pitcher to
get the vortex started). The more you slurp in, the thicker the foamed
milk will be at the end. If necessary, you can move the tip around (and
vortex with it) to combine any air bubbles standing on top back into the
milk. Just be careful not to entrain any more air than necessary when
doing that (the last bit takes the practice).

Try to have the above portion completed by about 80-90F degrees on the
thermometer or less.

Then, I usually straighten out the pitcher, keep the tip in the lower
portions and crack the steam wide open and create a lot of turbulence
while raising the milk temp up to 145-150F.

When you finish steaming, it's easy to forget to turn the steam switch off
- try and get a routine for remembering to turn it off.

***

All this raises another issue and I haven't heard many people commenting
on one way or the other. The Sylvia steam wand is on the right of the
machine. Most other single machines up the chain are on the left (not
all). All of my machines' wands ironically have been on the right, so I
haven't faced the issue, but has anyone ever been put out by the steam
wand on one side vs the other? Just curious...

Brad


  
Date: 21 Mar 2007 10:34:50
From: seastl
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
On Wed, 21 2007 09:53:15 -0500, seastl <<reserved@later.date.com >>
wrote:

>On 19 2007 11:44:50 -0700, "DADGAD" <e.lowenstein@att.net> wrote:
>
>>I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
>>a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
>>"creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
>>read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
>>temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
>>into the espresso.
>>Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
>>---> Ed

(Sorry - edited for at least one error and one omission . . .)

I haven't had any problem with the milk. I do the following with good
success, but it doesn't mean it's the only way, or the preferred way, or
even an acceptable method. Comments welcomed because I plan on learning up
til the end :-)

Dry out the steam by cracking the valve as the boiler heats up to steaming
temp and bleed until the steam is just dry.

Fill *cold* 16oz or 20oz (these sizes are probably best for learning)
stainless steel pitcher with 1/3 to 2/3 2% *cold* milk depending on how
much you will need. Place a thermometer in the milk. (You can give up the
thermometer eventually once you get the feel - keep your holding hand
around the pitcher so you can feel the milk heating up. This is why
stainless steel pitchers are preferred).

Place steam wand in lower portion of milk and open about 1/8th turn. Tilt
pitcher and angle the tip until you can form a vortex in the milk.

Lower the pitcher until you just *slightly* slurp some air into the milk
at the bottom of the vortex (you may need to start *lowering* the pitcher
to get the vortex started). The more you slurp in, the thicker the foamed
milk will be at the end. If necessary, you can move the tip around (and
vortex with it) to combine any air bubbles standing on top back into the
milk. Just be careful not to entrain any more air than necessary when
doing that (the last bit takes the practice).

Try to have the above portion completed by about 80-90F degrees on the
thermometer or less.

Then, I usually straighten out the pitcher, keep the tip in the lower
portions and crack the steam wide open and create a lot of turbulence
while raising the milk temp up to 145-150F. This creates volume and
texture based on the amount of air you introduced.

When you finish steaming, it's easy to forget to turn the steam switch off
- try and get a routine for remembering to turn it off.

Crack the steam wand with the water switch on (until you get water) to top
off the boiler again.

***

All this raises another issue and I haven't heard many people commenting
on one way or the other. The Sylvia steam wand is on the right of the
machine. Most other single machines up the chain are on the left (not
all). All of my machines' wands ironically have been on the right, so I
haven't faced the issue, but has anyone ever been put out by the steam
wand on one side vs the other? Just curious...

Brad


 
Date: 20 Mar 2007 21:19:52
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
On 19, 2:44 pm, "DADGAD" <e.lowenst...@att.net > wrote:
> I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
> a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
> "creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
> read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
> temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
> into the espresso.
> Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
> ---> Ed


I do - go by smell and sound, don't want any smell to the milk,
especially burnt, and there's distinct pops to a larger and
undesirable bubbling sound once the milk is pretty well frothed and
finished. 2 minutes is too long. Somewhere between 15 to 30 seconds
is all it takes. I use just a little milk in the bottom of a 9oz
goblet, which must be angled correctly, or the steamer blows milk out
the glass. Might be a little hotter than 160, but wouldn't want it
much cooler. Makes for a slow but not short sip.



 
Date: 20 Mar 2007 09:08:33
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
On 20, 3:36 am, kyem...@gmail.com wrote:
> 200 is too high. Don't go over 160. Depending on the volume of the
> milk, the entire process should not take 2 mins. Try making sure the
> milk is very cold. Also different type will give you different
> results. Read up on the tutorials on milk frothing on the net. That
> will help.


Depends on how much milk you're trying to steam too. I find the Sylvia
steams enough milk for a single cappacino (4-5 oz) in maybe 30 seconds
but it can take two minutes easily when I'm doing enough for two
lattes and am starting with around 12 oz. The advice about surfing the
tip near the surface of the milk is right on. It takes a bit of feel
to get the right consistency and to keep the milk swirling in the
pitcher to help keep the bubbles little and smooth out the texture. I
don't find you need to open the steam knob all the way, though - seems
like you need to go a little over a half turn before it's making all
the steam it's going to make. Any more than that just makes it take
longer to shut it off at the end. I also get better foam with whole
milk. Skim foams up so easily it's almost hard to control and keep it
to the texture I like - I am more likely to end up with bigger bubbles
and the occasional clump with skim. Whole works great for me. But I'm
weird - I found the milk foaming thing MUCH easier to get consistently
good at than making shots. Getting really good shots on a reasonably
consistent basis took quite a while, but when I blew a shot I always
knew I could steam up some milk and find a use for that shot.

-Ray



 
Date: 20 Mar 2007 01:36:21
From:
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
200 is too high. Don't go over 160. Depending on the volume of the
milk, the entire process should not take 2 mins. Try making sure the
milk is very cold. Also different type will give you different
results. Read up on the tutorials on milk frothing on the net. That
will help.



 
Date: 19 Mar 2007 17:28:52
From: FruitionCoffeeCo
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
On 19, 2:44 pm, "DADGAD" <e.lowenst...@att.net > wrote:
> I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
> a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
> "creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
> read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
> temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
> into the espresso.
> Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
> ---> Ed

btw, skim milk is the easiest to foam. the more fat, the better the
drink but the harder to foam. try starting with skim and working your
way up to the % you most enjoy. Lots 'o luck.



 
Date: 19 Mar 2007 17:27:25
From: FruitionCoffeeCo
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
On 19, 2:44 pm, "DADGAD" <e.lowenst...@att.net > wrote:
> I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
> a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
> "creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
> read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
> temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
> into the espresso.
> Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
> ---> Ed

Ed,
If you put the frothing wand in the milk and just let it sit and work
to its own devices, it will usually make big bubbles, but not really
the lovely foam you're looking for. To make that smooth creamy foam,
instead of just dunking the frothing wand into the milk and letting it
do its thing, hold your milk pitcher so the top surface of the milk is
even with the very tip of the wand. This will force air down into and
across the surface of the milk. Not only will it be evenly steamed
(with no yucky pudding/milk skin on top!) but it will make those tiny
bubbles that make the milk so thick and creamy and smooth. Milk will
only make this foam under a certain temperature, then it gets too hot
to stay together and it starts evaporating instead of holding in the
little bubbles. If you have the air hole of the wand too far out from
or too far into the milk, you will only succeed in blowing big air
bubbles or popping all the foam you already created. The trick is to
practice skimming the top of the milk with the wand until you get your
technique just right. Then when you have the desired amount of foam
(probably around 100F), put the wand down into the milk to heat it the
rest of the way (to 160F). Let me know if this info helps you. Good
luck and keep working at it. You'll have that rich foam in no time!

Happy steaming,
Megan
Fruition Coffee Co.



 
Date: 19 Mar 2007 17:31:54
From: David Morgenlender
Subject: Re: Steaming technique
I've run into steaming problems like yours on my Silvia when I forget to open
the steam knob all the way.

Dave


"DADGAD" <e.lowenstein@att.net > wrote:

>I'm using a Silvia; got the espresso down pretty well but the milk is
>a problem. If I steam it in Zone 2 until it gets doubled in volume and
>"creamy" it takes about 2 minutes and gets to about 200 degrees. I've
>read the recommendation that the temp be brought to only 160. At that
>temp my milk is still not the least bit creamy and it pours like milk
>into the espresso.
>Should I ignore the temperature and just steam until it's thick??
>---> Ed

=======================================================
Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen@alum.mit.edu
=======================================================