It is becoming a lot easier to find dairy free dark, milk and white chocolate in the shops. Supermarkets will now stock at least one dairy free Easter egg and you can even buy a dairy free milk chocolate advent calendar made by Moo Free Chocolates.
But do they taste nice and can they be used successfully in cakes and for decorating in the same way as usual chocolate?
Some chocolate may be labelled as Vegan but state ‘May contain traces of dairy’ as dairy products may be produced in the same factory or production line. They maybe safe for a person on a dairy free diet to eat but that is for that person to decide. As a caterer you need to be sure that the product you are using is safe for for the customer. For a one off commision you could ask the customer what they usually eat and are happy with or if you plan to make a lot of dairy free cakes, find a brand you are happy with.
Not all dark chocolate is dairy free. Many brands are labelled with ‘May contain dairy’ and some brands add dairy so it is cheaper to produce. So as ever always check the label.
For baking I think it is best to use a chocolate with about 55 – 60% cocoa solids. A chocolate with a high cocoa content can make a cake quite dry or a ganache too firm.
If you only need a small amount, Kinnertons produce a luxury dark chocolate bar which is suitable for dairy free, gluten free, egg free and nut free diets. It contains 55% cocoa solids and can be found in most supermarkets as an 85g bar.
If you need a large amount of dairy free dark chocolate, Plamil produce a range of dairy free chocolate which is also gluten free and nut free and it is available in 1kg bags and 6kg bags from their website www.plamilfoods.co.uk
They produce a chocolate with 60% cocoa solids which is perfect in baking and for making dairy free chocolate ganache. I also recommend their dairy free chocolate chips which is available in 200g tubs from whole food stores or in bulk from http://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/catering
Dairy Free ‘Milk’ Chocolate
Plamil produce a nice dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate. it can be found as a 100g bar in whole food shops or in bulk from their website.
Organica produce a 100g bar which can also be found in whole food shops. This has a nice flavour but is labelled as vegan and may contain traces of dairy and nuts.
My favourite dairy free milk chocolate is Humdinger dairy free milk chocolate buttons available from most supermarkets. I think this tastes and melts in the mouth the closest to dairy milk chocolate. You can use it to make chocolate cigerellos and moulded chocolates. The only trouble is it is only available in 25 gram bags. This chocolate does contain soya.
Dairy Free ‘White’ Chocolate
Some dairy free white chocolate is quite different to usual white chocolate and doesn’t work in the same way in recipes.
Plamil produce a dairy free white chocolate which can be bought in bulk from their website. It can vary in colour from a creamy colour to light brown.
Organica produce a 100g bar which is available from whole food shops. It is off white in colour with flecks of vanilla in it.
If you want a dairy free white chocolate that tastes similar to dairy white chocolate then the best to use is Humdinger dairy free white chocolate buttons available from most supermarkets. Again it is only available in 25g bags and contains soya. This is the only white chocolate which will work well for dairy free chocolate ganache.