How is white chocolate made and why does it still taste similar to milk chocolate?
White chocolate is made the same way as milk chocolate and dark chocolate -- the difference is the ingredients. In fact, because of the ingredients, many people (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) don't consider "white chocolate" to be chocolate at all.
Because white chocolate has no cocoa solids from the chocolate liquor, the FDA doesn't classify it as chocolate. However, the organization is working with chocolate manufacturers to establish a standard definition for white chocolate. Until a standard is published, check labels and beware of "white chocolate" that contains veggie fat instead of cocoa butter. The quality and taste are inferior.
The difference when Making Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate:
Turning cacao (kah KOW) seeds into chocolate requires time, effort, and artistry. It's a fascinating process that takes you from tropical rainforests to gleaming factories.
First, farmers grow cacao, and then they harvest, ferment, and dry it by hand. Next, traders and import/export houses sell the seeds on the Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa Exchange to companies that process the seeds into various chocolate products.
The seeds of the tree's fruits are the cocoa beans, which are harvested, fermented for six or seven days, and then dried. The highest quality chocolate comes from cocoa beans that are dried naturally in the sun for a week -- shorter, artificial drying yields inferior chocolate. Next, the beans are roasted, and the shells are removed. Then the cocoa is ground, resulting in a thick liquid called chocolate liquor (it's not alcoholic). This liquor is used to make unsweetened chocolate.
The liquor is pressed to extract the fat, which is called cocoa butter. With the fat removed, the liquor becomes a powder that is blended with the cocoa butter and other ingredients to make different types of chocolate. Plain chocolate is made of cocoa powder, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. Milk chocolate, of course, has milk added.
White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar- everything in milk chocolate minus the cocoa powder.
After the ingredients are mixed, the product is refined, mixed, heated, and cooled in methods called "conching" and "tempering." These processes can take up to a week for the finest chocolates.
Comment from another Answers contributor:
I just have to add a chuckle point to the good response above. You cannot fathom how many people, have not a clue, that there is no such thing as a CHOCOLATE MILK COW. Coming from the upper Midwest farmland/ranch areas, this is not an uncommon question.