Even the cow's over the moon.
Ever since milk chocolate was invented in 1875, milk has been firmly coupled with chocolate in people's minds. Due to their high water content and limited shelf life, however, liquid dairy products are not used in chocolate, but only those in the form of powder. These have the advantage that they can be directly worked into the product. Here is an overview of the most important dairy products:
Skimmed milk powder
Skimmed milk powder is a dried dairy product produced from skimmed milk. Its low fat content (1.5% at most) give it a whitish color (products with a higher fat content are more yellowish), but it still contains all the important nutrients in milk.
To turn skimmed milk into a powder, liquid is removed from the milk; it is concentrated. The skimmed milk concentrate is turned into a powder with a maximum water content of 5% by means of spray drying or drum drying. Skimmed milk powder tastes and smells mildly milky and is used in ice-cream, chocolate, baked goods, instant-mix sauces and soups, meat products and, of course, dairy products.
Whole milk powder
Whole milk powder is pale yellow and has a fat content of at least 26% in the dry matter. Thanks to its higher fat content, it tastes noticeably milkier and more full-bodied than skimmed milk powder. During production, the milk is first concentrated, then all the moisture is removed using drum drying or spray drying. The important nutrients are, however, retained.
Full cream powder
Full cream powder is a dried milk product made from cream or a mixture of milk and cream. Like almost all dried milk products, it is made by means of spray drying or drum drying. Full cream powder comes with fat levels of 42–75% and a water content of at most 5%. As a food ingredient, it improves not only taste and the “mouth feel” but also melting properties, making it the ideal ingredient for really creamy chocolate.
Sweet whey powder
Whey occurs as a by-product when cheese and quark are produced. There are two different types of whey: sweet whey and sour whey. If milk is curdled with rennet, an enzyme, this is then called sweet whey. It is made into a powder by concentrating it and extracting the water by means of spray drying or drum drying.
Sweet whey powder contains hardly any fat, but at least 70% lactose, a small amount of milk protein and minerals.
Lactose is a disaccharide (double sugar) made of the simple sugars glucose and galactose. Lactose is the characteristic carbohydrate in milk, making up 4.6–5%. It has a positive effect on the intestinal flora, as it provides food for bacteria in the gut. It also improves the solubility and absorption of calcium.
With the help of the enzyme beta-galactosidase, lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose in organisms. If this enzyme is missing, this causes a lactose intolerance. In Germany, almost a quarter of the population are sufferers. This is the reason why RITTER SPORT makes lactose-free* and gluten-free** chocolates. Instead of standard powdered milk, a specially developed dry dairy product is used. The lactose which this contains has already been split into its component parts: glucose and galactose. This produces a lactose content* of at most 0.01g a bar, which is not only healthy but also tasty to all those lactose-intolerant chocoholics.
*lactose content of at most 0.1g per 100g
**gluten content below 20 mg/kg (legally stipulated value for the “gluten-free” label)