Why doesn't 1% milk foam?

mclearn

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Apr 20, 2006
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I am wondering if anyone can shed some light as to why 1% milk does not foam up properly. Homo milk and skim milk foam up fine (skim is better than homo because of the lower fat content but same amount of proteins, I'm told).

My problem is that some people ask for a 1% cappuccino, which I *cannot* create without wasting *a lot* of milk because I need to foam up 2 or 3 batches of it. I thought that maybe it was an anti-foaming agent in the milk, but the ingredients on the label do not say this. I thought it might be that 1% milk happens to have a low fat content but also a low protein content. I'm not sure if 2% milk doesn't foam -- that experiment will wait for tomorrow.

The reason I thought it might be a protein issue is that if someone asks me to create a soy-based cappuccino, I have to inform them that the foam created in the soy will be quite large and airy and will not look like a proper cap. The proteins in a soy-based milk are different than those in bovine milk which may be the root of the problem.

Of course, I've only spent about 10 minutes researching this on milk chemistry web sites. Unfortunately, those sites are pretty dense on the chemistry and light on the quick facts. :) Anyone can shed some light on this question?

Thanks!
 

equus007

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Apr 4, 2006
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Austin, Tx
1%

first off let me say that you are a heathen for using anything other than whole milk. Having said that 1% can be frothed. It will be much more airy than a 2% or whole milk and is more difficult to bring to froth. You have to use a very roiled wet-foam technique wherein you maintain a constant whirlpool in the steam pot frothing the surface as you let it spin and heat. You must then let it sit for about 20 secs and allow the foam to settle. At least that is how you do it in Texas. Remember milk changes from region to region as well. Thank god for Texas and our lax view of the effects of Bovine Growth Hormone. Lots of big busty girls and football player raised on that stuff.
 
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mclearn

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Thanks for the answer, but you didn't shed any facts on why the milk foams differently. I use all types of milk because customers demand different types of milk. If I could, I'd use only skim or whole: you either want fat or you don't.

In any case, my thoughts are still that there are two moving variables being handled in milk: proteins and fat content. The (still unaswered) question is whether or not 1% has a protein difference or reduction compared to skim & whole.

Cheers,

~g
 

freetodream

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Feb 3, 2006
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Mississippi
Does it really matter WHY? I mean my gosh already - someone helps you out with how to foam-and you complain...are you wanting to explain the fat protein crap to your customers who also really do not care as to the 'Why" is doesn't foam....Sorry to vent, but there are a lot more pressing issues in this biz than why 1% milk doesn't foam well...
 

equus007

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Apr 4, 2006
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Austin, Tx
hmm

think i did sort of give you an answer though maybe not the one you wanted. Milk varies therefore the protien level will change as well. Why don't you try askking Borden about the more specifics.
 
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mclearn

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> Does it really matter WHY? I mean my gosh already - someone helps you out
> with how to foam-and you complain...are you wanting to explain the fat
> protein crap to your customers who also really do not care as to the 'Why" is
> doesn't foam....

Don't get your panties in a bunch. It *does* matter. If I know why it doesn't foam, then I'll possibly know how to make it foam through a non-disruptive additive. Ignorance is not an excuse.

~g
 

freetodream

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Feb 3, 2006
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Mississippi
No bunching going on - but you were given advice on how to make it foam - and what in the world are you going to add to your milk to make it froth????? Ignorance? Please.....I think you might take yourself a tad too seriously. :)
 
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mclearn

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After some experimenting, I discovered that one can add a fat catalyst or a protein additive to force 1% milk to foam. I found gelatin worked quite well, but ours is a pork byproduct, so I won't be using it in production. A vegetarian option may be as effective.

I used approx. 1 tsp of solid gelatin to about 500 mL of milk. The steaming process liquifies the gelatin in seconds and homogenizes it within the milk while promoting foam production (gelatin is 98% protein by weight). The milk froths as easily as skim and holds its volume for some time.
 

freetodream

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Feb 3, 2006
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Mississippi
There are those who are opposed to gelatin in general - I myself do not like the idea of it and prefer not to partake....

So are you telling your customers about the additives, and how do they feel about it. Why not simply explain that the 1% does not foam as well and the result will show in their capps.....I know I would much prefer to do without a little foam rather than have additives to my beverage....guess I am more of a purist when it comes to what I put in my body....

Hope you find what works for you...
 
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mclearn

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You know what? Screw you and the horse you rode in on. Read my posts and you tell me where I say that I am going to use gelatin in a commercial environment? I'm tired of the ignorance and general attitude here. I ask a question and get blamed for being too "serious" about the craft, and then when I finally find an answer and an experimental sol'n I get attitude from you again.
 

freetodream

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Feb 3, 2006
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Mississippi
I actually did not intend any attitude - just genuinely asking about your plans....you are very easily offended when there is no offense meant. One could fairly assume that you were planning to do this in your shop - you did say you had cusotmers who wanted the 1% - that is why I assumed you were researching for that reason.

Gee, you could lighten up a bit and not be so sensitive - also repeatedly calling others ignorant is without knowing anything about them is pretty low. I personally will refrain from name calling. Have a great day.

P.S. I do not have a horse.
 

Rockcreekcoffee

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Dec 8, 2004
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Billings, MT
1% Milk

OK... has anyone ever milked a cow or been on a dairy farm to see how milk comes to the shelf?

Here's the scoop...as mentioned before milk steams well or not so well based on milk fat and protein content (that has been established).

The FDA assigns what is acceptable to be labeled Non-Fat/1%/2% etc...
There is a range of milk protein and fat content for labeling purposes some brands will have less or more but still be in the acceptable range p/the FDA. Milk will also vary based on region and where you purchase it from within the region. I purchase all my NF & Whole milk from Costco. Last month I picked up a few gallons from the "local" dairy and it was extremely difficult to steam. So even though it says NF or 1% on it, not all milk is created equal.

As far as customers, there really isn't much difference as far as taste between 1% and NF Milk. The difference is in steaming. I would go ahead and give them NF when they want 1% - trust me they will not know the difference unless the truly understand the process of how milk gets to the carton and steaming practices of the barista.

Sometimes, you need to outsmart your customer and make it easier on yourself.

Rockcreekcoffee
 

freetodream

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Feb 3, 2006
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Mississippi
Hey, good explanation and good idea....I went to your site and saw your trade in promo - great idea. I was wondering what you do with the old coffee....there is no hidden meaning or offense or anything else meant by my asking you this question - I really am just curious....
 

Parts Guru

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Jan 1, 2005
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Lansale, PA
Re: re: Why doesn't 1% milk foam?

Thanks for the answer, but you didn't shed any facts on why the milk foams differently. I use all types of milk because customers demand different types of milk. If I could, I'd use only skim or whole: you either want fat or you don't.

In any case, my thoughts are still that there are two moving variables being handled in milk: proteins and fat content. The (still unaswered) question is whether or not 1% has a protein difference or reduction compared to skim & whole.

Cheers,

~g


This reply is not intended for any offence to your experience or capabilities. You need to practice more with 1% milk. There is no difference in technique or results between skim, 1%, 2% or whole milk. This is reflected with your own comment that you have no problem using skim or whole milk.

Is it possible that you were not happy to use 1% milk to begin with? Do not under estimate the strength of predisposed view you may have for 1%. There after everything you try with 1% does not come up to your expectation. I am not saying this lightly. Think about it.
I know of two staff in coffee shops who generate better foam with 1% than with whole milk!
No Dairy company would want to add anti-foam. They need that additive in alcohol industry


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