When you were younger, all chocolates were just delectable candies: nothing more, nothing less. Yet it turns out that the variances between chocolate varieties go beyond taste; they’re all manufactured using varying quantities and components of the cacao bean. Any chocolate you see on the shelf will fall into one of the four categories outlined below.
The Four Kinds of Chocolate
- white chocolate
- ruby chocolate
- milk chocolate
- dark chocolate
White and ruby chocolates are mostly composed of cocoa butter, and they are arguably the same sorts of chocolate (albeit processed very differently). Milk chocolates will include a combination of powdered or condensed dairy, as well as much more sugar than dark chocolates. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is distinguished by its high cocoa content.
By keeping these distinctions in mind, you may decide which of the four chocolate varieties every particular bar belongs to, as well as the ideal sort of chocolate for you. More about the many forms of chocolate will be addressed in depth in the next section.
What exactly is white chocolate?
White chocolate is made from a combination of cocoa butter, milk powder, and sugar. Nestl created the first white chocolate as a way to cope with extra cocoa butter, according to a Washington Post story. Nevertheless, Nestl does not specify the source for this information, and general records indicate that they first introduced their white chocolate bar in Europe in 1936.
Some people do not regard white chocolate to be true chocolate since it lacks cocoa solids. White chocolate contains solely cocoa butter, however high-quality white chocolate bars will have a high cocoa butter concentration. White chocolate is defined as having at least 20% cocoa butter, a maximum of 55% sugars and sweeteners, at least 14% milk solids, and 3.5% milk fat in the United States.
The cacao percentage percentages on the label of white chocolate relate to the cocoa butter content. Moreover, according to US marketing definition, white chocolate must contain at least 14% dairy content; the highest requirement of any variety of chocolate. Even milk chocolate needs no more than 12% dairy! This implies that both milk and white chocolates may include a significant quantity of dairy products, so always read the ingredients list.
Several producers are increasingly using substitutes such as coconut milk powder, cashews, soymilk powder, hemp seeds, or even oat flour for individuals who refuse dairy or animal components in their chocolates. White chocolates created using dairy substitutes fall under the category of vegan chocolate.
What Causes the Color of White Chocolate?
Several restrictions currently prohibit the use of white coloring in the manufacture of white chocolate. A excellent white chocolate will take on the hue of cocoa butter, which is ivory or off-white. If white chocolate is overly white, it might be owing to the use of an additional coloring element as a coating, which is still permitted in many countries. White chocolate has a naturally sweet and buttery taste, which is why it is so popular in the confectionery industry.
There is caramelized white chocolate for a more rich taste (blonde chocolate). This is just white chocolate that has been roasted in the oven for 30 to 60 minutes at temperatures ranging from 200 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit (90 to 135 degrees Celsius) until it has become a rich golden brown. The taste is similar to dulce de leche, but less sweet and toasted. Frdric Bau, the founder of the famed couverture chocolate company Valrhona, is credited with discovering caramelized white chocolate, also known as blond chocolat (not to be confused with blondies), in 2006.
Bau is a pastry chef who directs their professional education program and has been teaching the approach since its inception. Valrhona had success in commercializing the manufacturing of caramelized white chocolate under the Dulcey brand. White chocolate lacks the antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of cocoa butter due to a lack of cocoa solids. This leads in a shorter shelf life than dark chocolate, which may last up to a year if properly maintained in its sealed container (and protected from pests & pets).
What exactly is Ruby Chocolate?
Valrhona planned for caramelized white chocolate to provide a wider range of hues, tints, and flavor profiles than the previous three chocolate categories. Despite the fact that it succeeded in giving additional possibilities, it was not designated as a new kind of chocolate (either legally or in the court of public opinion). And there’s ruby chocolate. Ruby chocolate was launched in 2017 by Barry Callebaut and is now being advertised as the fourth kind of chocolate due to its fruity, acidic flavor character.
Ruby chocolate, like white chocolate, is primarily composed of cacao butter, sugar, and milk solids as the key components (as reflected in Callebauts own listing of ingredients that make up their ruby chocolate chips). Ruby chocolate is characterized in a temporary permission as having at least 20% cocoa fat, at least 1.5% non-fat cocoa solids, at least 2.5% milk fats, at least 12% milk solids, at most 1.5% emulsifiers, and no more than 5% whey products. Ruby chocolate, unlike white chocolate, may include cocoa solids.
The main distinction is in the cacao beans utilized, known as ruby cocoa beans, which seem to be whatever beans are regarded most suitable for the manufacture of ruby chocolate. These beans are claimed to grow in climates specific to Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast. Sadly, the precise manufacturing procedure is a trade secret. According to the patent, some cocoa beans that match defined specifications are subjected to a special fermenting method that gives them their trademark pink hue.
Ruby chocolate has a delicious taste that is evocative of berries blended with white chocolate without any added additives or seasoning. Ruby chocolate products are often developed in collaboration with Barry Callebaut. Nestl KitKat was the first worldwide brand to launch ruby chocolate in 2018, particularly in the Japanese and Korean markets.
It should be noted that because to the high pH level of ruby chocolate, it is regarded more susceptible to environmental influences that adversely damage chocolate. As a result, ruby chocolate is non-bake stable, and overworking may damage the color, rendering it grey pink. Ruby chocolates, like white chocolates, may be stored in optimal circumstances for up to a year provided the packaging remains intact.
What exactly is Milk Chocolate?
Daniel Peter would mix milk powder bought from his neighbor Henri Nestl with dark chocolate in 1876. (then just called chocolate). This softened the bitter flavor of dark chocolate and made it more palatable to the public, increasing chocolate’s popularity overall. Milk chocolate will ultimately become America’s most popular variety of chocolate. In order to be advertised as milk chocolate in the United States, a product must contain at least 10% cocoa liquor, 12% milk solids, and 3.39% milk fat.
The inclusion of milk, together with the advent of the conching machine, increased the texture and smoothness of the chocolate. Manufacturers are beginning to provide vegan milk chocolates that employ dairy replacements, similar to white chocolate. Because of its high sugar concentration, milk chocolate has a rather sweet flavor character. Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats, Butterfingers, 3 Musketeers, Twix, and other famous chocolate candy bars and wafers have it as an exterior layer.
Milk chocolate comes in a variety of flavors, including buttermilk and skim milk chocolate. The key difference is that the needed minimum 12% milk solids is made up of buttermilk or skim milk powder rather than whole milk powder; I’ve even seen a few of recipes that use cream powder. Milk chocolate may be stored for up to a year if kept at optimal temperatures, around 70% humidity, and away from pests.
What exactly is dark chocolate?
Cacao nibs are pieces of processed cocoa beans that have been cooked to make chocolate liquor. A cocoa bean contains around 55% cocoa butter, the majority of which is extracted from the chocolate liquid using a press. What’s left are cocoa solids, which may be crushed into cocoa powder and still contain 8-36% cocoa butter.
Dark chocolate has the greatest cocoa content of any kind of chocolate. To be classified as dark chocolate, the presence of at least 50% cocoa solids is required by US rules, however this amount may reach as high as 100% for unsweetened chocolates. Sweeteners make up a lesser proportion of the typical dark chocolate when compared to other varieties of chocolate.
Nonetheless, even dark chocolate exists on a spectrum, centered on the varied cacao percentages. A dark chocolate with a lower cocoa level is termed semi-sweet chocolate, while a dark chocolate with a greater cocoa content is labeled bittersweet chocolate. Dark chocolate is often thought to be dairy-free.
Manufacturers, on the other hand, often utilize the same machinery to create various varieties of chocolate, which might result in cross-contamination. In these circumstances, they must advise consumers that traces of dairy may have found their way into their chocolate.
These cocoa solids also have more antioxidants and flavonoids, which are linked to health benefits. Although being the healthiest of the four types of chocolate, dark chocolate has a lesser nutritional value than other foods. Dark chocolate has the highest caffeine of any kind of chocolate, albeit not quite as much as coffee.
Yet, a New York Times article advocates avoiding dark chocolate before night since the presence of sugar might exacerbate caffeine’s effects. The presence of antioxidants in dark chocolate, as well as its high cocoa content, helps to slow down the oxidation process, giving it the longest shelf life among the four varieties of chocolate. Dark chocolate may be stored for up to two years if kept at correct ambient temperatures, humidity levels, away from sunshine, and pests.
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