Author Topic: About Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Non- Alkalized and Alkalized)  (Read 1476 times)

Olga Drozd

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About Unsweetened Cocoa Powder:

Cocoa powder is chocolate liquor with about 25 percent of the cocoa butter removed.  The amount of cocoa butter varies from brand to brand, but this is of no concern to most consumers, unless you are making cocoa-based diet recipes.  It is, however, very important to know the difference between non-alkalized and alkalized cocoa powders, since the packages rarely indicate the variety on the label.

NON-ALKALIZED (natural) cocoa powder is familiar as Hershey's Cocoa in the brown box.  Natural cocoa has a rich, full chocolate flavor.  Cocoa is a highly acidic product, as are buttermilk, brown sugar, and some other baking ingredients.  When the acidic cocoa is mixed with an alkali (such as baking soda) and moistened, the two react to create carbon dioxide.  This gas is trapped in the batter and makes your baked goods rise.

ALKALIZED or Dutch-process cocoa powder has been treated with an alkali solution to remove some of the cocoa's acidity, which gives it a darker color and mellower flavor. (The alkalizing procedure was developed in the Netherlands, hence the term "Dutch-process.") However, with the acidity reduced, Dutch-process cocoa will not react properly with baking soda.  A cake made with these ingredients may not rise properly and might have a soapy taste.  

Use this rule of thumb: if the cake recipe calls for baking soda, use a non-alkalized cocoa like Hershey's (in the brown box).  If it calls for baking powder (which combines dry acid and alkali components so you are not dependent on the acids found in your batter's ingredients), you can use either non-alkalized or Dutch-process cocoa.  When you want a Dutch-process cocoa, use Hershey's European Style Cocoa (in the silver box) or Droste.