What is milk chocolate?

Milk chocolate is made from dark chocolate that has a low cocoa solid content and higher sugar content, plus a milk product – this could be boiled milk, milk powder or condensed milk. Different varieties of milk product result in varying notes of caramel in the chocolate.

Milk chocolate is lighter and sweeter in flavour than dark, and is softer in texture. Now, more milk chocolates are made with a higher cocoa solid content, meaning they're often more chocolatey and less sweet.

Watch our video tutorial on how to work with different types of chocolate:

See also: chocolate.

How to cook milk chocolate

Milk chocolate is easily overwhelmed by other ingredients in baking, sauces, fillings and icings, but it does add sweetness. If you like, you can add a bit of cocoa powder to deepen the chocolate flavour or colour.

It's quicker and easier to melt chocolate in the microwave than over a pan of simmering water, but do so carefully. The chocolate will be molten even if it's still holding its shape, so microwave in short bursts and stir often to prevent it from becoming grainy or burning.

How to store milk chocolate

While chocolate does not need to be refrigerated, you may choose to chill it slightly in hot weather. Long-term cold storage can cause the chocolate to look cloudy – this 'blooming' is quite harmless and is unlikely to change its flavour, though it can look unappetising. At a cool, constant temperature chocolate will keep for several months.

When is milk chocolate available?

Widely available all year round.

Choose the best milk chocolate

High-quality milk chocolate will have a noticeable shine, and although not as brittle as dark chocolate, should still snap when broken. Filled milk chocolates should also shine.

As with dark chocolate, the higher the stated cocoa solid content of milk chocolate, the deeper and more bitter it will taste. However, a higher cocoa solid content does not guarantee a lower sugar content, as more sugar is sometimes added to balance the bitterness. Check the label for more information.