Is it important to know the difference between bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate? Can I use Dutch cocoa in all my recipes calling for cocoa? Understanding the difference in chocolate and how they are used is necessary to baking. In this guide, we’ll identify the qualities of those chocolates used in baking.
Cocoa is the dry chocolate powder derived from chocolate liquor. It comes in two types: natural and Dutch process. Dutch processed cocoa is processed with an alkaline. It is somewhat darker, smoother, and more easily dissolved than natural cocoa. In many recipes, natural cocoa and Dutch cocoa are not interchangeable. Natural cocoa is somewhat acidic and will therefore chemically react with baking soda to create carbon dioxide bubbles and some leavening power. Dutch cocoa is somewhat alkaline, will not react with baking soda, and should rely on baking powder for leavening.
Bitter (unsweetened) baking chocolate is made from pure chocolate liquor. By specification, it must include 50 to 58 percent cocoa butter though with inferior products, vegetable oil may he added. Depending on the producer, milk solids, vanilla, or salt may be added. I have a package in front of me that contains only chocolate and milk solids. Unsweetened chocolate has a bitter taste and relies on sweeteners in the recipe to make it palatable.
Sweet baking chocolate– bittersweet, semisweet chocolate– has sugar added. These products should include 35 to 50% cocoa butter but may have as low as 15% chocolate liquor. Because unsweetened chocolate has twice the chocolate liquor, we prefer to use unsweetened chocolate in most of our baking.
Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate can be used interchangeably in recipes though there is a difference in flavor. Frequently, bittersweet is a more costly chocolate and to numerous, a better, richer-flavored chocolate.
Use The Chocolate Called For In The Recipe
Milk chocolate is made with ten percent chocolate liquor. It includes a minimum of twelve percent milk solids. Since it has such a low percentage of chocolate liquor, rarely is it melted and added to batter or dough. This type of chocolate is often used as an add in or a topping. There are some great baking cookbooks that are filled with chocolate recipes, many have unique uses for milk chocolate.
White chocolate contains no chocolate liquor but is made with cocoa butter. Historically, the FDA has not controlled the manufacture of white chocolate so you need to read labels carefully. If the product was made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, it will not perform the same as a product with cocoa butter.
Chocolate chips are made with chocolate liquor with only minimal amounts of cocoa butter. Instead, they are made with vegetable oil and stabilizers to help them hold their shape. Without the cocoa butter, chocolate chips have a different taste and mouth feel. Chocolate chips will have a firmer set in puddings, pie fillings, and sauces than baking chocolate. Chocolate chips can be bought in milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate.
Cocoa is the dry chocolate powder derived from chocolate liquor. Because unsweetened chocolate has twice the chocolate liquor, we prefer to use unsweetened chocolate in most of our baking.
Questions About White Chocolate
White chocolate includes no chocolate liquor but is made with cocoa butter. Chocolate chips are made with chocolate liquor with only minimal amounts of cocoa butter. Chocolate chips can be purchased in milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate.