When I talked about how to froth soymilk, I explained that we gave up cow’s milk when my daughter was diagnosed as lactose intolerant. After the diagnosis, one of the first decisions was that no cow’s milk products would enter the house. At first, it seemed like the end of the world; what alternatives did we have? How could I have my lattes or cappuccinos without cow’s milk?
Fortunately, several vegan-friendly plant-based kinds of milk taste spectacular. Not only could I enjoy my coffee drinks (with milk), but they have become even tastier than the ones I used to make with cow’s milk. One of the last ones we used at home was oat milk, which passed all our tests, including the frothing.
How is it made, and what is oat milk?
Oat milk is one of the most natural plant-based milk available, as the oats are ground up raw and mixed with water to make the milk. Because it is such a simple process, you can buy it in shops or make it at home, obtaining an incredible taste and properties.
Oat milk is rich in carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals (potassium and calcium) and vitamin B12. From about 100 grams of oats, we get about 8 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of protein.
What does oat milk taste and look like?
Oat milk is different from cow’s milk, as one is of vegetable origin and the other of animal origin. In addition, cow’s milk and oat milk are very different in terms of their properties, as cow’s milk is rich in fats and proteins, while oat milk has its strong point in the presence of carbohydrates.
Oat milk also differs from cow’s milk in its appearance, texture and taste, being thicker, creamier and sweeter than cow’s milk. Let’s take a closer look at these differences below:
What does oat milk look like?
The appearance of oat milk is determined by the oats used to make the milk. However, it will always have a darker colour than cow’s milk, with a deeper white.
If you make your oat milk at home instead of buying it, you will notice a certain amount of “oaty residue” in the milk. This is because the smallest particles can end up in the milk even when using very fine strainers or special straining gauze. These small particles give the oat milk a darker colour.
What is the texture of oat milk?
One of the main characteristics of oat milk is that it has a slightly thicker texture than other vegetable milk. In addition to being thicker, it also seems creamier, which makes it very similar to cow’s milk in this respect.
If you use store-bought oat milk, the texture may change from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you prepare oat milk at home, you can control the texture by adding or removing water.
What does oat milk taste like?
It seems obvious that oat milk tastes like oatmeal. However, it is not an easy taste to describe. In some ways, it tastes very similar to cow’s milk, although oat milk is sweeter without being sugary.
Can oat milk be frothed?
As we explained in the previous article on how to froth soymilk, there are two ways to froth oat milk: On the one hand, we have to create micro-bubbles inside the milk physically, and, on the other hand, the proteins contained in the oat milk have to act chemically on these micro-bubbles to make them elastic and durable.
Cow’s milk has a great advantage over all vegetable milk, and that advantage is the high amount of temperature-resistant proteins it contains. Although oat milk has much less protein, it froths quite well, although the frothing process will take longer than in the case of cow’s milk.
Using oat milk with additives
If you want to froth oat milk very easily, it is best to buy oat milk specifically for frothing. Many brands incorporate natural additives* such as Gellan gum to give the extra milk protein and make it more resistant to temperature.
As with other vegetable milk, the key is that at high temperatures, it breaks down the proteins, and they cannot maintain the microbubbles in the milk. Gellan gum can help achieve greater stability in the microbubbles and other natural additives that brands incorporate.
Alpro Barista Oat – special milk for frothing:
*All vegetable milk is suitable for vegans, as the additives are of vegetable origin.
How to froth oat milk
Frothing oat milk follows the same rules as cow’s milk; there is just one difference; you have to be more patient, and the process takes a little longer. This is due to the lack of proteins in the oat milk, which are responsible for keeping the microbubbles stable and flexible.
If you buy special oat milk for baristas, you will not have this problem as the Gellan gum, and other additives will replace the function of the cow’s milk proteins.
How to froth oat milk with Aeroccino
If there is one easy way to froth milk of any kind, it uses an Aeroccino. This sleek little Nespresso frother is super-efficient for frothing vegetable milk, perhaps a little too much, so be careful not to over froth.
Be aware that too much-frothed milk can ruin your latte drink.
- You can use either cold or room temperature milk, although cold is preferable.
- Stir the oat milk well before adding it to the Aerocino, as vegetable milk tends to separate from the water over time.
- If you use an Aerocino 3, remove the spring to make less foam. If you use the 4, press the lower foam button.
- Oat milk takes time to generate, but when it does, it can increase in volume very quickly, so stop the Aerocino as soon as foam appears. Too much foam could ruin your coffee drink.
- It is best not to overheat the oat milk to prevent it from curdling on contact with the coffee.
- When adding the froth to the coffee, add it decisively to be well incorporated into the coffee.
Related: Aeroccino troubleshooting
How to froth oat milk with a steam wand
The frothing of oat milk with a steam wand is very similar to the frothing cow’s milk technique. Follow these instructions, and you will get a thick, long-lasting foam:
- Use a special metal milk jug.
- Fill your jug 1/3 full with oat milk.
- Immerse the wand one centimetre below the surface of the oat milk and turn on the steam.
- As the level of foam rises, dip the wand further into the oat milk.
- Try to keep the milk at a low temperature to prevent it from curdling in contact with the coffee.
How to froth oat milk with a hand frother
Have you ever tried frothing milk with an electric hand frother? While it is the cheapest option, it is not always the easiest to use, as it takes some practice to achieve high-quality foam:
- Heat the milk before you start frothing.
- Pour the milk into a milk jug.
- Immerse the frothing wand of the frother fully into the jug until it almost touches the bottom.
- Turn on the frother and move it slightly without getting too close to the surface.
- Once you see the foam, stop the process to avoid over frothing.