How Is Dairy-Free Chocolate Made?
You work hard, and you deserve to indulge from time to time. But when you live a dairy-free lifestyle, it's not as simple as picking out any old dessert food at the store and heading for the checkout stand.
No matter your diet or allergy, you need to know whether or not a product contains milk or dairy. Unless you choose companies that solely make dairy-free products, there is always the risk of exposure to an allergen.
Some forms of chocolate are naturally dairy-free, but many others could contain milk products. But which is which? If you do want truly dairy-free chocolate, you may be wondering: how exactly is it made?
Choosing a Chocolate
Before you decide on which delicious dessert will be gracing your taste buds, get to know what your options are. There are three basic types of chocolates, and each contains a slightly different set of ingredients. Some of these can be dairy-free, while others traditionally contain dairy.
Whether you're vegan or lactose intolerant, you may be worried about the risk of even trace amounts of dairy getting into your dessert. The presence of a single allergen could have dire consequences.
That's why proper research is so important. The search to find a product that's truly dairy-free begins by understanding the three main chocolate varieties.
Dark chocolate is one of few dessert foods with links to a wide range of health benefits. A single bar can often have a high percentage of fiber and iron, as well as vital antioxidants. This variety is renowned for its rich texture, satisfying even the deepest of palates with playful notes of vanilla.
The vanilla is used to offset the slight bitterness that comes with higher concentrations of cocoa powder. Whether in a bar or a chip, dark chocolate is a favorite choice for the sophisticated chocolate connoisseur.
But did you know it does not contain any milk or dairy? That's right, many dark chocolates are naturally lactose-free. Unless labeled otherwise, they are also vegan and gluten-free.
While some lower-quality products may contain dairy, most dark chocolate will be dairy-free by default. As long as it carries a "dairy-free" seal of approval, you should be good to go! When in doubt, check the allergens section for "dairy" or "lactose".
What's in it?
The recipe for standard dark chocolate is cacao beans, sugar, vanilla, and a stabilizing ingredient like soy lecithin. The percentage of the cacao bean to sugar is usually displayed on the wrapper, indicating how "dark" a particular bar is.
Bars of dark chocolate can also contain cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa fruit, where it is processed into a liquor and pressed into a thick paste.
Don't let the word "butter" worry you: cocoa butter is also dairy-free! If dairy-free chocolate products are what you want to eat for dessert, you can't go wrong with a delicious chunk of dark chocolate.
Whether sprinkled in like chocolate chips or coating a cake, white chocolate is a popular choice for the decorative artisan. Known for its ice white appearance, this cream flavored chocolate pairs well with fruit, and other food with tangier notes.
Commonly used in baking, many recipes will include white chocolate chips on their ingredients list. White chocolate holds up well against heat and is very budget-friendly.
What's in it?
Unfortunately, milk is one of the integral ingredients in the traditional white chocolate recipe. This means it is firmly not dairy-free, and certainly not okay for vegans.
Milk products are one of the components that give white chocolate its signature color. White chocolate also tends to have a far sweeter flavor than dark chocolate, due in part to its higher sugar content.
Another issue with this chocolate is that it really isn't chocolate at all. Instead of a cacao bean base, a manufacturer will substitute other ingredients, like hydrogenated oil. The addition of this oil often means it contains a higher fat content.
It's not surprising that milk chocolate products contain dairy. Whether coating candy or as chocolate bars, milk chocolate is America's go-to choice when it comes to sweets.
This type of chocolate is basically a cross between dark and white. It has the same note of vanilla, with added hints of milk.
But it still keeps that distinct chocolate flavor. Milk chocolate chips are a common addition to cookie batter or mixed into decadent brownies.
What's in it?
If you want to eat vegan or dairy-free, this chocolate just isn't for you. Dairy comes in several forms when used as an ingredient in milk chocolate. A manufacturer can include milk as condensed, added as a powder, or pumped in as milk fat.
No matter how it's included, dairy is the foundation of any piece of milk chocolate. Anyone who is allergic to milk or on a vegan diet will want to put this sweet on ice and steer clear.
So can I still have chocolate? Will it still be good?
So what if you are allergic to lactose? Adhere dutifully to a vegan diet? Does this mean you can never have chocolate?
Luckily, the answer is an emphatic no. There are quite a few excellent companies whose main focus is to make dairy-free chocolate.
When you purchase from craftsmen who are exclusively dairy-free, you can eliminate the risk of any lactose traces in the product. With their focus entirely on that specific type of food, you can ensure they provide the best flavor.
What does dairy-free chocolate taste like?
You may be wondering, what does dairy-free chocolate taste like? It may sound silly, but it tastes like chocolate! Dairy-free chocolate tastes just as good if not better than traditional chocolate brands.
Often including more natural ingredients while being free of allergens, dairy-free chocolate bars have their basis in cacao, just like traditional chocolate. Compare the label on any dairy-free brand and you'll find similar components.
Just because a product is dairy-free, that doesn't mean it won't taste great. You can still get the smooth and creamy taste you crave, without the risk of dairy or milk.
While dairy-free and vegan chocolates maybe a little bitter, they still pack that delicious cocoa powder punch everyone wants. Even people without a specialized diet love dairy-free chocolate.
But how exactly are dairy-free chocolates made?
Like any good chocolate recipe, dairy-free chocolate begins its journey with the most vital of ingredients: the cacao bean. Cacao beans are plucked from the cocoa tree, then go through the process of fermentation.
From here, they travel to an allergen-free facility, where they are carefully sorted for quality. After being carefully cleaned and roasted, they are ground down into pure chocolate.
Mixing with friends
Now it's time to mix the ground beans with other dairy-free ingredients. Recipes vary, but usually, this is where cocoa butter, coconut sugar, peanut butter, and other important components are added.
Cocoa butter itself has a similar route to creation, with cocoa seeds being extracted from the cocoa fruit. These are then turned into cocoa liquor and pressed to form the final butter-like product.
After the addition of all necessary ingredients, the chocolate is ready to be formed. Depending on what the final product is, this can mean being pressed into a chocolate bar, or small chunks for chips.
Compared to non-dairy-free brands, there is more effort to prevent cross-contamination. Without a product specifically stating they are vegan or dairy-free, you'll never know if it may contain the byproducts you are trying to avoid.
When you choose to go with a truly dairy-free experience, you tend to get much better chocolate out of the deal. But how do you choose a trustworthy brand?
What is the best brand of dairy-free chocolates?
If you are looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, but only eat high-quality and natural food, there is really only one choice: Mid-Day Squares.
Of all the companies who attempt to craft dairy-free delicacies, we are the first to truly perfect the process. We're setting the industry standard, and once you try our chocolate, you'll understand why.
Each one of our ingredients is 100% organic and 100% vegan. Only the finest cacao, coconut sugar, and cocoa powder are mixed into each scrumptious bite.
Not only do our squares taste phenomenal, but they also contain a massive helping of protein. With flavors like Fudge Yah, Almond Crunch, and Busta Peanut, you can fuel up without disappointing your taste buds.
Traditional whey protein bars can be awful, and end workouts on a sour note. Ditch the whey, and try a sample pack of the tastiest products we have to offer.
Mid-Day: Great food, without compromise
With Mid-Day Squares, you can rest easy knowing that every one of our recipes was designed just for you. If you have any questions, we are always available for contact.
At Mid-Day, we aren't distracted by satisfying the masses. We're here for the folks that simply can't have dairy or animal byproducts. That's why we're the best at what we do.
You could take the effort to travel all the way to a store, but why waste the time? Just go to our easy-to-use website and your order will be to you before you know it. Try Mid-Day Squares today!