Baker's Chocolate (brand)
Baker's Chocolate is a brand name for the line of baking chocolates made by Kraft Foods. Products include a variety of bulk chocolates, including white and unsweetened, and sweetened coconut flakes. It is one of the largest national brands of chocolate in the United States. The company was originally named Walter Baker & Company.
In 1764, John Hannon (or alternatively spelled "Hannan" in some sources) and the American physician Dr. James Baker started importing beans and producing chocolate in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester, Massachusetts.
After Hannon never returned from a 1779 sailing trip to the West Indies to purchase cocoa beans, his wife sold the company to Dr. Baker in 1780, and the company was renamed to the Baker Chocolate Company. His first product was a cake of chocolate for making a sweetened chocolate drink. Distribution was mainly in the Northeastern United States until 1804, when Dr. Baker's son, Edmund Baker, inherited the family business and increased production with a state-of-the-art mill.
By 1849, under Walter Baker, the Baker's Chocolate brand had spread to California, during the Gold Rush era. Production was limited to one kind of chocolate until 1852, when employee Samuel German created "German's Sweet Chocolate" that had a higher sugar content than previous baking chocolates. In 1957 a Dallas, Texas newspaper printed a cake recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" based on this chocolate, which was reprinted by the company's owner General Foods under the "German chocolate cake", becoming the accepted name.
Production steadily increased through the century. The trademark logo of La Belle Chocolatiere was adopted in 1883 by the fourth-generation familial owner, Henry L. Pierce, step-nephew of Walter Baker. Pierce began advertising Baker's Chocolate heavily in newspapers to increase sales. Promotional offers of tableware and logo pins helped attract customers. At his death in 1896, the Forbes Syndicate bought the company. In 1927 they sold the company to the Postum Cereal Company, later known as General Foods. In 1969 production moved from Dorchester, Massachusetts to Dover, Delaware. The company was passed onto Kraft Foods in 1989 when they acquired General Foods.
Baker's continues to expand its line of products, focusing on conveniences for the home baker. Some products, such as vanilla extract and cocoa powder, have been discontinued with company turnovers. Other products are available to food service professionals in bulk, considerably different kinds of coconut, cocoa drinks, and bulk chocolate.
Baker's most common products:
- German's Sweet Chocolate 'Bar' (46% cacao)
- Semi-sweet chocolate (54% cacao)
- Bittersweet chocolate (67% cacao)
- Unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao)
- White decorating chocolate (0% cacao)
- Premium white chocolate (0% cacao)
- Dipping chocolate (milk or semi-sweet)
- Semi-sweet chocolate chunks (54% cacao)
- Sweetened Angel Flake coconut
- Goldstein, D.; Mintz, S.; Krondl, M.; Rath, E.; Mason, L.; Quinzio, G.; Heinzelmann, U. (2015). The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-19-931361-7.
- Cf. Committee of the Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society, "History of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts", Boston : E. Clapp, Jr., 1859. Cf. p.627. The spelling here is John Hannan, but in later sources, Hannon is used.
- Sammarco, A.M. (2011). The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History. History Press. pp. 9–11. ISBN 978-1-61423-113-4.
- Houston, Herbert S. (April 1902). "Baker Chocolate Advertising Supplement: Chocolate Making in America". The World's Work: A History of Our Time V: PT1–PT8. Retrieved 2009-07-10. Includes historic photos of Baker Chocolate facilities.
- Baker's Official Website (Kraft Foods)
- Boston Globe
- "Walter Baker Chocolate Company" - Dorchester Atheneum
- Cf. also: "Walter Baker & Co. General History" - Dorchester Atheneum
- Committee of the Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society, "History of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts", Boston : E. Clapp, Jr., 1859. Cf. p. 627.
- Stevens, Peter F., "It Happened in Dorchester: Dr. Baker and the Chocolate Factory", Dorchester Reporter, History of Dorchester.
- The Bostonian Society, "Sweet History: Dorchester and the Chocolate Factory", in conjunction with Kraft Foods, the Dorchester Historical Society, and the Milton Historical Society.