What’s the Difference Between Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate?
We’ve all encountered both milk and dark chocolate in stores, and we’ve probably all eaten some of each. We know that milk chocolate tends to be softer and sweeter than dark chocolate, but we might not know much more. If you’ve been wondering what the real difference between milk and dark chocolate is, as well as all the other kinds out there, here are the basic facts.
We discovered that we could separate cocoa and cocoa butter from a processed cocoa bean. These substances are combined in different ways to give us the different kinds of chocolate: milk, dark, and white. Technically, white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, however. It contains only sugar and cocoa butter, not cocoa solids.
The other two products use cocoa solids or cocoa liquor (cocoa solids mixed with cocoa butter which have not been fully processed) in addition to cocoa butter. Other variances in chocolate type occur by varying the temperature and time at which the beans are roasted before grinding.
Unsweetened chocolate is made of pure chocolate liquor mixed with a fat – usually cocoa butter. It’s also called baking chocolate or bitter chocolate. The flavor of this chocolate is strong, but it’s not usually eaten on its own. Instead, unsweetened chocolate is used for making cookies, brownies, cakes and similar foods.
Dark chocolate is made from cocoa solids or cocoa liquor to which fat and sugar have been added. Usually dark chocolate must have its fats from cocoa liquor, and its often very high in cocoa concentration – 65% or more. This is my personal favorite. Besides tasting great to me I know in certain quantities there could be health benefits to eating dark chocolates.
Milk chocolate is made similarly to dark chocolate, but it uses less cocoa and adds milk powder or condensed milk, too. The process of making solid chocolate using condensed milk was perfected in the 1870s. This is the most common type of chocolate used in everyday candy bars.
Semi-sweet chocolate is used mostly for cooking (such as in chocolate chip cookies). It’s a low sugar type of dark chocolate.
Bittersweet chocolate is similar to semi-sweet chocolate, but uses more cocoa butter and less sugar. It’s interchangeable in baking, but higher cocoa percentages usually indicate a less sweet chocolate.
Couverture refers to any chocolate with a high cocoa butter content. These chocolates contain high cocoa percentages as well as a high total fat content.
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter and sugar and includes no cocoa solids.
Cocoa powders is made by removing almost all of the cocoa butter from chocolate liquor and allowing the solids to dry. They’re then ground. There are two main types of cocoa powder – natural, which is more acidic, and dutch process.
Compound chocolate refers to cocoa combined with vegetable fats like palm oil. Not a true chocolate, this is part of “chocolatey coatings” and “chocolate flavored confections”. Some white chocolates are also made without cocoa butter and fall into this category.