Swiss milk chocolate is renowned throughout the world for its unique taste. It contains the finest ingredients such as cocoa, cocoa butter and lots of milk. This is not fresh milk, as many believe, but the finest roller-dried whole milk powder. Swiss chocolate would only be half as good as it is without this special milk powder. But why?
Virtually no other milk chocolate has such a delightful aroma as Swiss milk chocolate. This is not only due to the know-how of our chocolatiers and the fine ingredients: it is also thanks to a very special milk powder – our roller-dried whole milk powder.
We hold a market share of around 70 per cent in Switzerland, making us the Swiss chocolate industry’s number one supplier of roller-dried whole milk powder. We therefore make an indirect but important contribution towards maintaining the excellent reputation of Swiss chocolate across the globe. It’s something we can be proud of. But what is the secret of roller-dried whole milk powder?
Did you know...
... that the Swiss chocolate industry processed around 19,000 tonnes of whole milk powder into a chocolate in 2013? This means that the Swiss chocolate industry processes around 15 million kg of milk into chocolate.
... that 100 grammes of milk chocolate contains an amount of milk powder that equates to 100 to 200 grammes of milk? We indirectely consume a large amount of Swiss milk by eating a piece of Swiss milk chocolate.
Milk powder with caramel aroma
Two factors make roller-dried full cream milk powder such an important ingredient for fine milk chocolate that has a unique taste and melts in the mouth: the caramel aroma and the specific surface structure of the milk powder particles. Both properties are the result of roller drying. In this process the milk concentrate is deposited onto rotating rollers that are steam heated to between 120 and 160 °C. The milk concentrate is completely dried after one short revolution. A wafer-thin film of milk remains that is separated from the roller with a knife. This compact, but fragile “sheet of milk” is reduced and sieved into the final particle size required by the customer.
The relatively strong thermal treatment caramelises the lactose in one revolution of the roller. This “sugar” present in the milk accounts for the pleasantly subtle caramel taste of the roller-dried whole milk powder.
Disk shape is important
Unlike spray-dried milk, which is atomised in hot air to make spherical milk powder pieces, the roller drying process results in disk-shaped particles. The disk-shaped particles of roller dried milk powder have a larger, more porous surface resulting in a higher proportion of milk fat in free shape. The disk-shaped milk powder therefore reacts differently with the other components of the chocolate compared to the spray-dried, spherical milk powder. The disks play an important role in the delicate melting properties of the milk chocolate.
"The milk powder used by the chocolatier plays a decisive role in the taste, the melting properties, the texture, consistency and in the snapping sound you get from breaking off a piece of the chocolate."
Roller-dried full cream milk powder not only influences the consistency of the chocolate, but also the sound that you hear when you break off a piece of milk chocolate – all important elements in making high-quality Swiss milk chocolate. After all, Swiss chocolate is meant to be enjoyed by all the senses. Even our ears enjoy the experience.
Milk powder – an important part of the formulation
The milk powder used by the chocolatier plays a decisive role in the taste, the melting properties, the texture, consistency and in the snapping sound you get from breaking off a piece of the chocolate. But the milk powder also influences the production process: the fat content and the size and shape of the milk powder particles play a significant role in production. The use of roller-dried whole milk powder in the formulation results in a completely different kind of chocolate compared to the type made with spray-dried low fat milk powder and vegetable fats. Roller-dried whole milk powder is almost always used in the making of typical, finest Swiss milk chocolate.
In some cases our roller-dried full cream milk powder is even fine-tuned to match the customer’s specific production processes. This can be very important for chocolate production. It helps the chocolatier to produce chocolate that retains its high quality. In these cases our product developers work closely with our customers’ product developers and marketing specialists. We support product development or future development in assessments and test productions until the desired result is achieved. Our final task is then to supply sufficient amounts of the roller-dried full cream milk powder while maintaining the same high quality.
Milk powder is our key business – from development to customer consulting
We at HOCHDORF have more than 100 years of experience in producing the most varied roller and spray dried milk powders. The milk drying process is our key business and our two plants in Hochdorf and Sulgen enable us to guarantee high reliability with regard to supply. Two reasons why the HOCHDORF Group has gained the confidence of Swiss chocolate producers. Another reason is our role as a competence centre for milk powder. Our developers have a wealth of experience in the use of various milk powders. Customer consulting and the development of customer-specific milk powders such as products without lactose are very important aspects of our daily business and distinguish our BEST PARTNER status.
"At the two sites there are a total of five facilities where we produce roller-dried powder."
But we also forge links between development, research, production and plant manufacturing. In conjunction with them we create innovative milk powders and process techniques, enabling us to produce new powder types – and keeping us at the cutting edge of future development.
As the most important roller-dried whole milk powder producer in Switzerland, we have the facilities to match. At the two sites there are a total of five facilities where we produce roller-dried powder. We have enough rollers to guarantee 100 per cent delivery reliability: even at the busiest times during the Easter and Christmas periods. Our rollers enable us to react with great flexibility to unexpected events, which is something that our customers greatly appreciate.
Looking to the European markets
The Swiss chocolate industry currently gets its roller-dried whole milk powder mostly from us. Our share in the milk producer Uckermärker Milch GmbH and in Ostmilch Handels GmbH, both companies based in Germany, provide us with easy access to the internal European market – either from Switzerland or through our plant in Prenzlau. A lot of people are unaware that Ostmilch Handels GmbH is one of the largest traders in roller-dried whole milk powder in Germany.
But in the meantime we can all continue to enjoy the subtle melting sensation of a fine Swiss milk chocolate with HOCHDORF roller-dried full cream milk powder.
Under the microscope you can clearly see what is barely visible to the naked eye. The structure of the roller-dried milk powder shown left is significantly different to the spray-dried powder.
- Article "Chocolate production in brief"