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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Why put frothing...  
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kaotik78
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Posted Fri Dec 19, 2008, 9:10pm
Subject: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

Hi,

I'd like to know why you have to put the frothing pitcher in the freezer then take it out right before you start frothing? To me, I would think it would make the steaming take longer as it has to get everything up to temp, the milk, and fight against the ice on the pitcher? Just something I've been wondering as to "why" :)
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Chang94598
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Posted Fri Dec 19, 2008, 9:53pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

Please see:

"Cold Pitchers"
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sportychop
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Posted Sun Dec 21, 2008, 12:50pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

I understand the idea is to give you more time in the optimum temp zone for stretching, but has anyone done any testing of this. How much time are we talking here? It can't be more than a few seconds can it? Wouldn’t it just be easier to back off on the steam pressure a little and not fiddle with the pitcher in the freezer?
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The_Shadow
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Posted Mon Dec 22, 2008, 6:57am
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

I keep my pitcher in the freezer all the time, just a habit for awhile now..... Recently started a part-time job at an espresso bar and we wash/reuse the pitchers so much they are still warm when we use them, so no freezing them at all. Later!
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mtlmatthew
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2009, 1:54pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

My freezer is quite a distance away from the fridge and espresso machine so I like to freeze a block of ice in some tupperware and use that to chill my pitcher with a bit of cold milk (not leftover milk!) in it in the bar-fridge (it's basically an ice bath but using a single block of ice). I usually have 3-4 ready to go in the morning so I can replace them as soon as the ice has melted. I've notice a vast improvement when frothing milk since I've begun doing this. It also helps keep the temperature in bar fridge constant as well which was a problem for me in the past.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Mon Feb 2, 2009, 5:51pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

sportychop Said:

I understand the idea is to give you more time in the optimum temp zone for stretching, but has anyone done any testing of this.

Posted December 21, 2008 link

Wouldn't it be easy to test it yourself?

 
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sportychop
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Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 1:05pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

Aside from all the variations of equipment, time in freezer, size and thickness of pitcher, and any number of other possible variables, it would seem to be a simple test of "does the window of time between temperature X and Y increase if the pitcher is put in the freezer for Z amount of time." This may or may not be useful information to all the pitcher freezers around the world. I don't prescribe to freezing the pitcher so it will not benefit me, thus I am not willing to do the test. I actually pour the milk first and leave it sitting on the counter while I do everything else, sometimes 3 or 4 minutes.
I was really just wondering if any of the pitcher freezers out there had done any testing on their own to substantiate the practice. I would assume the increase in time, if any, would have negligible positive effect on texturing the milk that well practiced technique could not surpass. Now if you are putting a full pitcher in the freezer, I am sure it would take longer to get to the final temp, but I am not convinced it would increase the time between say 40F and 100F.  
I guess what I am getting at is if you are freezing your pitcher, do you know if or how much it helps. I think learning to texture milk correctly is hard enough without adding an additional step to the basic process. Then again, whether it helps or not, if you think it helps then I guess it does.


Gus
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 6:48pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

sportychop Said:

I guess what I am getting at is if you are freezing your pitcher, do you know if or how much it helps. I think learning to texture milk correctly is hard enough without adding an additional step to the basic process.

Posted February 3, 2009 link

Gus, I am not a "professional barista"; I am a home user of various types of espresso machines for over 25 years.  

I first used a stove-top milk steamer, rather like this.  Guess what?  It can shatter a thick beer mug!  Then I moved through a progression of machines until I went "prosumer."  I thought I was making great microfoam on my Gaggia . . . until I moved "up" to my La Valentina and then to my Elektra.  

When I first made the switch to the La Valentina (HX, versus a single boiler/dual use like the Gaggia), it was like learning how to steam milk all over again . . . and I was failing miserably!  

The vendor suggested keeping the milk pitcher in the freezer.  I did, and the results were fantastic!  I do NOT pour milk into a pitcher and then put the pitcher in the freezer.  I keep the pitcher (well, two actually) in the freezer.  I add the milk, and put it back in the freezer while I prepare the basket(s) . . . trust me -- the milk is SUPER cold, and the first phase IS longer.  The second is not, and the microfoam is perfect!  Never had any problems since switching to the method . . .

Granted, it's not the only way to do it.  Clearly cafés don't do this . . . but I have done comparison tests, and it DOEs work.

Jason

 
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sportychop
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Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 7:44pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

Jason, Thank you for the engaging reply. I am surprised to hear that you have experienced such a difference. I really thought as I stated before the actual effect would be minimal. I am now curious to see for myself and will try it tomorrow to see if I notice a difference. I guess I should have just taken your initial suggestion without my silly reply.  

As to the La Valentina and Elektra, I very much envy you. I often look forward to the day I will have to relearn how to steam milk on a nice prosumer or single group commercial HX.


Gus
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Coffee_Nazi
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Posted Thu Feb 5, 2009, 2:45pm
Subject: Re: Why put frothing pitcher in freezer
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Granted, it's not the only way to do it.  Clearly cafés don't do this . . .

Posted February 3, 2009 link

I beg to differ on that. Maybe ALL cafes don't engage in this practice, but it is out there. My first job experience being a barista, in a juice bar/ espresso cafe, we did it.  In the first drive through I worked in, we did it. In the drive through I work in now, we do it.  And yes, Jason is right, it does work. My milk is never so nice as it is when the pitcher is as cold if not colder than the milk I am about to steam, not to say that I don't produce beautiful micro foam when the pitcher isn't as cold, but there is a difference. It seems to me that when I use the ice cold pitcher that the micro foam is even finer than normal, which is strange, I think, since those little bubbles are already so darn tiny. But either way, try it yourself and see what you think!!
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