What’s the difference between white/dark/milk chocolate?


What’s the difference between white/dark/milk chocolate?

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Milk chocolate is just chocolate made with milk. It’s essentially chewable chocolate milk and the history of it is actually kind of interesting. When people first started drinking it in Europe it was done as a bitter tea/coffee like drink that people would add cream and sugar to. Eventually that turned into the milk chocolate we know and love today.

Use less milk and it starts to get bitter again, just like putting less cream in your coffee. Dark chocolate

And if you wait long enough the fats from the milk separate from the chocolate and you can just have that as well. White chocolate.

White chocolate isn’t actually “true chocolate” because it doesn’t have cocoa solids in it. It’s made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and sometimes vanilla.

Milk chocolate includes milk solids and has low cocoa solid levels

Dark chocolate does not include milk solids and has a higher concentration of cocoa solids.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans which are roasted and then ground, separating the fats (cocoa butter) from the solids (which provide almost all of the “chocolate” flavor). The chocolate is then recombined – along with additional ingredients – in different proportions to produce different end products.

White chocolate is the cocoa butter combined with sugar and milk solids (sometimes vanilla is added).

Dark chocolate is the solids combined with some cocoa butter and often other fats (helping to control the melting point) and sugar. No milk/milk solids are added. The percentage numbers you see on some chocolate bars reflect the percentage, by weight, of chocolate solids in the finished product.

Milk chocolate is about the same as dark chocolate, with milk and/or milk solids added.

For baking, you may also see “bakers” or “unsweetened” chocolate, which is dark chocolate without any sugar (so you can control the sweetness in your finished product) or cocoa powder (the powdered form of the chocolate solids).

The main differences are the proportions of cocoa, milk and sugar in them.

Dark (or plain) chocolate has the most cocoa – 50%+ – and the least sugar and doesn’t generally have milk in (although it may have milk derivatives like lactose). At the high end of cocoa content, dark chocolate can have very little sweetness to it. It can be quite bitter, though partly this can be down to using cocoa powder to (more cheaply) make up the cocoa content.

Milk chocolate has less cocoa and more sugar, and obviously has milk in. That gives it a softer, creamier and less bitter taste.

White chocolate uses only cocoa butter, so lacks some of the flavours that come from cocoa powder, not to mention the brown colour. It’ll generally have the highest proportion of milk and sugar. (Though it depends on the chocolate – good quality white chocolate might have more cocoa in than low quality milk.)