Hob steamers make steamed milk and froth if you only have a hob espresso maker or an espresso machine without a steam wand. Steamers steam milk into a froth with a creamy or dry consistency necessary to make proper lattes and cappuccinos. Simply heating milk in a pan will not produce the right consistency for espresso drinks; frothers do not work as well as a milk steamer.
Unscrew the black knob on the top of the steamer and remove the head piece. Wash the interior of the steamer with warm, soapy water and rinse well.
Fill the steamer pot with water to just below the handle bolt on the inside on the pot. Replace the head piece and tighten the knob.
Heat the steamer on a hob over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes to build sufficient pressure. Open the small steam valve knob on the side of the steamer to release any water inside the wand.
Close the steam valve, but not all the way. Let a small amount of steam escape from the valve, which prevents the milk from going up the wand when you begin steaming.
Grab a prepared steel pitcher of milk with enough room for the milk to triple in volume. Clip an instant thermometer on the side of the pitcher to track the milk temperature as you froth it.
Place the steam wand into the milk and slowly open the steam valve until you have a strong amount of stem. Move the pitcher down until the steam wand is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch under the surface of the milk.
Listen for a high-pitched hiss. Watch for bubbles to form and the milk to expand in volume.
Move the steam wand up as the froth builds in volume and place your free hand on the side of the pitcher to feel the heat building. Open the valve to increase the amount of steam.
Close the steam valve when you see the milk reaches between 65.6 and 76.7 degrees Celsius and triples in volume.
Remove the steam wand, then wipe the valve and the wand with a damp cloth to clean any milk residue.
If you are not getting enough steam, check the steam wand nozzle for a clog.
Do not allow the milk to go over 76.7 degrees Celsius or it will scald and you will have to restart.