Monday, September 14, 2009

Crispy milk

A couple of years ago I tested a recipe I saw in one of Paco Torreblanca's books for a dried milk foam. The idea seemed ingenious and simple. Basically whip milk as it boils and then dry it out in the oven. I tested it over and over and over again, failing miserably each time. Last week I decided I should revisit it and I did, but I ignored the instructions this time, and stuck to the ingredients only and then made it as it would make sense to me.

This is just glucose and milk. That's it... no added emulsifiers or stabilizers. The method consists of whipping the milk (500g) with the glucose (100g) in a tall pot (to give it room to foam as it is heated) over medium-high heat. I used a whip attachment I have for a hand held blender which helps because it takes a while but in the end you get a foam, much like shaving cream, that has increased the milk in volume at least eight times.

The foam is then spooned into a hotel pan lined with plastic wrap then placed in the dehydrator set to 50 degrees Celsius until dry. It worked beautifully. With an intensely concentrated rich milk flavor and a terrific crispiness. I can see using this item for a cappuccino inspired dessert.

My whole point on this post is that sometimes you have to ignore the recipe in a book and go with what makes sense to you. I try to be extremely specific in my recipes in my books so that these things don't happen. But who knows, maybe they do.


  1. Cool stuff.

    "I try to be extremely specific in my recipes in my books so that these things don't happen. But who knows, maybe they do."

    I've done most of the recipes in Frozen Desserts with no failures, problems or necessary modifications so far. I dont expect to find any as I continue through.

  2. I remember trying that a few times and getting frustrated.

    Good to know frozen desserts is accurate too.

  3. I wonder if adding another ingredient to the mix would throw it off?

    While it is cool, I just wonder if it has limited applications as is.

  4. Very nice. I will try your method soon.

    Five years back I first experimented with dehydrated milk foam to make "astronaut ice cream" for my son't birthday party. The typical freeze-dried packets available at science museum gift shops are loaded with chemicals.

    I flavored it with high-end syrups plus a little added stevia. I don't have a good whip tool, just a Cuisinart immersion blender. ;)

    I piped it onto jerky screens in my Nesco dehydrator with a jerky gun fitted with various Wilton tips and let it go for about 4 hours @ 125F (higher temp batch was too brittle). It tasted fantastic and I have made other flavored batches since then- coffee, raspberry, and even cheeses (of which I make small puffs and sprinkle on soups, salads.)

  5. You must be a very cool mom. Mine doesn't have a dehydrator.

  6. Gresham fernandesMay 9, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    Hey, not much of a pastry guy, but your blog is really cool. Just got my hands on COCO, and read Chef Mark Best's Milk Vacherin, tried it his way but the milk only foamed did not stay stable enough to get crispy, just collapsed actually. Then Tried your method, it foamed up like shaving cream, really stable. but dont actually have a dehydrator (yet) so just put it on top of a warm oven, but the foam started collapsing, so do i relly nee a dehydrator for this to work, also tried the lowest setting on the microwawe ( ha ha ) goo milk skin but not what i wanted , please help.

  7. You do need a dehydrator, or even a very low set oven (160 F) if you can do that

  8. Hey chef,
    Great blog. What about those "crispy milk skins" Do you have a recipe for those?

  9. Hi Chef

    I recently found your blog after the purchase of your frozen dessert book. I wanted to say great job on the blog. Now as for the milk foam, do you bring the liquid up to a boil or a simmer? do you keep it on the flame while whipping or remove it from the heat?

  10. Hey Chef

    I would think this is made with skim milk and not whole milk, is that correct ?