So, what actually is the difference between dark, milk and white chocolate?!
There are so many different types of chocolate in the world that are so easily available to us! It can be a tad confusing working out which is actually which! Due to the rise in popularity of bean to bar chocolate, there is a far-reaching misconception that all dark chocolate is ‘fine’ or ‘craft’. Additionally, it seems as though all milk chocolate is of a lower-tier and jam-packed full of sugar. But it may come as a surprise that this is not always the case. Surprisingly, some dark chocolate can actually contain a less percentage of cacao than a lot of milk chocolate!
What on Earth is a Cocoa percentage?!
We’re getting a tad technical now… but in short, the cocoa percentage of a bar can indicate how much of the bar's weight is made of cacao and any by-products of cacao. So, this involves both the beans and the butter!
This is why it can get confusing, because some chocolate that has the same percentage, can taste completely different. This can be because the cocoa butter features more and gives off a creamier taste or the beans feature more and give off a more intense chocolate flavour!
If you read one of our previous posts, ‘what’s really in my chocolate?’, you’ll know that dark chocolate should only be made up of cocoa beans, cocoa butter and on occasion sugar! The cocoa percentage of dark chocolate is usually between 70%-100%.
After the cacao pods have been collected from harvest, the beans inside them are taken out and then fermented. Following this, the newly fermented beans are dried out and sent to chocolatiers across the world, who then roast them. They are then cracked and separated into different sections. These often consist of sections of cacao nibs, parts of the shell or the husk of the shell. Together the nibs and butter are ground together and heated to create chocolate liquor! On occasion sugar is added into dark chocolate as well, this is often done nearer the end of the process. At the end of the whole process, the chocolate is tempered or cooled, ready for moulding!
Milk chocolate has the same ingredients as dark chocolate just with added milk powder! The law in the European Union states that there has to be at least 20% of cocoa in milk chocolate. We’re lucky because in America it is only 10%! In mainstream and commercial chocolate, the other 80-90% is made up of sugar and other ‘bad bits’, which is why milk chocolate has caught a bad reputation over the years! On the other hand, though, craft chocolatiers to make milk as well a dark chocolate bar. These often have a higher percentage of cocoa to the point of almost tripling it!
Powdered milk has been around since 1867 and it didn’t take long for people to start mixing It into cocoa liquor! This method is still to this day used to make milk chocolate!
Another fallen victim of mainstream commercial chocolatiers, white chocolate is often dismissed as a fake tasting, sugary chocolate! But in reality, it all comes from the same cacao pod as the exemplary dark chocolate. It gets its colour because there is no cocoa liquor in it but only cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder.
It took a few years to discover that mixing cocoa butter with sugar and milk powder made white chocolate!
Now you know the processes of the different chocolate and hopefully, don’t hate milk and white chocolate as much anymore!