You must be familiar with the sharp bitterness of dark chocolate, the irresistible cravings of milk chocolate, and the tooth-aching sweetness of white chocolate. These are the three main types of chocolates. Unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, ruby chocolate, gianduja chocolate, couverture chocolate, and more are cousins of the three prominent chocolates in the family.
While milk chocolate is a famous Valentine’s Day gift and dark chocolate is known to be good for health, white chocolate is the underrated sibling among all three. What is white chocolate? How is white chocolate made? Is white chocolate even chocolate at all? Let’s find out.
1. What is White Chocolate?
White chocolate mainly consists of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is an edible fat extracted from cocoa beans. It is cream-colored and has the flavors and aroma of cocoa. White chocolate does not contain cocoa solids or cocoa nibs, the remaining components other than the cocoa butter of the cocoa beans.
2. How is White Chocolate Made?
White chocolate is made by mixing cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. Extra ingredients such as vanilla or spices such as cinnamon and ginger are added to give the chocolate its special touch.
3. White Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate
3.1. White Chocolate
As mentioned above, white chocolate contains cocoa butter, which does not come under cocoa solids, and is mixed with milk powder and sugar.
For chocolate to be officially considered white chocolate, the chocolate should have at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, and 3-4% milk fat. This chocolate cannot contain more than 55% of sugary sweeteners. Up to 7.5% of additional ingredients, such as vanilla and spices, are allowed. If these guidelines are met, the American FDA approves the chocolate to be white.
3.2. Milk Chocolate
As the name suggests, milk chocolate is made with milk in all different forms, like milk powder, condensed milk, skim milk, or liquid milk. Milk chocolate is made up of cocoa solids, unlike white chocolate.
Milk chocolate should contain at least 10% chocolate liquor, 25% cocoa solids, and 12% milk solids. Small amounts of cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla, and milk fats are sometimes added to milk chocolate treats.
3.3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is milk chocolate with a higher concentration of cocoa solids minus the use of milk solids in the chocolate. Dark chocolate contains cocoa solids within 30% to 80%.
Dark chocolate has minimal sugars. This property and the added antioxidant properties of dark chocolate make it a snack full of health benefits. It is known to lower the risk of heart-related ailments and reduce blood pressure.
4. Is White Chocolate Real Chocolate?
This question has been debated over ever since white chocolate came to be. Critics argue that white chocolate is not chocolate because it does not contain cocoa solids. According to them, cocoa solids such as cocoa powder are essential for chocolate to be considered chocolate.
Legally though, if the ingredients mentioned above are used to make chocolate, then the chocolate is considered white chocolate. White chocolate products should contain at least 20% of cocoa butter. Other fats or fatty ingredients such as vegetable or palm oil should not be used to make white chocolate. If they are included, then the chocolate becomes candy instead. White chocolate is real chocolate, then.
5. Can White Chocolate Be Considered Vegan?
Is white chocolate vegan? The answer is no; white chocolate is not vegan. Milk powder and milk fats are essential ingredients of white chocolate. Hence, white chocolate is not vegan.
Vegan white chocolates are available in the market but cannot be considered chocolate since they do not contain dairy.
If you find white chocolate that does not contain dairy products, there’s a chance it is not white chocolate. They might use alternatives such as vegetable oil and other fats not approved to be used in white chocolate by the American FDA.
6. Facts About White Chocolate
6.1. Invention of White Chocolate
In 1936, Nestle company of Switzerland started distributing white chocolate commercially worldwide. The product contained condensed milk with a coating made out of cocoa butter.
Although the absolute origin of white chocolate is still a mystery. According to some people, white chocolate was invented after the first world war for using excess cocoa butter and excess milk powder. While others believe it came to be by an ordinary cook in their kitchen.
6.2. Cocoa Powder and Cocoa Butter
The Dutch extracted cocoa powder from a cocoa bean for the first time in 1828. Their motivation was to find a simpler way to mix chocolate in drinks. For making cocoa powder, the cocoa beans need to be pressed. This, in turn, helps in extracting cocoa fats. Cocoa beans contain 50% fat. Pressing helps to eliminate the majority of this fat. The product left is in the form of a pressed cocoa cake. The cake is then converted to powder to give cocoa powder.
During the 1900s, cocoa butter was an extra unuseful byproduct of extracting cocoa powder. It wasn’t used for anything. Then the British added cocoa butter to make them into solid chocolates.
6.3. Identifying Real White Chocolate
Real white chocolate will always contain cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. These chocolates will not contain palm oil, hydrogenated oil, palm kernel oil, or added artificial or natural flavors. Lecithin and vanilla are commonly added to white chocolates but should not exceed the cocoa butter used.
The white chocolate should be pale yellow as opposed to pure white. If the chocolate is too white, then it has been tampered with. It is not natural white chocolate. Most white chocolates appear slightly yellow or ivory.
White chocolate may be underrated, but it is not underappreciated. A lot of people love white chocolate. Excellent white chocolates are a delicacy enjoyed by the elite. Chefs use white chocolate to add flavor to desserts. Some of the best-ranked white chocolates include Yeti Chocolates Pride Bonbon, Panache Chocolatier Tupelo Berry Truffle, and Delysia Chocolatier Meghi Chocolate Truffle Sampler. All these chocolates won awards for being the best white chocolates in the world. How many of these have you tried?
Click here to find out where chocolate comes from.