We were having a little discussion in one of my groups. And I thought this could be helpful for you guys as well.
Cocoa liquor (or 100% Chocolate) that is extracted from the cocoa beans is pressed with pressing machines to extract cocoa butter.
The residue is cocoa powder.
You know how chocolate is made right?
If you don’t, please read this article.
Due to the fermentation of bean (read article), real chocolate is actually a little sour. (More sour means inferior quality of beans. Mishandling, over fermentation, bad batch of beans etc.)
After the extraction of cocoa butter, the remaining cocoa powder is EXTREMELY SOUR (Acidic in nature).
For many years this was just a waste product of the Chocolate industry. Until one day Van Houten (yes that chocolate guy!), decided that they want to make more profit by selling it.
So they decided to ALKELIZE the cocoa powder to make it neutral and consumable. (Remember from middle school how Acid cuts base and vise versa?)
Van Houten was Dutch. So the alkelization process was named ‘DUTCHING’.
The chemicals used in the process, darkens the cocoa powder as a reaction.
Remember how I wrote, more sour means inferior quality. Also, more sour means it requires more neutralization. Therefore more dutching. The more the dutching, the darker the cocoa.
A batch of powder extracted from good chocolate, won’t be so sour. Therefore won’t need so much processing. Therefore lesser dutching, therefore, lighter colour!!
So, darker the cocoa powder, you can assume that it’s undergone more Dutching, which means it was made from an inferior quality Chocolate. Which means it won’t have much flavour!!
Now, darker the Chocolate, richer it looks, so the companies play on this mind set of people and sell dark (highly processed) cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder in its natural form is acidic. And the Alkelization process (Dutching) of cocoa powder makes it neutral. So we can use Baking Soda with Dutch processed cocoa powder.
With natural cocoa powder, since it is acidic, there won’t be much affect of the baking soda or baking powder since there’s already an acid present.
Also depends on how acidic the natural cocoa is.
The CHEAPEST of the cheap cocoa powder makers sometimes grind this husk into super fine powder and add some artificial flavour and colour to it and sell it as cocoa powder.
That’s what your so called Malaysian Cocoa powder crap is made up of. You know the ones which are sold in lose packets.
Premium Brands like Valrhona and Callebaut make dark cocoa powders to appeal to the public’s need of ‘dark cocoa powders’. But to maintain flavour, they add a small percentage of cocoa butter back into the cocoa powder. Which makes it smell delicious and taste good too.
Be careful about what you buy guys! And never buy anything which doesn’t have a label on it!
Unless you know the source!!
Picture Courtesy – Google (For reference)