Can You Boil Milk In A Kettle?

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I love boiling milk for a number of things but my favourite is to make a hot chocolate, while I love them it can often be a long process so I found myself looking for alternative faster ways when I stumbled across using a kettle to boil milk.

While it is possible to boil milk in a kettle there are certain things you should know. It is advised to boil milk in a non-electric kettle as the heating mechanism in an electric kettle can get coated in milk and be hard to clean away. It can also cause the kettle to smoke and foam.

In this article, I am going to talk about how to boil milk in a kettle, whether it is safe and what you should know before doing so.

Can You Boil Milk In A Kettle?

This is a tricky one, as you are not supposed to boil milk with your kettle. Kettles are for boiling and heating water. Most are, however, often tempted to use their kettle for boiling milk just before going to work.

You can use your kettle to boil milk, but this can and only should be done with extreme care.

Is It Safe To Boil Milk In A Kettle?

You can boil your milk in a kettle, but this is not good practice. It could go wrong in a number of ways; this is why it is not a recommended process.

Here are possible ways this process could go wrong:

  1. Instead of evaporating, in many cases, it’ll spill over the kettle
    Milk, unlike water, has unique properties.
    When you heat water, it evaporates, but milk does not, which could result in spilling and a messy scenario.
    Water, fat, and protein are all present in milk.
    As a result, when milk is heated, the fat and protein components disperse from the water.
    As a result, a distinct crust forms on top of the milk, preventing the water from evaporating.
    It is for this reason that milk begins to boil rather than evaporate.
    Overflowing milk from the kettle can sometimes cause a short circuit in the kettle’s electric base.
    In the worst-case situation, the electric kettle could get ruined.
  2. Milk could get burnt if the kettle isn’t the type to turn off automatically
    When the steam hits the top of the pot, most electric kettles shut down immediately.
    After hitting the top, the steam travels down a drain, causing a bimetallic plate to extend.
    The light then goes off. Since the top layer of protein and fats prevents an excess volume of steam from rising from the milk, the kettle does not shut off, and the milk may continue to boil until all of the water in it has evaporated.
    Meanwhile, the protein and fat content in the kettle is getting burnt.
  3. Milk tends to leave fatty and sticky residues in the kettle
    When you microwave or boil milk, it leaves a sticky residue since it contains protein and fat.
    It can be very difficult to clean and scrape all the stains that have settled at the bottom and sides of your electric kettle if the construction is complicated.
    The residue can even get trapped in the nooks and crannies of the electric kettle.
    Over time, this will cause the kettle’s overall functionality to suffer.
    Milk splatters or debris on the heat sensors may also cause the appliance to malfunction.
  4. After using a kettle to boil milk, it might start to stink
    Not only is the residue hard to clean from the kettle, but it could also leave a strong smell in the kettle.
    This could affect the water you’ll next boil with the kettle. They would have this burnt milk taste and smell.
    This odour and taste can be quite disturbing.

If you choose to boil milk in your kettle, then you should know the problems that can occur. Boiling milk in your kettle is a process that comes with a risk of damaging your kettle or leaving it in a bad state.

Does Boiling Milk In A Kettle Ruin The Kettle?

Yes, it does. To explain how it happens, we’d explain the regular working process of the kettle and compare it with what happens when you boil milk instead of water.

How your electric kettle works

The heating unit, which is the heat source, and the thermostat, which turns the kettle off, are the two most critical components of an electric kettle. A metal coil acts as the heating element. The coil is often visible at the bottom of the kettle, but in most brands, this coil is concealed under a plate.

The dense coil heats up when an electrical current travels through it, heating the water in contact with it. The coil pulls a large amount of current in order to create a large amount of heat. As a result, water can be brought to a boil in just 2-3 minutes. Instant kettles use much more electricity and emit significantly more heat.

In less than a minute, they will boil the same amount of water. When water boils, steam is produced. A tube transports the steam to a thermostat, which causes an automated current cut-off. The kettle shuts down.  Some particular kettle types have specialized thermostats that can heat water to a certain temperature and keep it there for an extended period of time.

How the milk boiling process

Milk boils in a very different way than water. Milk is a combination of water, fats, and proteins. When it heats up, a layer of fat and proteins grows on top. Steam can not exit as a result of this. The steam build-up is what causes milk to boil over. You may have already found the defect in this no-steam boiling process.

The thermostat has no means of triggering a shutoff, so the heating system continues to heat the milk. The milk would begin to smoke. Keep in mind that a heating element heats up fast. The extreme heat turns the milk into a char that coats the heating element.

This complicates the situation. The burned milk acts as insulation for the heating unit, causing it to get much hotter. This has the potential to destroy the element and other electrical components, as well as start a fire. Fortunately, most new electric and smart kettles have an overheating protection feature that turns the kettle off as it reaches a certain temperature.

In reality, boiling milk in an electric kettle will only result in a burnt, difficult-to-clean kettle that will most likely be unable to heat water.

How To Boil Milk In A Kettle

Below is the best procedure on how to do it correctly:

  • Pour your required milk quantity into the kettle and leave the lid open
  • Plugin in the kettle and turn it on
  • Keep watching the process from start to finish as it is very possible for it to go wrong at any time.
    The chances of the milk overflowing are high.
  • Once the milk becomes heated, you should keep stirring it evenly with a tablespoon.
  • Have a small amount of water with you.
  • Once the milk is heating up and it looks like it’d overflow anytime, lift the kettle and add a bit of cold water to 1 to 2 tablespoons should do the trick.
  • Once done, you can transfer the milk to your cup.
    The entire process should take around 30 seconds.

Here is another safer method you can try:

  • Get a steel container with a lid and pour your milk there.
  • Add some water to your kettle and put this well-covered steel container in the kettle.
  • Plugin the kettle, heat it up and make sure you cover the lid.
  • Allow it to heat up for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn off your kettle and remove your container carefully.
    It’ll be very hot. You should pay some close attention here.
  • Transfer your milk from the container to your cup.

Do You Need To Clean The Kettle After Boiling Milk In It? 

You must clean your kettle immediately after use. This could very much prevent complications and extend its usability. Remember we talked about how boiling milk in a kettle leaves some residue.

These residues can cause it to smell while making the water you boil with this kettle have this weird taste. You must ensure you clean your kettle after boiling milk with it. This is very compulsory.

Here are some cleaning methods you can adopt:

Vinegar solution

  • Mix water and white vinegar in equal portions. Load the kettle ½ way to ¾ way full with this solution.
  • Boil the solution in the kettle. If the residues are really hard then you should increase the vinegar and boil for long
  • the kettle has boiled to a good degree. You can turn it off and unplug it, then allow the solution to stay in the kettle for about 20 minutes. Then pour out
  • If these residues are very bad, then you should use a non-metallic sponge or soft cloth to clean the inside. Avoid scrubbing the heating element at the kettle bottom.
  • Rinse off the kettle to get rid of the vinegar, then wipe with dry clothing. You might have to do this multiple times, but ensure you do this till there is no taste or smell left.

Using kettle cleaners

You can use commercial products to clean a kettle. They come in powder, gel, and liquid forms, but they all work in the same manner (just ensure you read the manufacturer’s directions carefully). It’s normally as easy as diluting the stuff, boiling it, and allowing it to soak for a while.

Follow this step

  • Try heating a solution of powdered dishwasher detergent and water for 10 minutes in the kettle
  • Rinse as much as possible with a bottlebrush. If necessary, repeat the process.
  • Fill the kettle halfway with white vinegar and let it boil for a bit. Then repeat the process.