Making Chocolate history

Swiss milk chocolate is renowned through­out the world for its unique taste. The reason is not fresh milk, as many believe, but the finest roller-dried whole milk powder. But why? This article explains why Swiss chocolate is so popular all around the world.

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.

csm_2_No.26_02_460um_887cc3b465.jpg csm_2_No2_04_100um_c04bf9d584.jpg

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.

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