Types of Chocolate
Sometimes called "chocolate mass", the whole cocoa bean, shell excluded, is ground into a fine mass after it has been roasted.
This is the liquid fat from the chocolate liquor that has been squeezed out.
The solid mass that is left over after squeezing out the cocoa butter. It contains from 12% cocoa butter for light cocoa, and 22% to 24% cocoa butter for dark cocoa powder.
The whole cocoa bean, shell excluded, with cocoa butter and the cocoa solids.
Bittersweet contains at least 35% chocolate liquor plus added cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla or vanillin and occasionally lecithin. It usually has a higher chocolate liquor content and less sugar than semi-sweet chocolate which gives it the distinct rich chocolate flavour.
Semi-sweet contains the same ingredients as bittersweet chocolate but the proportion of sugar is more and the chocolate liquor is less.
Milk chocolate has milk fat and milk solids added to the chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, vanillin and lecithin. Different companies have varying qualities of milk chocolate because of the percentages of ingredients that they use.
White chocolate contains no cocoa powder. It consists of pure cocoa butter, milk solids, butterfat, lecithin, sugar and flavourings. Some white chocolate is made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter which produces a chocolate that is not as rich, flavourful or expensive.
An alkali is added to the cocoa to produce a less harsh tasting, darker cocoa.
Chocolate chips are made to use in baking where the chocolate is meant to remain in its original form. These chips can take a high heat without burning. Do not replace bittersweet chocolate with chocolate chips.
TEMPERING: Tempering chocolate will make your chocolate stay glossy-looking and firm without adding wax or keeping it refrigerated.
- To temper chocolate, melt approximately 2/3 of needed chocolate
- Heat to 115°F (45°C) for dark chocolate and 110°F (43°C) for white and milk chocolate. Stir and use a candy thermometer as to not overheat the chocolate.
- When chocolate is at the right temperature, immediately remove from heat, add the remaining 1/3 of chocolate and stir until melted
UNTEMPERED: This is the name for chocolate that has been melted just once. This chocolate is used for cakes, mousses, custards, creams and tortes. The chocolate is mixed with other ingredients, and is not used as glazing, so tempering is not needed.
Untempered chocolate, used for making truffles, must be refrigerated immediately to prevent them from becoming too soft to handle.
Cakes and tortes that are chocolate glazed and served at room temperature should not be refrigerated. Use tempered chocolate and the shiny glaze will keep for days.
To keep any type of chocolate, it must be kept from moisture. This is to avoid the chocolate from “seizing”, which is a term to describe the gritty and stiff texture after it comes in contact with moisture.
Milk chocolate does not store as well as dark chocolate. Wrap it well and freeze it if it will not be used within a few days.
✔ Do not heat dark chocolate above 120°F or 51°C
✔ Do not heat white or milk chocolate above 110°F or 47°C
✔ Use a good candy thermometer for accurate temperature readings.
✔ Use very low heat, and small pieces of chocolate approximately 1/4” (3 cm) in diameter. This allows more surface area to be exposed for an even melt.
✔ When taking wrapped chocolate out of the fridge, bring the chocolate to room temperature while still in the wrapping so that any moisture does not condense on its surface.
“Sugar blooming” is when chocolate appears to have a film of grey or white on the surface. This usually happens because the chocolate has been stored in damp or humid conditions. “Fat blooming” is when the chocolate has been stored at temperatures that are too warm (65°F or 18°C). Neither of these natural processes ruins the flavour of the chocolate.
Melting Chocolate in a Double Boiler
Melt dark chocolate over a barely simmering water bath or barely simmering double boiler. Stir frequently and do not cover.
Melt white and milk chocolate over a water bath or double boiler that has been brought to simmering and then taken off the stove for 60 seconds. Stir frequently and do not cover.
Melting Chocolate in a Microwave
Use a medium setting (50%) for dark chocolate. Use a low setting (30%) for white and milk chocolate.
Always stir melted chocolate for at least one minute to stabilize the temperature and complete the melting process after removing it from your microwave. Constantly checking the chocolate and stirring while it is melting is important because some chocolate may appear to be unmelted but it only needs to be stirred and not re-heated.