Monday, March 30, 2009
What's in White Chocolate?
Over this last weekend I was asked if white chocolate contained any chocolate. I responded that it was made with cocoa butter, which yes, is part of chocolate. I also added that some brands use palm kernal oil. Though it is Vegetarian, it is not Vegan because of it's dairy content. Below is a more descriptive explanation of how it is produced.
Raw white chocolate
White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. Most often, the cocoa butter is deodorized to remove its strong and undesirable taste that would negatively impact the flavour of the finished chocolate. Regulations also govern what may be marketed as "white chocolate": In the United States, since 2004, white chocolate must be at least 20% cocoa butter (by weight), at least 14% total milk solids, at least 3.5% milk fat, and less than 55% sugar or other sweeteners. Before this date, U.S. firms required temporary marketing permits to sell white chocolate. The European Union has adopted the same standards, except that there is no limit on sugar or sweeteners. Although white chocolate is made the same way as milk chocolate and dark chocolate, the ingredients are different. Because of the ingredients, many people (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) don't consider "white chocolate" to be chocolate at all , but in most cases, it does contain cocoa butter: a product that, like many cocoa solids, is derived from the cacao bean. However, some preparations (known as confectioner's coating or summer coating) are made from inexpensive solid or hydrogenated vegetable and animal fats, and as such, is not at all derived from cocoa. These preparations may actually be white in color (in contrast to white chocolate's ivory shade) and will lack cocoa butter's flavor.
Because it does not contain any cocoa solids, one benefit of white chocolate is that it also does not contain any theobromine, which means it can be consumed by individuals who must avoid theobromine for medical reasons. Theobromine is only found in the cocoa solids and other ingredients of chocolate that give it the characteristic brown color. In contrast to white chocolate, dark chocolate contains the largest amount of theobromine, because it contains the largest amount of cocoa solids. The theobromine content of milk chocolate falls somewhere between white and dark chocolate.
Use in baking
White chocolate can be difficult to work with. When melted, the cocoa butter can occasionally split and create an oily compound that can be recovered by re-emulsifying. This can be done by melting a small amount of butter or chocolate and whisking in the "oily compound". As with chocolate, as soon as any water is introduced into the melted product it rapidly turns lumpy and grainy, i.e. split. Again, it can be saved by re-emulsifying.
Like chocolate, it may be purchased in large or small bricks, but these can often be difficult to work with as one must cut off chunks with a knife, often resulting in inaccurate portioning. Pastilles/Feves (small chips) are often a more precise way to use white chocolate.
White chocolate can be used for decoration of milk or dark chocolate confections or in any way chocolates might be used. vanillia fudge is also marked as white chocolate fudge.