There’s no denying that the invention of electric kettles has brought convenience to many households. Back then, it would take several minutes to boil some water for your coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, not to mention that you would have to look out for it once it boiled.
Today, electric kettles have made our lives so much easier. As much as you want to boil anything with it, such as milk, for your convenience, it’s not as easy and safe as you thought it would be. Here we will discuss whether you can put milk in a kettle and the precautions that come with it.
Can You Put Milk in an Electric Kettle?
Yes, you can boil milk in an electric kettle. However, note that there are risks when you do so, such as getting burnt milk, high chances of the milk boiling over, and more. If you need to boil milk, traditional kettles are the best and most efficient way to do it. (Read What Is Dead Dough In Baking)
How an Electric Kettle Works
Any electrical conductor, such as kettles, has resistance. It refers to measuring how difficult it is for electrical current to flow through a conductor. When the current starts flowing through a material with resistance, it starts generating heat. This principle is where an electrical heating element works.
It is of note that the element of a kettle is placed on its base, whether a visible metal coil or a hidden one built into the base. Once plugged in and an electrical current flow through the element, it heats up. It then also heats the water around the element. The warm water rises, and the cold water sinks to the bottom. This process continues as the water gets warmer and warmer until it reaches its boiling point. It then automatically turns off.
Risks of Boiling Milk in an Electric Kettle
It’s tempting to boil milk in a kettle, especially if you’re in a rush or have no other means to heat it. But before you do it, here are some of the hazards that you should know:
Milk would likely spill over
Kettles are designed for boiling water ONLY, and boiling anything other than it, such as milk, puts it at risk of spilling over. Unlike water, milk has properties such as fat and protein that disperse in the water when heated. So, instead of evaporating, it forms a crust on top of the milk that would most likely spill over.
Once the milk overflows from the kettle, it can cause a short circuit in the electric base and ruin it.
Milk would likely burn instead of boil
Electric kettles switch off automatically once the water has reached its boiling temperature. However, these temperature sensors may not work properly if you put in another liquid other than water.
Take it from milk, for instance, where the top layer of protein and fats prevent an excess volume of steam from rising from the milk that does not shut off the kettle automatically. Hence, the milk will continue to boil until all the water has evaporated. Meanwhile, the protein and fats are already getting burnt.
Milk leaves a fatty and sticky residue
Unlike water, milk leaves a fatty and sticky residue that can be hard to clean. As if it isn’t tricky enough, there’s also a tendency that these residues would get stuck in the narrow areas of the kettle, clog it, and cause it to malfunction. (Read Can You Make Macaroni And Cheese Without Butter)
Milk can make the kettle smell bad
Since milk is a perishable product, the residue it leaves in the kettle can start to smell over time. Bacteria growth is also possible if the kettle is not maintained correctly. Worse, you could get sick if you did not know that bacteria had already started growing inside the kettle due to the leftover milk.
Pros and Cons of Boiling Milk
There are several pros and cons when boiling milk rather than drinking it straight from a carton or gallon:
Pro: More beneficial fats
Yes, the other fatty acids in boiled milk can provide health benefits, such as lowering cancer risks and promoting healthier blood pressure levels. Short-chain fats are associated with better gut health, reducing colon cancer risk. Some studies also suggest that this fat play an essential role in our body weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
Pro: Better for the lactose intolerant people
If you have lactose intolerance, boiled milk can be easier to digest. Studies also said that milk contains at least 364 proteins, which significantly diminishes about 23 of them when boiled. Some of its lactose content is also reduced since boiling converts it into various acids and lactulose.
Con: Reduced nutrients
According to studies, some of milk’s nutrients, such as B vitamins, are sensitive to heat and boiling, which can decrease all the levels of it by 24%. Meanwhile, folic acid is reduced by around 36%. These reduced nutrients can be a factor for people who rely on milk as one of the protein sources in their diet.
Con: Change in taste and quality
The taste, color, and quality change are only noticeable if you drink your milk straight. But if you use it while cooking your recipes, it might be less noticeable.
Proper Way to Boil Milk
Whether you are using it for culinary purposes or want hot milk before going to bed, it’s essential to know the basics of boiling milk.
The boiling point of milk is around 203°F (95°C). So, quickly bringing it to a boil can burn the sugar and curdle the protein. The foam which forms on top can also spill over speedily and create a mess on the stovetop. If you want an excellent way to heat milk without spoiling or burning it, heat it in a pot or saucepan and keep these things in mind:
- Heat your milk slowly over medium heat in a pot.
- Stir it while it comes to a boil. Doing this can help hold the milk’s water, carbs, fat, and protein together.
- Turn off the heat once you see bubbles forming around the edges of your pot.
How to Boil Milk in a Kettle
If you have no choice but only your kettle to boil milk, here’s the best way you can do it:
- Pour the milk into the kettle, but fill it at most halfway.
- Do not shut the lid of the kettle. Remember, milk does not produce as much steam as water, plus it’s prone to spilling over.
- Turn on the kettle and watch its boiling process. You may notice the milk begin to rise and overflow quickly, so keep your eye on it.
- If you see that it’s already close to overflowing, use a spoon and gently stir it.
- Once you see that the milk is already boiling, switch off the kettle manually.
Tips to Avoid Burned Milk When Boiling in a Kettle
You can follow these tips when putting milk in a kettle to avoid it getting burnt:
- Opt for a kettle with a temperature control feature. This will allow you to set and adjust its temperature once you heat it.
- Once set, put the milk in the kettle before adding water. Adding water can help prevent the milk from scorching. Never fill the kettle half full to avoid it spilling over.
- Gradually add the water to the milk. Adding too much at once can result in the milk boiling over.
- Once the milk has reached its desired temperature, you can turn off the kettle.
How to Clean Electric Kettles
You must clean electric kettles every after use, mainly if you use them to heat milk. Milk residues tend to leave a foul odor in the kettle afterward and are also prone to bacteria build-up. (Learn How Long Does Artichoke Last In The Fridge)
Here are some ways you can do to ensure you’ll leave your kettle spot clean:
Use a vinegar solution
Vinegar solution has always been a top cleaning agent on countertops or appliances. As for cleaning kettles, try to follow these steps:
- Mix equal parts water and white vinegar. Put it in the kettle up to 1/2 or 3/4 full.
- Turn on the kettle and boil the solution. If the residues are stuck, add more vinegar to the solution and boil it longer.
- After the solution finishes boiling and automatically shuts off, do not remove it from the kettle. Let it stay for about 20 minutes or so.
- If you’ve already poured out the solution and the smell or residue is still there, you can use a soft sponge or cloth and wipe the insides of the kettle.
- Rinse off the kettle and wipe it with dry clothing. Keep repeating the steps until you completely eliminate the residues and unwanted smell.
Use a citric acid
Like vinegar, citric acid is also a great cleaning agent that gets rid of mildew, mold, and bacteria:
- Fill the kettle halfway with water and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water boils, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of citric acid.
- Let the mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you pour out the solution.
- Scrub the insides of the kettle with a soft sponge or cloth if needed, and rinse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you boil almond milk in a kettle?
Yes, you can boil almond milk, but not recommended. Like regular milk, your almond milk might get ruined if you put it in an electric kettle.
Can you boil milk in a stovetop kettle?
Yes, you can boil milk in a stovetop kettle, but make sure that you keep an eye on it. It might not be as risky as boiling milk in an electric kettle, but it’s also prone to spilling over when left unattended.
Can you boil milk in a tea kettle?
Yes, you can boil milk in a tea kettle. The same applies for stovetops and tea kettles that need overseeing to ensure they won’t spill over.
Electric kettles are created for boiling and heating water and nothing else. So, if you’re thinking of using it for boiling milk and other liquids, be ready for the risks that come with it. You cannot quickly fix some electric kettles once it has a short circuit, and it might only cost you a lot more.
The only best way to heat your milk would be through pots and saucepans. Don’t try risking your electric kettles, mainly if you use them daily!