Cupcake Forum

Go Back   Cupcake Forum > General > Baking in General

Old 07-17-2013, 07:01 AM
Laura's Avatar
Laura Laura is offline

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Staten Island, NY
Posts: 556
Default Cocoa Powder FAQ: Dutch-process & natural cocoa powder

From David Leibowitz:
Cocoa Powder FAQ: Dutch-process & natural cocoa powder
Here are some of the frequently asked questions people have about cocoa powder, and how itís used in recipes:
Whatís the difference between Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder?
Dutch-process cocoa powder is made from cocoa (cacao) beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, to neutralize their acidity. Natural cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that are simply roasted, then pulverized into a fine powder.
What does Dutching do?
Aside from neutralizing the acidity, Dutching cocoa powder makes it darker (see photo below, right) and can help mellow the flavor of the beans. Some artisan companies in the United States donít Dutch-process their cocoa as they claim their cocoa beans donít need to be acid-neutralized. Most supermarket brands of cocoa powder in America, such as Hersheyís and Nestlť, are natural cocoa powders.
Can I use Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder interchangeably in recipes?

Because natural cocoa powder hasnít had its acidity tempered, itís generally paired with baking soda (which is alkali) in recipes. Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used in recipes with baking powder, as it doesnít react to baking soda like natural cocoa does.
Many classic American recipes, like Devilís Food Cake, use natural cocoa powder. (My recipe, which I linked to, can be made with either since many people outside the United States canít get natural cocoa powder so I used both leavenings.) There is also a reaction between natural cocoa powder and baking soda that occurs in recipes, which creates a reddish crumb, like Devilís Food Cake.
There are exceptions to each, of course. And according to Fine Cooking magazine, ďYou can substitute natural cocoa powder for Dutch-process in most recipes (though not vice versa). Flavor and texture can be affected, but generally only in recipes calling for 3/4 cup (75 g) or more.Ē However when a batter-based recipe calls for natural cocoa powder, do not use Dutch-process cocoa powder. But I always advise folks to follow what the recipe says. For sauces and ice creams, they can be swapped out. For cakes and cookies, I donít recommend it, as your results may not be the same if you make substitutions.

How is cocoa powder made?
Cocoa beans are roasted, then ground to a paste. Afterward, the thick paste is pressed between hydraulic plates, which squeezes out about half of the excess cocoa butter. (Cocoa beans are about 50% fat.) Whatís left is a hard disk of cocoa powder, which is then grated into a fine powder. Most cocoa powders are between 20-22% fat, which is why most low-fat chocolate desserts call for cocoa powder.
Whatís the best brand of cocoa powder?
I hesitate to give personal recommendations, since my taste may not be exactly the same as yours. Plus, depending on where you live, certain cocoa powders that I use may not be available where you are.
Itís best to find one with a flavor profile that you prefer, according to your personal tastes, and that fits your budget. Color, brand, country of origin, and price, are not necessarily barometers of quality. Most European brands (Dutch-process) are quite good and the richest one is Valrhona (see Note, below), which I do single out as a recommended brand, which i find gives desserts and baked goods more flavor and color than other cocoa powders.
The best way to figure out which cocoa powder is good is to take a deep sniff; good cocoa powder will have a naturally sweet, but slightly acidic, smell of rough chocolate. You may also wish to try a few cocoa powder-based desserts (see Links, below), to determine which cocoa powder you like.
What does it mean to Ďbloomí cocoa powder?
Some recipes call for cocoa powder to be ĎbloomedĎ in hot water or another hot liquid. This is done to intensify the flavor of the cocoa powder. According to Cookís Illustrated, this releases flavor particles trapped in the cocoa powder and helps the ďburst forthĒ. Many recipes, especially cookies, donít have liquid ingredients, so you wouldnít use that technique.
What is Ďblackí cocoa powder?
Black cocoa is cocoa powder that has been heavily-Dutched. If youíve ever had an Oreo cookie, the outer cookies are a good example of black cocoa. Because it has a strong, very brusque flavor, itís best used in conjunction with another cocoa powder and is mostly used to boost color. Hersheyís Special Dark cocoa powder is heavily Dutched, and is close to black cocoa powder. (King Arthur sells true black cocoa.)
Can I substitute ground chocolate for cocoa powder?
No. Ground chocolate is finely ground bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, which is mostly used for making hot beverages. It contains sugar and additional cocoa butter, and isnít the same thing. Pure cocoa powder has no sugar or additional fats added.
Can I use sweetened cocoa powder in recipes that call for cocoa powder?
Sweetened cocoa powder is a product, like the aforementioned ground chocolate, thatís intended to be used for making hot beverages. Do not use it in recipes that call for cocoa powder. Always check to make sure that when a recipe calls for pure cocoa powder, youíre using unsweetened cocoa powder.
Why do some recipes say to sift drying ingredients with cocoa powder in them, and others say to whisk?
Because itís so fine, cocoa powder tends to lump up in the container. So you either need to sift or whisk it well to break up the lumps. Itís also a good idea to disperse the cocoa powder in other dry ingredients in recipes, especially if using a stand mixer, as the fine cocoa powder tends to easily fly out of the mixing bowl when mixing.
How do you store cocoa powder, and how long does it last?
Cocoa powder should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in the refrigerator because the humidity can promote spoilage.
Because of its low moisture content, cocoa powder will keep up to three years. To ensure consumers use the cocoa powder while itís at its prime, most manufacturerís list an expiration date on their containers.
Can I dust a cake pan with cocoa powder instead of flour?
Yes, for chocolate cakes, itís fine (and sometimes desirable) to dust the pan with cocoa powder as you would use regular wheat flour. This is a good tip also for converting recipes to gluten-free.
Simply add a spoonful of cocoa powder to the greased pan, roll it around, shaking the pan to ensure an even layer of powder, then tap out any excess.
Note: I generally donít call for specific brands of products. There are a variety of reasons why I donít, but mainly itís because readers live in different parts of the world and may or may not have access to certain products. Plus I donít want people to scramble for ingredients, or not be able to make recipes. But I do make exceptions if a particular brand makes a noticeable difference.
Although not imperative to use, Iíve been baking with Valrhona cocoa powder, since itís darker and richer that other Dutch-process cocoa powders, and I am happier with the results than when I use others. Itís also available internationally. (I buy their cocoa powder at G. Detou, in Paris.)
It does cost more than other Dutch-process cocoa powders, but an economical way to obtain it is to purchase a 3 kg box, available at Amazon and Chocosphere. It normally comes in 3 separate kilos bags (#2.2 each), so you can split the purchase with other bakers.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2013, 07:02 AM
Laura's Avatar
Laura Laura is offline

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Staten Island, NY
Posts: 556
Default Cocoa Powder FAQ: Dutch Process & Natural Cocoa Powder- Related Links and Recipes

Related Links and Recipes
Why you should use aluminum-free baking powder
Cocoa and Baking Chocolate (King Arthur)
Cocoa Powder (Perfect Pantry)
The Great Book of Chocolate
Devilís Food Cake
Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate FAQs
What is white chocolate
American Baking Ingredients in Paris
What is Dutch-process cocoa powder? (Baking Bites)
Best Cocoa Brownies (Smitten Kitchen)
Coenraad Johannes van Houten: Inventor of Dutch-process cocoa (Wikipedia)
Chocosphere (Source of high-quality cocoa powders)
Cocoa Powder (Fine Cooking)
What is Dutch-process cocoa? (The Kitchn)
All About Powdered Chocolate (Culinate)
Cocoa Powder (Cooks Illustrated)
Flours, Nuts, and Cocoa Powders (Amazon Store)
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:30 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.