Milk Chocolate is a processed chocolate product that contains added sweeteners. It usually has a low level of cocoa solids but needs to contain a certain minimum of milk solids.
Just like bittersweet dark chocolate, milk chocolate may contain sugar, dairy, nuts, flavourings and cocoa butter. The process of refining and moulding of milk chocolate is similar to the process for bittersweet dark chocolate and other types of chocolate.
The main difference between milk chocolate and bittersweet dark chocolate is that milk chocolate has a much milder mellow taste. While many milk chocolates lack the signature bitterness of dark chocolate, they do offer a variety of interesting flavours due to the addition of dairy solids, nuts and flavourings.
For example, in the United Kingdom, milk chocolate often goes through strong caramelization. In the United States, milk chocolate often has a sour flavour while in Switzerland it has a mildly cooked taste to it.
Bakers usually can’t use milk chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate because of the difference in the volume of cocoa solids. The flavour of milk chocolate is also too mild to work nicely in baked goods.
The primary use of milk chocolate in cake and cookie creation is dipping and coating, so that the chocolate retains its full flavour and doesn’t need to participate in the baking process.
Just like milk chocolate, white chocolate is made of cocoa butter, milk solids, sugars and flavourings. The main difference of white chocolate is the presence of vanilla flavourings and the absence of nonfats that come from cocoa solids. Many countries didn’t have a legal definition of white chocolate until very recently. For example, in the United States, there was no standard for white chocolate until 2002. Today the standards for white chocolate in the European Union and the United States are identical.