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I have been getting encouraging results making milk chocolate and I'm looking to experiment with malt extract and possibly lactose. 

Studying the ingredient list in several milk chocolates one can see lactose is sometimes included as in individual ingredient. Eg. see Lindt's Swiss Classic Milk Chocolate which lists sugar, cocoa butter, milk ingredients (?), cocoa mass, lactose, soya lecithin, barley malt extract, artifical flavor (?). 

Does anyone know if milk chocolate has lactose added separately, in addition to that present in podered milk? If so, how much?

I am thinking it will contribute to less sweetness and added 'milky' flavor. 

Tags: chocolate, lactose, milk

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Lactose, by definition, is milk sugar.  You can get it in two forms - anhydrous and alpha monohydrate.

It's far less sweet than sucrose (40% or so).  It's much, much harder than sucrose (harder to mill).  You will certainly get a sweetness reduction by using it, i'd not say you'd get an increased milkiness as a result.  Historically, it's been added to help lower costs as it's less expensive than milk, and may be considered a milk ingredient in some countries (important distinction for standards of identity).   You also may end up with a chocolate with a slightly harder texture as a result of it's use.  

In my opinion, if used at the appropriate levels and in the appropriate process, you can produce a product that may be quite similar to your 'control'.  I do not believe you'll make something that's better as a result.  But 'better' is a tough thing to define 8-)

Sebastian, thanks for the response!

It was surprising to hear its use is driven by cost-saving purposes and that it is hard to grind. Either way I got some lactose (not sure if anhydrous or alpha monohydrate) and may get to do some tests on a home grinder. I would be more inclined to reduce sweetness than save costs.

Either way it is useful that it is not a key ingredient for 'better' chocolate in your own scale.

My next steps are:


Malt Extract - The latest test, which is in progress: to add dried malt extract at 2% of total weight. The extract itself is not especially tasty, but I guess it balances ok with vanilla.

Vanillin / Ethylvanillin - I read that a significative amount of vanillin is desirable for a swiss milk taste and it is not present on the beans themselves.  I sourced vanillin and ethylvanillin - do you know which one is better for our purpose? I plan to mix vanillin (0.2 - 0.3% of total chocolate) with about (0.1% of the weight in real bean) - considering it is pure, is it too overpowering?

Vanillin is available in two types - ethyl and methyl.  The ethyl version is much, much stronger than the methyl - so use it very, very judiciously. Assuming it's pure (which it may  not be - it my have a very substantial amount of what's known as a carrier or bulking agent added to it - usually dextrose or maltodextrin - your supplier could tell you) -  I'd say you're off by 2 orders of magnitude.  Remember, it's easy to add more if you don't like it; it's awfully hard to take some out if you've overdone it.

I think malt makes for a wonderful addition to milk chocolate, by the way. I wish more used it, but it's wheat derived, so allergens play into things for most folks.

When people talk about adding malt to chocolate, are they referring to malt extract/powder or maltose? Is there a difference between the two in terms of making chocolate?

malt is made from wheat, maltose is a sugar.

OK, thanks Sebastian.

Lind uses 'artifical flavor' to round of their product. I have experimented with many industrial flavours at varying dosages but the main issue I hit (I use a combination of Belgium chocolate and compound chocolate) is that the flavour stability starts to degrade after few weeks. 

Usage of flavour gives an amazing lift to the product but unable to nail the reason for loss. I have tried Soy lecithin but that has not helped. 

Does using pure chocolate (i.e. no vegetable fat) have better stability. Because of weather conditions and handling difficulties mixing compound chocolates keeps my chocolate stable and  yet gives a reasonable soft texture.


Hey Felipe,

What Brands of Vanillin do you recommend?

Felipe - did you end up trying to add lactose to your milk chocolate? What is a good proportion of sucrose to substitute with lactose as a starting point? For example if you had 100g of sugar in your recipe originally, would you say 70 sucrose and 30 lactose is a good place to start experimenting? Or should I increase/decrease that lactose proportion of the sugar?


Not looking to get my hands on your recipe, just trying to get a feel for a range to start experimenting in. :-)



very interesting conversation guys.I have two questions here please:

what flavor does malt give to the chocolate? and what is the approximate percentage to use?

What brand of Vanillin do you guys recommend?


I haven't tried adding lactose yet but did try varying the percentage of nonfat milk, cacao nibs and cacao butter to change the perceived sweetness in the milk chocolate.

It is in my list of reasearch, though ;)

OK, thanks Felipe. I was going to give it a try this weekend with 1/3 of the sugar being lactose and 2/3 being sucrose.


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