One method for steaming milk is warming it in a pan on the stove over very low heat. The key is to stir the milk so that it doesn’t scorch or form a skin. Once it foams, it’s steamed as well. Another is to pour milk in a microwave-safe jar, shake the jar until the foam doubles the volume, then microwave the milk for a few seconds to steam it.
Steaming milk is easy once you decide what technology to use. For those who favor low-tech solutions, the stove and the microwave offer easy choices. Microwaving shaken milk for about 30 seconds steams the milk and stabilizes the foam. Then blend the steamed milk with coffee, or fold it into sauces or similar recipes for a light, creamy texture.
Coffee gadgets – frothers and multifunction coffee machines – are high-tech solutions for steaming milk. A standalone frother, starting around $20, saves you the trouble of using the stove or microwave. Pour in the milk, and turn on the frother. The milk steams while you wait. Fancier machines for making cappuccinos and lattes, which can cost hundreds of dollars, have steaming and frothing functions built in so that you can add your steamed milk to the coffee as it’s being brewed.