Saturday, January 20, 2018

Toasted Milk in your Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker)

There was more ... but I used it!
A bunch of people in a group I'm in were talking about a recipe on Serious Eats for toasted cream, and it got me curious. I wanted to try it right away, but I didn't have any heavy cream in the house.

And since I had just gone shopping, I wasn't planning another shopping excursion soon.

See, I'm trying to cut back on shopping. For a lot of reasons. None of which matter here.

So there I was, with this recipe nagging at me, and I had no heavy cream.

But I had plenty of milk.

Since I have way to many kitchen gadgets, I had both options for toasting the milk - either sous vide for 24 hours or pressure cooked for 2 hours.

Having the patience of a gnat, I opted for the pressure cooked version.

There are two other options. Either with baking soda or without. The baking soda increases the browning of the milk. I decided to add the baking soda, to get the maximum effect.

Just in case the recipe didn't work, I cooked just one cup instead of a pint. I mean, milk isn't expensive, but I still didn't want to waste any.

Oddly, the Serious Eats recipe suggests using a 12-ounce canning jar, but all I had were pints and half pints. Since I wanted to leave some head space in the jar, I opted for the pint jar with 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda. Since there are only two ingredients in this recipe, it's pretty easy to scale. You'll need 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of milk (or, if you're using their recipe, cream) or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per pint of milk, if that's easier to measure.

But, seriously, since the baking soda is optional, you could leave it out or use a tad less and it's not going to ruin anything.

The result was interesting. The color of the milk was surprising, and it also made me think that the milk would be sweet. Like caramel. But it wasn't. It just tasted more complex. Toasty.

I tried the milk in my morning coffee, and something very interesting happened. The milk tasted a whole lot richer, like I had put half-and-half in my coffee instead of whole milk.

I haven't tried the milk in anything else yet, but I have plenty of ideas.

Toasted Milk

1 or 2 cups of whole milk
1/8 teaspoon baking soda per cup of milk (optional, but recommended)

Place the milk in a pint canning jar along with the baking soda. Make sure there's some head space above the milk. Use less milk if necessary, or use two jars. Stir well to combine. Place a standard canning jar lid on, finger-tight. You don't want it completely tight, since the air needs to escape during the cooking.

Place a rack in your electric pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot or similar brand) and add about an inch of water. Or eyeball it to just below the rack.

Add the jar. Or jars. Seriously, after you try it, you're going to make this by the quart.

Put the lid on, close the vent, set the pressure to high, and cook for 2 hours.

Let the pressure release naturally, then remove the lid and carefully remove the jars. Make sure you don't set them on a cold surface, like a granite counter. I usually put them on a towel or a wooden cutting board. Let them cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Use this like you'd use any milk - for coffee or other drinks, or for baking.

And yes, if you want it even richer, use heavy cream. For details on why this works, check out the Serious Eats explanation.