Milk Science

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MS 2.05 Recap and Glossary


  • Professor Abbott’s Five Foam Factors teach us that the conditions for producing superior latte foam are very specific.
  • The two main protein types in milk are caseins and whey proteins.
  • Casein acts as an emulsifier for homogenised fats.
  • Whey protein is the principal surfactant in milk.
  • Surfactants make milk foams more elastic by reducing the surface tension between the air and the bubble film known as the lamella.


Adsorption  The process through which atoms, ions, or molecules spread across the surface of a material to form a film

Aeration level  The proportional increase in the volume of milk expressed as a percentage after the introduction of entrained air; volume gains added to the milk as a result of condensed H20 also contribute to this volume increase.

Amphiphilic  Quality of a molecule which has hydrophobic and hydrophilic components

Closed-cell foam  A foam wherein each cell occupies a distinctly separate pocket, surrounded by solid material

Drainage  The separation of the liquid and air fractions of a foam, promoted by gravity and capillary action

Hydrolysis  The chemical breakdown of a molecule caused by an interaction with water

Hydrophilic  The tendency of a substance to mix with or dissolve into water

Hydrophobic  The tendency of a substance to repel or resist dissolution with water

Ionics  Compounds that are joined together by ionic bonding and are soluble in water; non-ionics are compounds formed of covalent bonds that can’t be dissolved in water.

Lamella  The film coating the outside of a bubble

Liquid fraction  The proportion of the total volume of a foam which is occupied by fluid

Melanoidins  The complex brown-coloured compounds formed through the Maillard reaction; the coffee beverage is the main source of melanoidins in the human diet.

Modulus  A measure of how much pressure a substance can withstand and still recover elastically back to its original shape

Ostwald ripening  A process wherein smaller particles are attracted to larger ones;