Milk chocolate is classically made from dark chocolate of low cocoa solid content and a higher sugar content plus a milk product, which may be in the form of boiled milk, milk powder or condensed milk, all of which give variations of a much admired slight caramel taste.
The overall taste of milk chocolate is altogether lighter and sweeter than dark chocolate and its texture is softer. In recent years, milk chocolates have been marketed with increasingly higher cocoa solid content meaning they taste more of chocolate and are commonly less sweet, too.
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See also: CHOCOLATE
Good or bad, you are never far from milk chocolate, with or without additional flavours or ingredients.
Choose the best
The highest quality milk chocolate should have a noticeable shine and although not as brittle as dark chocolate, should have a definite snap when you break it. Without both of these, you have something inferior, whatever its price. The requirement of a high shine also applies to the coatings of filled chocolates.
As with dark chocolate, the higher the stated cocoa solid content of milk chocolate, the deeper and more bitter that chocolate will taste but this higher content does not guarantee low sugar content and sugar might have been amplified as the cocoa solid content is increased. This should be made clear on labelling.
Chocolate does not need to be refrigerated but in hot weather or centrally-heated houses, lightly chilled chocolate is nicer to eat. Long-term cold storage will make the chocolate bloom with what looks like clouds of mould. This is quite harmless and is unlikely to change its flavour. At a cool, constant temperature chocolate keeps its virtue for many weeks, perhaps months.
Although commonly used, the taste of milk chocolate is easily overwhelmed by other ingredients in baking, sauces, fillings and icings. Milk chocolate will also add sweetness. If the chocolate you choose does not give a deep enough colour or flavour, mix in cocoa powder (or cacao) until the colour and flavour are more satisfactory.
Gentle pulsing in a microwave is possibly a better way to melt chocolate than over hot water, because it is so much faster – it will be molten while holding its shape. Use only short bursts and stir often to prevent it from turning grainy.