Dairy Ingredients Rhyme With Opportunities For Fine Milk Chocolate

Most of the merit of the bean-to-bar movement has been in raising awareness for dark single-origin chocolate, which, as a result, boosted quality improvement and product differentiation for specialty cacao beans over the last years.

As there is still a learning curve for single-origin chocolate and cacao products, the next big opportunity for the fine chocolate industry is in a better understanding of the dairy ingredients in milk chocolate. The reason is strategic: for ages, industrial chocolate manufacturers have been capitalizing on the appeal of milk chocolate for being the most preferred type of chocolate in the world.

In 2017, the global

  • dark chocolate market was valued at approximately 43.4 billion U.S. dollars, and is forecast to reach approximately 69.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2023,
  • milk chocolate market was valued at approximately 61.4 billion U.S. dollars, and is forecast to reach approximately 76.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2023,
  • white chocolate market was valued at approximately 17.6 billion U.S. dollars, and is forecast to reach approximately 18 billion U.S. dollars by 2023.

Given that milk is the type of chocolate mostly hard to die, despite the growing popularity of dark chocolate, how could the niche specialty industry stand out from the mass industrial producers? The secret seems nothing new under the sun, as there are already on the market chocolate bars that combine the sought-after refinement of the dark with the taste familiarity of the milk. The key to new opportunities and innovations for the fine and specialty chocolate industry would then be in a better understanding of the nutritional, functional, and sensory aspects of the dairy ingredients for chocolate.

Before analyzing these aspects in depth, what are history and standards of identity in Europe and the U.S. about milk chocolate to know, and the main controversies against milk chocolate to demystify?

 

History of Milk Chocolate

In the U.K. in 1795, Joseph Fry founded his family chocolate business, J.S. Fry & Sons, after patenting a method of grinding cocoa beans.
In 1847, Fry’s son Joseph Storrs Fry developed a method of mixing melted cocoa butter with cocoa powder and sugar into a mold to create the first ever chocolate bar. Since then, demand for cocoa sharply increased, as chocolate processing became mechanized with the development of cocoa presses for the production of cocoa butter and cocoa powder, whose patent had been attributed to Dutch Casparus van Houten back in 1828.
In 1858, Swiss candle maker turned chocolate maker Daniel Peter came up with the idea of a process for making milk chocolate. However, Peter encountered several problems with removing the water from the milk, which caused mildew to form. It was not until he enlisted the cooperation of his neighbor in Vevey Henri Nestlé, a baby-food manufacturer who produced condensed milk, that finally, in 1875, after seven years of effort, he was able to bring the product onto the market.

Food Technology applications have surprising roots in military history. Condensed milk is no exception: this ingredient was born from the contingency to feed troops a stable form of nutritious ratios during the American Civil War.

The invention of the first canned condensed milk is attributed to Gail Borden II, a native New Yorker who was a land surveyor in Texas and operated a factory to produce “meat biscuit,” a dehydrated beef product. Borden had been relying heavily upon the United States Army to issue him a lucrative contract to supply meat biscuits for use by American soldiers. When the military declined to buy into the product, Borden’s meat biscuit proved to be a failure.
In 1851, supplies of fresh milk across the country started being threatened by contamination. Inspired by the vacuum pan he had seen being used to condense fruit juice and herbs, Borden’s interest in preserving milk in a safe form through the same technology grew strong.
In 1856, after a few years of refining his model, Borden received the patent for his process of condensing milk by vacuum. At that time, he abandoned the meat biscuit, to focus on his new product.
In 1857, Borden formed a partnership with a financier from New York impressed with his innovation and together they founded the New York Condensed Milk Company. Sales of Borden’s condensed milk began to improve since then. By 1858, Borden’s milk, sold as Eagle Brand, had gained a reputation for purity, durability, and economy.
The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 soon after created a consistent demand for condensed milk from the Union Army, as officers purchased several hundred pounds of milk for their soldiers.

Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
Advertisement for Gail Borden’s Eagle Brand Condensed Milk from an 1898 guidebook for travelers in the Klondike Gold Rush

As the Civil War continued, many new factories were built and licenses were granted to individuals to begin producing condensed milk in their own factories using Borden’s patent. Despite the quick growth of the company, Borden put a high value on sanitation. He developed cleanliness practices that continue to be used in the production of condensed milk to this day.

The manufacturing of the first condensed milk supplies soon expanded in Europe, specifically in Switzerland. In 1866, two companies became competitors in the market of condensed milk:

  • the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company in Cham, run by American-born brothers Charles and George Page, produced MilkMaid Brand, mostly sold to British colonial troops,
Credit: Nestlé S.A.
  • whereas the Société Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé in Vevey, run by German-born Heinrich Nestle, produced Farine Lactée, a flour-based infant food.
Credit: Nestlé S.A.

Despite their rivalry, the two companies thrived. This is because they won trust through unstinting quality standards and a progressive approach for their time. The merit of the Page bros was in giving farmers technical help to increase milk quality and quantity, and building housing for staff in Cham and a kindergarten for their children. Nestlé and his successors, instead, used the reputation for Switzerland’s high-quality milk as part of the product’s marketing strategy.

Credit: Nestlé S.A.

Also, to influence perceptions about his product, Nestlé produced a series of pamphlets, distributed to doctors and pharmacists, which explained the merits of the product.

Credit: Nestlé S.A.

His understanding of the importance of creating a brand was echoed in advertising campaigns that were both beautiful as well as functional.

Credit: Nestlé S.A.

A merger of equals made sense. In 1905, Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss signed an agreement, and, in 1929, the company incorporated Switzerland’s largest chocolate company formed by trio Peter-Cailler-Kohler to establish its presence on the market of chocolate at an international level.

Credit: Nestlé S.A.

In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer and inventor succeeded in improving the quality of chocolate by developing the conching machine, a lengthwise stirring device which gives the chocolate a finer consistency and lets undesired aromas evaporate. Lindt was also among the first chocolate makers to add cocoa butter back into the chocolate mass to make the chocolate particularly smooth. These two innovations contributed significantly not only to make Swiss chocolate renowned in the world but especially to expose a broader population to the creamy notes and smooth texture of milk chocolate.

The development of milk chocolate in Switzerland forged an appreciation for chocolate in a solid form around the world.

Although chocolate bars had their beginnings in the mid 19th century, their sales grew most rapidly in the early-20th century. In 1897, following the lead of Swiss companies, British chocolate producer Cadbury introduced its own line of milk chocolate bars, with Cadbury Dairy Milk, produced in 1905, becoming the company’s best selling bar. In North America, Hershey’s from the U.S. introduced the first milk chocolate bar in 1900, while Ganong Bros. from Canada developed and began selling their version of the chocolate bar in 1910.

 

What Milk Chocolate is according to European and American Food Standards

The standards of identity in the European Union and in the United States for milk chocolate provide the minimum requirements necessary to define the characteristics of this type of chocolate. This implies that anything that does not fall within the requirements described below cannot be considered milk chocolate (e.g., chocolate made from plant-based ingredients replacing milk ingredients):

 Directive 2000/36/EC. Milk (1) chocolate
designates the product obtained from cocoa products, sugars, and milk or milk products, which contains:
— not less than 25% total (fat + non-fat) dry cocoa solids,
— not less than 14% milk solids obtained by partly or wholly dehydrating whole milk, semi- or full-skimmed milk, cream, or from partly or wholly dehydrated cream, butter or milk fat,
— not less than 2.5% non-fat cocoa solids,
— not less than 3.5% milk fat,
— not less than 25% total fat (cocoa butter + milk fat).

(1) = Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, Part III establishes what milk is:

  • “Milk” means exclusively the normal mammary secretion obtained from one or more milkings without either addition thereto or extraction therefrom.
  • “Milk products” means products derived exclusively from milk.
  • The animal species from which the milk originates shall be stated, if it is not bovine.

 CFR §163.130. Milk (2) chocolate
is the solid or semiplastic food containing not less than 10% by weight of chocolate liquor (the naturally occurring cocoa solids from grinding the cocoa nibs), not less than 3.4% by weight of milk fat, and not less than 12% by weight of total milk solids based on the dairy ingredients below:
(i) Cream, milk fat, butter;
(ii) Milk, concentrated milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, dried milk; and
(iii) Skim milk, concentrated skim milk, evaporated skim milk, sweetened condensed skim milk, nonfat dry milk.

(2) = CFR §131.110 establishes what milk is:

  • Milk is the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.

 

Controversies against Milk Chocolate to demystify

Raised as kids with the taste and a preference for milk chocolate, but informed as adults about the qualities and a rediscovery of the main ingredient in dark chocolate—that is cocoa, today’s fine chocolate consumers tend to see dark chocolate as the only type worth shopping for being a powerhouse of health benefits. In particular, dark chocolate has crept up on the popularity of milk chocolate in recent years thanks to two controversial perceptions:

  • Milk chocolate is perceived cheap quality compared to dark chocolate, as it contains less cocoa and more sugar than dark chocolate, so considered overall less healthy, whereas
  • Dairy ingredients are perceived as less appealing than ever for the growing popularity of dairy-free alternatives.

Those who have limited their perspectives to these misconceptions have not scratched the surface in the potentialities offered by milk chocolate. As a consequence, the information available about chocolate consumption is now saturated with praises on dark chocolate, whereas there is still little awareness about the attributes of milk chocolate for a demanding consumer audience. To start reversing this view, let’s notice how the finest chocolate makers have not put all their eggs in one basket by focusing just on dark chocolate, but diversified their plain dark lines with milk chocolate options made with traditional dairy ingredients. Why?
The answers dwell in the less voiced features of milk chocolate: the dairy ingredients.

 

Understanding Dairy Ingredients applied to Chocolate

In high-quality milk chocolate, there is that pleasurable taste balance between the cocoa flavors of the chocolate portion and the creamy notes of the dairy ingredients, but there is even more. Chocolate and milk powders are a match made in heaven for the functional properties of the latter added to the finished product.

Likewise cocoa, dried milk ingredients are one of the most complex and versatile raw materials used by the food industry, suitable for applications spanning from confectionery and bakery to baby foods and sports supplements.

At its original liquid state, a typical bovine whole milk has a solids content of about 13.5%, comprising about 3.5% protein, 4.6% fat, 4.7% lactose (milk sugar), and 0.7% minerals. Once processed in a stable dry form, not only milk ingredients are crucial in delivering highly desired flavor profile to consumers, but also have a significant effect on chocolate processing. The sensory profile and texture of a milk chocolate are in fact determined by the choice of the dairy ingredients being used.

In milk chocolate manufacturing, two are the most popular dairy ingredients:

  1. Dry Whole Milk Powder / Whole Milk Powder
    Dry whole milk and whole milk powder refer to U.S. and Codex-defined terms respectively; they must each contain something in between 26% and 42% milkfat by weight.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach in choosing between roller-dried and spray-dried WMPs. Because of the higher thermal shock created in the process leading to more Maillard reactions, a roller-dried WMP may be favored to a spray-dried WMP for more cooked flavors. However, roller-dried WMPs tend to make chocolate thinner and softer thanks to a more significant quantity of milk fat freed from the globules (such fluidity enables the manufacturers to reduce the amount of cocoa butter to be included in the mix).

2. Nonfat Dry Milk (NDM) / Skim Milk Powder (SMP)
NDM and SMP are similar but are defined by two different sets of regulations and authorities. NDM is defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while SMP is defined by CODEX Alimentarius. Both contain 1.5% or less milkfat by weight. The difference is that SMP has a minimum milk protein content of 34%, whereas NDM has no standardized protein level.

Comparative Typical Composition of Dry Milks
Buttermilk use is marginal compared to whole and nonfat/skim milk options. In the U.S., buttermilk chocolate has a standard of identity defined in CFR §163.135.

Nonfat Dry Milk (NDM) and Skim Milk Powder (SMP) are classified for use as ingredients according to the heat treatment used in their manufacture. The cumulative amount of heat applied during manufacturing influences the level of undenatured protein, manipulating its functionality. There are three main classifications: high-heat, medium-heat, and low-heat.

Heat Treatment Classification for NDM/SMP
Medium-heat is the type of NDM/SMP indicated explicitly for confectionery products.

 

The functional properties of milk powders are therefore dependent not only upon their composition, but also the processing conditions before drying and during drying.
But what are those functionalities so uniquely delivered by milk powder ingredients?

 

Top 4 Milk Powder Functionalities

1. Nutrition/Fortification. Unlike plant-based alternatives, milk powders possess high-quality proteins—all of the amino acids required for a perfectly balanced dietary intake—in a readily digestible form. Also, milk powders are high in lactose—a disaccharide that is more slowly digested than sucrose (the sugar in beetroot and sugar cane)—and are rich in calcium and fat-soluble vitamins, both of which are assimilated in a quick bioavailable way.
2. Stabilization/Emulsification. The proteins in milk powders are so versatile in that they possess oil/water interfaces to form and stabilize emulsions (mixes of water and fat). The natural lecithin present in milkfat also assists in stabilizing emulsions by coating the lipophilic (fat-repelling) surfaces of the sugar particles and binding them to the fat suspension homogeneously.
3. Browning/Color. Milk powders contribute to browning and enhance color when the protein and reducing sugar lactose undergo Maillard reactions (the sucrose added to chocolate is not a natural reducing sugar.)
4. Flavor/Aroma. Dairy powders are quite bland and contribute no off-flavors to foods when used as an ingredient. During heat processing, the lactose present in milk powders reacts with the proteins leading to the production of different flavors. Moreover, the milkfat present in milk powders acts as a powerful flavor carrier for fat-soluble compounds naturally present in chocolate.

Add to this already exciting scenario that there are further layers of complexity in the major components in milk powder (proteins, lactose, milkfat), and then you can figure out the potentialities of each of them affecting how different milk powders perform and their suitability for tailor-made applications.

 

Breaking Down Dairy Proteins

Dairy proteins are one of the best sources of quality protein, their nutritional properties are the basis of the beneficial claims advertised on baby foods and athlete supplements. Proteins in milk can be classified as either caseins or whey proteins—typically found in milk at a ratio of about 5:1 (80% vs. 20%) respectively. Dairy protein ingredient options represent a concentrated source of protein for enhanced nutritional, sensory, and functional properties in the final application. They can be broken up into two main commercial categories:

  • Whey protein ingredients. These ingredients must contain not less than 25% protein. They include whey protein concentrates (WPC), which usually range in protein from 34 to 89%, and whey protein isolates (WPI), which are more concentrated forms of WPCs, starting from a minimum of 90% protein. Whey protein concentrates have a standard of identity, which is the CFR 184.1979c.
    Functionality Overview of Various Whey and Whey Protein Products
  • Milk protein ingredients. These are the complete proteins in milk, in that they contain both casein and whey proteins in the same ratio as milk (80% vs. 20% respectively.) Milk protein ingredients include milk protein concentrates (MPC) and isolates (MPI) with similar ranges in protein as whey protein ingredients. MPCs and MPIs do not currently have a standard of identity, as they are relatively new to the U.S. dairy ingredient world, with the first MPC manufactured in 2000.
    Selected functional properties of milk protein concentrates (MPCs) and their applications in the final products

The exciting fact about MPCs is that they are similar products to nonfat dried milk (NFDM) powders and so they are often used interchangeably or in combination with them. The main difference between MPCs and NFDMs is that the former are more dynamic ingredients, for their protein content increasing, whereas that of lactose decreasing.
Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs) composition

The main distinction between the two commercial categories of dairy protein ingredients is that MPCs contain both casein and whey proteins whereas WPCs contain whey proteins solely. Understanding how casein and whey proteins react differently under various conditions means understanding the properties of the ingredients where they are present.

  • Caseins in the MPCs are good at fat emulsification, foaming, and water binding, and have good heat stability as long as the pH of the application they are used in is above 6. When the pH decreases below 6, caseins will form acid gels, which are desired in foods like yogurt or cheese, but not others.
  • Whey proteins are too known for possessing foaming and gelling properties, but at over a wide pH range, even if they show more heat sensitivity. Unlike casein, whey proteins will denature upon heating starting at about 145°F (63°C)—which may be surpassed when conching chocolate and the proteins will eventually form a gel at a concentration of 7% protein. Whey proteins do not form acid gels like caseins though, which is a crucial difference to consider when choosing the formulation of dairy protein ingredients.

Functional Properties of Major Milk Powder Components

Functional Properties of Milk Proteins

A good manufacturing practice in foods with a pH value close to 6 is having a part of the MPC substituted with a portion of WPC, as the casein ingredient in the former will act as a chaperone and provide some added heat stability to the latter. Also, to avoid the gelling effects of casein- and whey-protein based applications at specific concentrations, the optimal addition of individual or combined amounts of them should not surpass a level higher than 5-7% by weight of the total product.

 

Breaking Down Lactose

Lactose is the naturally occurring sugar in milk. It is a disaccharide formed from the monosaccharides glucose and galactose, which are the byproducts of the hydrolyzation via the enzyme ß-galactosidase, also called lactase, during gut digestion. As a reducing sugar, either lactose itself or its constituent monosaccharide components are extremely reactive after hydrolysis, and then they readily undergo Maillard reactions with proteins. Products from these reactions make an essential contribution to the properties of many foods, in this case to the delicate caramel notes in milk chocolate. The present-day large-scale production of lactose is based on whey processing, from which it is isolated to a very high degree of purity following several purification steps.

Processing of Lactose

The main difference of lactose with nonreducing disaccharides like sucrose is that its reducing form (containing a reactive aldehyde group) readily undergo Maillard reactions with free amino groups from proteins, thus providing further flavor complexity to chocolate.

The main features and advantages of lactose added as an ingredient are:

  • Nutritional safety. Because digestion of lactose is much slower than that of glucose or sucrose, lactose is considered relatively safe for diabetics. It does not cause a sharp increase in blood glucose levels like other sweeteners, giving it a nutritional advantage in the diabetic diet.
  • Sweetness perception. Lactose is about 25% of the sweetness of sucrose. So sweetness perception can be controlled using lactose in place of sucrose in chocolate.
  • Crystallization enhancement. Lactose alters the crystallization behavior of sucrose by keeping its crystals smaller and reducing their tendency to combine together. This yields a more controlled crystalline mass in the chocolate.
  • Flavor promotion. Besides promoting non-enzymatic browning reactions, lactose is several times more effective than most sugars in attracting and holding volatile aromas and flavors. It shows an equal affinity for aldehydes, ketones, and esters—the volatile flavor compounds that are important in chocolate as well as many other foods.

In milk chocolate making, the optimal use level for lactose ranges from 3 to 7% by weight of the total product.

 

Breaking Down Milkfat

Milk fat is a complex mixture of triacylglycerols, which account for more than 98% of the composition, and other minor lipid components, being phospholipids, diacylglycerols, and sterols.

Main Classes of Lipids in Milk

Triacylglycerols are made up of fatty acids, of which 70% are saturated and 30% unsaturated. The fat amount and its composition in milk vary due to several factors, including the cow’s breed, feed source, stage of lactation, and season. The final melting point of milkfat is 98.6°F (37°C), but the heterogeneity of milkfat fatty acids results in a very desirable melting behavior useful as versatile applications.

Typical Fatty Acid Profile of Milk Fat

The main features and advantages of milkfat are:

  • Flavor formation. One of the most critical functions of milk fat in chocolate is its role as a flavor precursor. The fats in dairy ingredients can provide flavors by some mechanisms that occur during the manufacture of chocolate. These include hydrolysis or lipolysis, dehydration, and decarboxylation. Although lipolysis is considered to be undesirable in most dairy products, it can be used to advantage in milk chocolate. Fresh milk naturally contains enzymes called lipases, which hydrolyze the triacylglycerols and release fatty acids including butyric, caproic, and capric acids, which impart the typical buttery and creamy flavor associated with milk chocolate. These volatile components are present in milk at higher levels than any other fat. Conversion of flavor precursors to active flavor compounds in milkfat during heating yields flavors that are unique to milkfat. Besides aromatic fatty acids, more than 100 compounds have been identified in milkfat contributing to the flavor, including methyl ketones, lactones, and aldehydes. Flavor compounds soluble in fat release slowly in the mouth, resulting in a longlasting flavor experience.
  • Eutectic effect. From a technological point of view, the proportion of butter fat in milk chocolate causes an eutectic effect with the cocoa butter, which prevents fat bloom formation and results in a lower melting point, softening of texture, and lowering of temperature to obtain crystal seed for the tempering process (around 29.4°C compared to 34.5°C for plain dark chocolate). Moreover, milk fat ingredients added to chocolate together with skim milk powder are freer to react with the cocoa butter and soften the chocolate than if a full cream milk powder were used.

Milkfat can make up as much as 30% of the fat phase in chocolate, but the higher the level used, the softer the chocolate, due to the low-melting glycerols that lower the melting point of the chocolate.

 

Breaking Down Milk Chocolate Crumb

An even less known ingredient than dairy is the so-called ‘chocolate crumb.’ For requiring expensive equipment and complex processes, this ingredient is more typically created by industrial makers of milk chocolate.
Chocolate crumb is developed by first condensing fresh whole milk with sugar, which is then mixed with cocoa mass and cooked together under vacuum drying conditions at a temperature range of about 75°C – 105°C (167°F – 221°F) for 4 – 8h, until it reaches about 1% of humidity. In absence of air to prevent fat oxidation and in presence of water (28%) from sweetened condensed milk, this ingredient presents a few unique advantages:

  • It offers more diverse possibilities to create brand signature flavors, like biscuits, toffee, fruit, and caramel notes, from the Maillard reactions occurring within. Chocolate flavors vary by controlling the processing conditions (quality of ingredients applied and different combinations of time vs. temperature).
  • It has a longer shelf-life than milk powders as the cocoa mass provides natural antioxidants stabilizing fat against rancidity.
  • It is less sticky and hygroscopic (lower tendency to absorb humidity), so it is more stable when stored and easier to handle.
  • It requires less addition of fat from cocoa butter or milkfat, as very little amorphous sugar remains to trap fat.
  • It requires short conching times, as Maillard reactions and adjustments in particle size distribution and viscosity are eased during the crumb making process.

milk chocolate crumb

Customization of milk chocolate crumb by specialized dairy ingredient suppliers is possible, but often not economically viable and materially controllable for small chocolate makers (small lots of cacao beans and applications focused on single-origin cocoa are the main challenges to overcome from the perspective of efficiency).

 

What can be considered High-Quality Milk Chocolate?

Having seen how milk ingredients can confer positive attributes such as aromatic, nutritional, and functional properties in milk chocolate, one of the main controversies on the perception of poor quality associated with milk chocolate then gets surpassed. Yet, excessive sweetness compared to dark chocolate still remains an aspect to demystify. Reading the ingredients list of a milk chocolate bar can not only help in this sense, but also guess what kind of result the maker wants to highlight in the product.

Starting from the quality attributes referred by industry associations and awarding organizations, we can have a first distinction:

  • Fine Milk Chocolate can be considered a product containing at least 30-35% cocoa (no vegetable fats other than cocoa butter and no artificial ingredients);
  • Dark Milk Chocolate starts from the same attributes of Fine Milk Chocolate, but with high cocoa percentages, ranging from 50-60% upward.

From these considerations, opting for a dark milk with a cocoa content superior to a traditional fine milk certainly succeeds in making milk chocolate better appreciated even by a demanding public. The reason is deducible: not only the highest percentage of cocoa steals space to sugar in the recipe of milk chocolate, but the addition of milk ingredients further replace that of sugar, creating a complexity of flavors with the sole part in chocolate. (Let’s recall how lactose is about 3-4 times less sweet than sugar, as well as promoting more complex Maillard reactions that affect the final aroma of chocolate.)

Though we can’t guess what process flow or kind of milk powder a brand chose for their product, following are a few indicative aspects to consider in the ingredients list of a milk chocolate bar:

  • Cocoa percentages. The final cocoa percentage is given by the sum of cocoa mass and cocoa butter percentages. In dark milk, the cocoa mass (cocoa beans) is generally the first ingredient on the list.
  • Cane sugar before Milk powder. Most of the single-origin dark milk chocolate makers consider milk powder as an inclusion ingredient and so it is usually relegated at the end of the list, after cane sugar. Behind this approach is that the original flavor profile of single-origin cocoa won’t be much “altered” by the addition of milk powder into the chocolate.
  • Milk powder before Cane sugar. A few makers differentiate themselves by going beyond the cocoa origin and creating more signature blends when milk powder is in a slightly greater amount than cane sugar—then listed before cane sugar or even replacing it altogether to turn out a no-added-sugar option. The final flavor of this type of chocolate will be more closely linked to the style of the producer than the “purity” of a cocoa origin.
  • Milk powder before Cacao. Nicely typical of crumb-based chocolate bars, 45-50% cacao dark milk chocolate may present ‘milk powder,’ ‘full cream milk,’ or ‘condensed milk’ listed before cocoa mass or at the beginning of the list. With a light brown color, a soft texture, and a signature flavor profile balanced between dairy and cocoa notes, this type of milk chocolate may appeal to chocolate lovers who look for an exclusive experience of milk chocolate linked to the particular style of a brand.

 

Fine Chocolate Makers Can Find New Opportunities in Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate, despite the growing popularity of dark chocolate, is far from its disappearance on the market in the coming years. Fine chocolate makers can diversify their production with milk chocolate through:

  • a deeper understanding of the nutritional, functional, and sensory role of different dairy ingredients in chocolate,
  • creativity and the need to develop new processes for including dairy ingredients in chocolate,
  • the possibility to attract more mainstream chocolate lovers by developing different and more personalized recipes.

These were precisely the same principles that inspired the milk chocolate pioneers of the 19th century to find opportunities and spur innovation in chocolate making even under hard times.

 


What historical and technical aspects did you know about dairy ingredients and milk chocolate?