When we decide to make frothed milk, we have various choices of. Normally, it is recommended that we use whole milk and 2% dairy milk for the best froth quality. It does not mean that we can’t use other types of milk or non -dairy milk in particular
The very first thing we should know is that we can produce froth with all types of milk. If we mainly have access to non-dairy milk, of course we can use it to create frothed milk. After all, frothing milk is the process of introducing air into milk to create foam and we can do it with all milk forms. Soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk can also be used for frothing. They are also easy to make at home. However, the quality of foam varies from one type of milk to another. It seems like dairy milk and coffee is a match made in heaven.
Then, what tastes we get in using different types of non-dairy milk?
We want to taste the creamy, rich flavor of frothed milk on top of our drink, which is exactly what we can achieve with whole milk. The fat content in milk is what creates the creamy taste of froth. Now let’s see the taste we get with the 4 popular types of non-dairy milk:
It is easy to froth. In fact, coconut milk produces larger, thinner bubbles and heated up much faster than dairy milk. We can add sugar or not, depend on our taste but in general, the taste of coconut milk does not complement the bitter taste of espresso well.
Since it has very little fat, it lacks what helps create the rich, creamy and tasty texture of froth. What we get is puffy foam, watery consistency and neutral taste.
In general, it produces foam but depending on the brand of soil milk we use, the stability of foam may vary. The issue about using soy milk to froth is that it is not as foamy as dairy milk. The higher water content and beany flavor in soy milk seem to water down the taste of coffee rather than neutralize the acidity. It is more suitable for latte than cappuccino. Note that there are people who are allergic to soy.
The nice thing of using almond milk is that it holds foam well. The creamy nuttiness that is both sweet and bitter at the same time seems to match the coffee flavor well. We should add sugar or syrup to it to get the similar sweetness from frothed dairy milk. The delicate flavor of dairy milk can’t be fully matched, though. Almond milk is very healthy.
Frothing non-dairy milk is quite similar to dairy milk. We all need cold, fresh milk but we must note that the burning temperature of different types of milk is different. For example soy milk heats up much faster than dairy milk. Almond milk get burned at the temperature of more than 130F degree. Once we overheat the milk, we destroy the protein in milk and create a very unpleasant taste. With each type of non-dairy milk, it may take us several times before we can identify the optimal temperature range. The use of a thermometer is recommended.
Concerning the tools used for frothing, we can use the same tools applied for diary milk – namely different types of milk frother – or get by with just a jar with lid, a saucepan or the microwave.
The frothing process for non-dairy milks should be done quickly – in a gentle yet turbulent way -because it is easy to scald them.