Milk chocolate exists as one of the three main categories of chocolate that currently exist. The use of the term milk chocolate (along with white and dark) is regulated by the government to ensure the consumer is receiving the real deal.
What defines milk chocolate?
According to the FDA, milk chocolate must have at least 25% cocoa solids, 15% cocoa butter, 12% milk solids, and 2.5% milk fat. In Canada, the use of cocoa butter substitutes are not permitted. Chocolate manufacturers have found ways to use vegetable fats or oils in place of cocoa butter to reduce their costs, as cocoa butter is typically one of the most expensive ingredients in chocolate.
Here's a quick breakdown of the terms mentioned above:
- Cocoa solids are the remaining components of the cacao bean after the cocoa butter has been extracted.
- Cocoa butter is the extracted fat from the cacao bean
- Milk solids refer to the dried powder left after the water is removed from liquid milk
- Milk fat is the proportion of milk, by weight, that is made up of butterfat
Ingredients refining into chocolate
Why use milk solids instead of just milk?
Milk Chocolate is a suspension of cocoa solids, milk solids and sugar in cocoa butter. It is shelf stable, like all other chocolate, containing low to no moisture.
Cocoa butter is hydrophobic. It tends to repel or fail to mix with water. Sugar is hydrophillic, meaning it can dissolve in water.
If we were to add a small amount of water into chocolate, it will seize. The sugar will dissolve into water, and the cocoa butter will repel the water, leaving you with a lumpy mess that is hard to fix.
Other types of milk chocolate
Dark Milk Chocolate is a hybrid of milk chocolate and dark chocolate. It borrows the creamy qualities from milk solids but has a higher percentage of cacao. We make a Madagascar 60% dark milk and it reminds us of a strawberry milkshake.
Our Madagascar 60% dark milk chocolate bar
There is a lot of freedom when making milk chocolate. Nuts, spices, fruit powder, and caramel are just a few ways you can add a little flair to a classic milk chocolate base. So if you are into making chocolate or chocolate goodies, get creative and have fun!