I know. I KNOW. You think I’m nuts. Does it matter? Of course it matters! It keeps us sane, happy and alive. So what on earth was I thinking here in the bakery, when I voiced such a daring question. Does chocolate matter?
Don’t worry. I haven’t gone crazy (yet). We’re asking a different kind of question here. Does chocolate QUALITY in baking really matter? You know all the differences out there – sweet, semi sweet, good quality, chocolate chips.. It’s so easy to just use what we have on hand. Why the hassle? And anyway, what’s the difference?
Today, we have some answers for you. Hold on tight!
First off, do you absolute very best not to confuse bittersweet with unsweetened chocolate. You will most definitely get different results. Most baking recipes call for bittersweet or semi-sweet baking chocolate – those two can be used interchangeably. But clearly the unsweetened won’t do the trick of semi-sweet chocolate. That means that you need those for the success of your recipe!
What’s the difference between baking chocolate and chocolate? Well, pretty simple.
Baking chocolate is made for – baking! While regular chocolate is made for eating. Chocolate bars that are perfect for your chocolate craving needs are often too sweet to bake with.
The quality of the chocolate is crucial. Especially in chocolate based recipes – souffles, truffles and so forth. The rich chocolate flavor is essential. As a general rule, it is safe to assume the the more expensive, higher percentage of cocoa will yield better results. Take a moment to check out this cool experiment!
Now here’s the tough one: Natural cocoa powder vs. Dutch cocoa powder. Hu?
In very very easy simple terms the difference is as such:
Natural HAS acid (yes, chocolate is acidic). And is lighter in color.
Dutch has the acid stripped, and is darker in color.
If you’re looking for any more science than that, search the web 🙂 Don’t want to bore you with the details here!
What does this mean for us? Because of the acid, or lack of thereof, the leavening ingredients of your baked goods will differ if using natural and dutch. Natural will pair with baking soda, while dutch with baking powder.
Uh oh. What do you do if your recipe calls for “cocoa powder”? Look at the ingredients. If there is more baking powder = use dutch. More baking soda = natural.
BUT. Here’s the big but. It can be very hard to find natural cocoa powder. What you see in the supermarkets is often cheap stuff, with loads of additives – which takes you faaaar away from the real chocolate flavor you’re looking for. Try to stick to dutch, or good quality swiss wtuff.
That’s a wrap for today!
Stay tuned for some inside the bakery goodness coming up!
Love from Our Kitchen to Yours,
~ A Taste of Home in Israel