There are three significant types of chocolate — white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. Everyone has their favourite, go-to taste. But, how much do you know about the various kinds of chocolate? Do you know what differentiates semisweet from bittersweet?
Differentiates semisweet from bittersweet? Or why white chocolate is more melodic than milk chocolate? It all proceeds down to how the chocolate is made and what elements are used to make it. Read on to learn about the varying tastes, formulations, and characteristics of each kind of chocolate.
Chocolate liquor, also referred to as unsweetened chocolate, is the basis of all varieties of chocolate. This dense, dark brown paste is made from cacao nibs, the inside of the cocoa bean. The bills are finely ground to a smooth texture. When heated, this paste transforms into a liquid that can be moulded into bars or chips. Chocolate liquor is 100 per cent, with no added ingredients. This paste divides into cocoa butter and cocoa powder (also called cocoa solids) (also called cocoa solids). Despite the brand, liquor does not necessarily contain alcohol.
It is easy to recognize because of its cream or ivory hue. It is made by mixing sugar, cocoa butter, milk, vanilla, and lecithin (an emulsifier that makes the ingredients blend) (an emulsifier that helps the ingredients combine). These ingredients give white chocolate its delicious vanilla aroma. White often has a predominately sweet flavour profile, with bold notes of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
Good quality white chocolate will have a solid, smooth, and rich texture — a trait that comes from its cocoa butter centre and high sugar and milk content.
It is unusual because it does not contain any cocoa solids. The cocoa solids give its dark brown colour and chocolatey flavour that we all know and love. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets levels of classification for each kind of chocolate. According to their description, for anything to be called white chocolate, it must contain at least 20 per cent cocoa butter and 14 per cent milk and no more than 55 per cent sugar.
Many ask, “Is white , choclate?” The answer is yes because it contains ingredients from the cacao bean. Not to be confused with the white-flavoured or vanilla-flavoured coating that is often used in sub-par products. Cocoa butter is expensive because it is in high demand by the cosmetics industry for lotions and beauty products. Therefore, companies also produce a compound that replaces other vegetable fats in place of cocoa butter. These white chocolate-like alternatives can’t be officially called white chocolate because they sometimes don’t meet the 20 per cent cocoa butter requirement set by the FDA specification.
White chocolate, when stored properly, has a shelf life of around four months. Although it is good to eat, white is also perfect for cooking, baking, and decorating. The dairy-forward flavour profile brings subtle richness to any meal while also letting other flavours show through. White colour lends itself well to decorating cookies, cakes, and confections.
Milk chocolate is a standard that we all know and adores from childhood. With its light brown colour, creamy texture, and sweet taste, milk chocolate is widely regarded as the most common form of choclate. It is made by mixing chocolate liquor (cocoa solids and cocoa butter) with sugar and milk. Often an emulsifier, such as soy lecithin, is applied to improve its smoothness.
Break off a portion of milk and let the fragrance fill the air. Relish the smell of caramelized sugar, vanilla , and dairy. Then take a bite and let the taste fill your mouth. Milk chocolate also has a sweet and chocolatey flavour profile, with notes of cooked milk and caramelized sugar and a vanilla aftertaste.
It is known to be a decent middle of the road . It is characteristically sweeter, with a smoother texture than dark chocolate, but not quite as sweet and creamy as white chocolate. When properly stored, milk has a shelf-life of around 16 months. Milk chocolate is a perfect alternative for when you want a treat or gift everyone will enjoy.
Dark chocolate, with its unique deep brown colour, is the second most common form of chocolate. It is often referred to as black or semisweet chocolate and is noticeably less sweet than milk chocolate. In recent years, dark chocolate has surged in popularity due to several studies being written about the health benefits.
It is very easy in composition. It is ordinarily made from two elements — liquor and sugar. Often small quantities of vanilla and soy lecithin (an emulsifier) are added. According to the FDA description, dark chocolate must contain at least 15 per cent liquor but typically has closer to about 50 per cent. Most high-quality dark chocolate does not contain added dairy and can be perfect vegan-friendly chocolate. The absence of dairy and less sugar gives dark chocolate a more solid texture than milk or white chocolate. This is why a well-tempered slice of dark would have a smooth snap when cut in half.
The flavour profile of dark chocolate will vary widely based on the cocoa content of the chocolate. It is also slightly sweet and chocolatey, with notes of baked brownie, red fruit, and brown spice (think cinnamon or allspice) (think cinnamon or allspice). Due to its chocolate-forward flavour profile, dark chocolate is perfect for baking when your recipe requires a thick, chocolatey flavour. Dark chocolate’s widely acclaimed health benefits make it a favourite snack among health-conscious customers. When properly stored, it has a shelf-life of around 20 months.
Bittersweet chocolate has gained a lot of attention lately as people have learned more about cacao and cocoa percentages. This kind of chocolate, often referred to as extra-dark chocolate, rose to prominence when people started saying that you should eat dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 per cent or more to get the most health benefits. The recent rise in bean-to-bar chocolate makers and craft chocolate has also led to increased recognition and popularity of higher cocoa content dark chocolate.
Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate share the same FDA concept and must contain more than 35 per cent chocolate liquor, although they usually have at least 50 per cent cocoa liquor. Bittersweet chocolate is generally 66 per cent cocoa content or higher (the added sugar generally less than one-third of the total content) (the added sugar usually less than one-third of the full range).
As its name means, bittersweet chocolate is always a little more bitter than semisweet dark chocolate. The chocolate’s flavour profile can vary greatly, depending on where the cacao is grown – some can be fruit-forward or have a deep earthy flavour, while others can have flavour notes of baked brownies. Bittersweet and semisweet are interchangeable while baking, depending on the recipe and individual taste preferences.
Cocoa powder is formed when chocolate liquor is separated under high pressure, and the resulting cocoa solids are ground into a powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder is 100 per cent cocoa.
There are two types of cocoa powder, natural cocoa and dutch-processed cocoa. Raw cocoa is lighter brown and has a rich chocolate taste that is also acidic. Dutch cocoa is natural cocoa that has been alkalized to neutralize acidity. The dutch-process gives the cocoa powder a rich, warm colour and slightly milder taste.
Unsweetened cocoa, mainly dutch cocoa, is excellent for baking. When added to a recipe, like this ultimate chocolate cake, it can produce a delicious, deep chocolate taste. Unsweetened cocoa may be applies to spice rubs and moles to give the dish a richer, more complex flavour. Dutch-processed cocoa is mainly used when making hot chocolate since the extra process helps the powder blend with liquids quickly.
In 2017, the fourth kind of chocolate, ruby chocolate, was discovered by Belgian chocolate creator Barry Callebaut. With its red-pink colour, this unique chocolate is strikingly different from its other chocolate counterparts. It is not coloured white chocolate but rather a pigment derived from a particular form of cacao — the ruby cocoa bean (a bean traditionally grown in Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast.) Since this is a relatively recent discovery (and the exact cacao making process invented by Barry Callebaut is proprietary), there is no standard FDA concept.
Made from 47.5 per cent cacao content and 26.3 per cent milk, ruby cacao has flavours of intense fruitiness and new sour notes. This cacao’s trendy unique style is perfect for making bold, fruit-forward chocolate treats and colourful Instagram-worthy chocolate confections. When stored properly, ruby cacao can have a shelf-life of about 12 months.