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Screaming Milk from Rancilio Silvia

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  • Screaming Milk from Rancilio Silvia

    Hi, I am having trouble with the milk frothing part, I heat the Rancilio Silvia for steaming and when the light goes off I empty the water from the wand and just dip the nozzle tip under the milk and turn on the steam gently about half a turn and get the tch tch tch sound for a few seconds, the tip is just off centre of the jug watching the temperature rise to about 60 degrees C then put the tip about an inch down into the milk putting the tip closer to the side of the jug, yes I do get the swirling motion, now my question is do I turn the steam on full (open it right up) or just leave it on a full turn only as the steam pressure is fantastic in the Rancilio and does not need to be opened up fully as the swirling becomes quite large. It is about this time when I get the screaming sound I have tried opening the steam up a bit more and sometimes that works and sometimes I put the tip in the milk a bit deeper and sometimes that works, when everything goes according to plan I have a great creamy froth other times the froth is on the top and not mixed in very well. I have noticed that when the milk screams I get the froth on top only meaning I have stuffed up and other times, no screaming noise it works great, my real question is how can I sort out the screaming noise when I don't know what I am doing wrong??? I have looked on YouTube for answers and some are there but the person doing it is not right next to me giving me hints on how to it properly.
    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Hey mate,
    Screaming milk is usually caused by 2 things:
    1) not enough steam pressure, which doesn't sound like the problem you're having although opening up the steam all the way will help.
    2)the wand is too deep in the milk. I'd say this is your problem. It would definitely account for milk splitting. You shouldn't have to drop the wand deep to stop the tch tch stretching phase as you describe it. The milk will rise naturally as you stretch it.
    If you're finding the swirling milk to be too vigorous try tilting the jug slightly in different positions until you find a spot where you can a) keep the swirling action going and b)stay in control of it.
    Hope those few tips help you out.


    • #3
      Mark454 It could help if you can tell us the size of your milk jug. suggest 300ml for 1 cup or 600ml for 2 cups always fill to bottom of spout, be consistent. Your technique seems Ok just need to tweak a few things. Try the following.
      1 Keep it simple, don't try and do too much at once, one step at a time.
      2 open steam knob for max steam(don't vary it when steaming) One full turn is prob fully open anyway
      3 lower the wand into the milk (Not too deep but maintain whirlpool) at an earlier temp than 60C try 50C or even 40C. 60C is way too late
      See if this help
      Try below after you are achieving better results with your steaming

      One other suggestion you may like to try is to make sure Silvia is producing max steam.
      I found if you steam when steam light goes out, Silvia will tend to get low on steam towards the end of heating the milk. (low steam pressure, wand deep in milk = screaming)
      so "temp surf" to give you max steam temp while heating your milk.
      You could try this
      A Flick on steam switch(light comes on) Boiler begins to heat to max steam temp
      B Immediately light goes out open steam wand fully and allow to steam until light comes back on again ( I aimed the wand into a plastic container with a cloth in the bottom while this was happening)
      C Shut down wand when light comes back on and immediately begin to time how long it takes now for boiler to reach its max temp for steaming again. ie the light will turn off, for me this used to take 35sec, for your machine it may be different.
      SO now to steam your milk follow steps A B and C as above but this time start steaming milk 5 sec before the time you measured. So for me this was always 30sec, Now the red light always stays on, the boiler is always trying to produce max steam and the light should never go off while you are steaming your milk.
      Immediately when finished steaming your milk run water into the boiler by flicking on the water switch and opening the steam wand to allow a continuous flow of water.
      You are now ready to start a new brewing/steam cycle again
      Give it a try it always worked for me


      • #4
        Hi Cicarda, thanks for the info on the boiler trick I will try it out as it seems to be a good idea.
        Your idea lucasr53 about putting the wand in deeper, I use to have it deeper and had no problems until the screaming started, then I read that it's best to keep the wand up which I have been doing so putting the wand down right into it could sort out this problem. I will put your ideas to good use to sort out this problem.
        Thanks again for your answers.

        I forgot to add that I use a 500ml and litre jugs S/S measured to the top, as you have suggested a 300ml and 700ml jugs I find with mine that the smaller jug (500ml) is ideal for a mug of cappuccino and the litre is good for 2 mugs, your sizes seem to be a little bit small? I only fill mine to the bottom of the spout which is about half, is that considered a 300ml jug?
        Last edited by mark454; 24 April 2014, 03:17 PM.


        • #5
          Try letting some more air into the milk before plunging it deeper. And, when you do, you should only need to put the wand deep enough that you can't hear air being drawn in anymore.


          • #6
            Just to clarify,
            I wasn't saying put the wand in deeper but the opposite. You want the tip as close to the surface without putting air in.
            If the screaming is happening while you are putting air into your milk at the start then you need more steam pressure. Then make sure you follow cicarda's max steam pressure process.
            If it's only in the 2nd part when ur getting the swirl then the wand is too deep.

            Another question for you. ..regarding your temp. ..circadia touched on it but you should really be finishing your milk at 60 degrees not going to that stage... how hot is your milk when you finish? Ideally should be at 65 degrees, much hotter than this and the milk will burn and split.
            One thing to note: you may already take this into account but the temp probes aren't instantaneous so when you see 60 on the probe the milk is already at 65. Watch the needle rise after you shut the steam off and you'll see. They're A Good Guide To Start With But just be aware of their limitations.

            Also take note of the sound change at the end of your steaming. Does the tone drop drastically to a deep gurgle? If so i would be tempted to suggest the milk is burnt and would explain the splitting. Give it a whif. Smells like milk=good, like off milk =burnt.
            Baristas in the workplace use tone to establish milk temp rather than touch, probe or time. It's the best indicator of milk texture and temp.

            Hope this all helps and doesn't just confuse you. Just try one thing at a time and take note of the change it makes. It takes practice...i shudder when i think back at the milk i used to produce haha
            Let us know how you go!


            • #7
              all these ideas to try

              The temp idea has me interested as I do use the temp probe and I do allow the temp to rise to 65 before turning it off, so turning the steam off as you say at 60 the temp of the milk will rise that little bit anyway and have less chance of burning.

              I did find on the internet a video clip of Caffe Latte Art which includes the steaming of the milk and it shows that you put just the tip of the wand in at the start and allow it to go down a bit (about an inch) and keep the swirling motion going giving that creamy smooth texture that we all want.

              I have noticed the sound change that sometimes happens ( a deep gurgling noise) so the quieter you are the better, so don't plunge the wand in too deep.

              I will try letting some more air into the milk before plunging it deeper, a bit quicker too as you only have a few seconds to let the air in before putting the wand in deeper as it does heat up fast.

              Looks like a bit more practice is in order (taken note of what has been said) and a lot more cappuccino's to have.