So, you’ve decided to switch dairy milk for a plant-based alternative. Almond milk is a good option. It tastes great. It’s available everywhere. However, it’s notoriously finicky in coffees. Can you froth almond milk? Will it curdle?
As an aspiring home barista, let’s see if you can make almond milk a guest start to your lattes.
Solving your dairy milk troubles has never been easier. With the overwhelming selection of plant-based milk these days, you might even find it hard to decide which one to choose. Almond milk is one of the staples that you can find easily in cafes and supermarkets.
- What is in almond milk?
- Almond milk’s composition
- Can you froth almond milk?
- What’s the secret to frothing it?
- No steamer? Try these methods instead
What is in Almond Milk?
The first step to determining if you can froth some milk is to look into its content.
Almond milk is made by blending raw almonds with filtered water and a small amount of salt. The strained milk is the final product, so it only keeps a fraction of the almonds’ nutrients.
As a result, it’s low in calories, with 1g each protein and carbs and 3g of fat per cup(1).
Almond Milk’s Composition
The nutritional composition in milk determines the flavor, texture, and consistency of the froth.
The higher the fat content, the tastier and creamier the froth will be. A high protein content results in a longer-lasting froth.
Compared to other milk types, almond milk has moderate fat and protein content, which results in different hold and texture of the froth.
Can You Froth Almond Milk?
Considering the low content of fat and protein, you might wonder can you froth almond milk at all.
The answer is yes, but not as easy as you would other types of milk. The process is more time consuming, and you can’t expect the result to mimic that of dairy milk.
What’s the Secret to Frothing Almond Milk?
Learning how to froth almond milk is not complicated but requires a little more patience than regular milk. Picking a good kind of almond milk is crucial. Lower fat and protein content leads to slower froth development. In addition, almond milk is more temperature-sensitive, so you need to be careful there.
Almond milk’s composition is the number one thing to look at before even trying to froth it.
Some almond milk brands use fewer almonds and more additives. Certain additives can prevent the milk from frothing well. Take a close look at the label; the higher the fat and protein content is, the better it will froth.
Working with almond milk is a lot more difficult than other plant-based milks. In our first attempt, we noticed that it frothed up well on top but remained runny below.
Thankfully, there is a tweak for this. When frothing, focus on incorporating air early then lower the wand slightly. From here, circulate the milk in the pitcher without adding much more air. The milk will now be thoroughly frothed instead of forming layers like you see below!
Almond milk has the lowest steaming temperature when compared to other dairy and non-dairy milk types. Just like regular milk, it has a sweet temperature spot that you should stick to, or otherwise, it will burn and split.
Stop the process at 130°F, as the temperature will go up a few degrees even after you’ve turned off the steam(2).
In some cases, almond milk can curdle once you mix it with coffee. It doesn’t mean the milk has gone bad.
The heat and acidity of the coffee cause the almond milk to coagulate and separate. To prevent this, use less acidic coffee and let it cool slightly before topping with almond milk.
How to Froth Almond Milk
You’ve learned what to pay attention to most; now it’s time to learn how to froth almond milk. Choosing a good almond milk brand is crucial. Then, with a bit of practice and patience, you can get the same results as your barista.
- Almond milk
- Water: enough for your espresso machine's steamer
- Fill about 1/3 of the pitcher with the cold almond milk. You want to leave enough room for the froth that’s about to form.
- This is a good time to brew your coffee as we’ll need it to cool down* a little before introducing the milk.
- Purge the steam wand on the side before submerging it into the almond milk. Then dip it no more than an inch under the milk's surface.
- You want to introduce more air at the start. Then move the wand down to keep the milk circulating and texturizing.
- Use your thermometer to check the milk's temperature. This is very important as almond milk can easily burn. You want to turn off the steam as soon as it reaches 130°F**.
- Give it a few swirls and taps on the counter top to remove access air bubbles.
- Pour the frothed milk gently into your cup of coffee. Almond milk stays blended longer than other non-dairy milk making it easier to pour nicely.
*The secret to keeping up the good texture and frothy top once you mix the milk with coffee is using less acidic beans, like darker roasts. Using scalding hot coffee will also lead to curdling and separation.
**The milk will keep heating up even after you've turned off the steam reaching the desired temperature of 140°F.
No Steamer? Try These Methods Instead!
You can still froth almond milk even if you don’t own an espresso machine with a steaming wand. These alternative ways might require a little more effort but can also produce satisfying froth. And you can make almond milk latte wherever you are!
1. Mason Jar
To froth almond milk in a mason jar, fill no more than half of the jar and screw the lid on tightly. Shake vigorously for a few minutes or until the milk’s doubled in size. Then unscrew the lid and warm it up for 30 seconds in the microwave.
You’ll get silky and frothy almond milk.
A handheld frother is a cheap tool that can help you froth almond milk faster.
Fill half of a deep pitcher with cold almond milk and dip the frother right below the surface. Turn on the frother and move the wand up and down for 30 seconds. Swirl it around until the milk’s doubled in size. Heat the milk up for 30 seconds in the microwave and enjoy!
3. French Press
To froth almond milk with a french press, you have to heat the milk in advance.
First, warm it up on the stove rather than the microwave, as you can’t control the temperature in the microwave. You need not exceed 130°F. Then, pour the milk in the french press and move the plunger up and down vigorously until an adequate amount of froth appears.
Summary: Can You Froth Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a great dairy milk substitute that works well with coffee. It’s low in calories and carbs but has a moderate amount of fats and protein. To answer the question, can you froth almond milk – yes, but take a good look at the ingredient list.
The fewer additives it has, the better froth it will produce. Almond milk is disturbed by the acidity of coffee, so some coagulation might happen.
Almond milk is a drink made by soaking almonds for up to 48 hours and then blending them with filtered water. The mixture is then strained, and the pulp is separated from the clear liquid. Manufacturers can add some emulsifiers, flavoring, and even sweeteners further down the process.
To determine if particular almond milk is good for frothing, look at the ingredients list. You want a product that comes with a good amount of fats and protein and fewer additives. The barista type of almond milk will work great as it’s infused with stabilizers to prevent any separation when you add it to the coffee.
Almond milk tends to curdle when mixed with due to the acidity and temperature of the coffee. This reaction is very noticeable when you mix cold almond milk with hot coffee. Let the coffee chill or mix a small amount of coffee with the milk first to prevent this reaction. You can also opt for lower acidity roasts.
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