• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

CanadianBakin'

Will dutch process cocoa ruin my brownies?

14 posts in this topic

This is a spin-off from the cocoa thread. I'd like to try using dutch process cocoa in my brownies but don't have ready access to small amounts. I think the smallest bag my supplier has is about 5 lbs. My brownies have just cocoa, no solid chocolate and a bit of instant coffee as well as 1/4 tsp of baking soda. A few people mentioned that you should use regular cocoa in recipes that contain baking soda. Is a 1/4 teaspoon enough to mess them them up? How does the dutch process cocoa effect the flavour. I seem to remember reading that the flavour will be richer and the texture a bit fudgier. Can anyone help me with their experiences? Sorry, this is a bit long.

To sum up, my questions are:

1. Will 1/4 tsp baking soda affect my brownies negatively if I use dutch process cocoa?

2. Is it worth trying dutch process cocoa? Is the flavour that much better?

Thanks for your input.


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always use Dutch Process for nearly everything. I think, and this is purely a personal taste issue, that it does make a big difference in taste. It is much smoother than regular cocao and you can really feel it if you are using it in large amounts in a recipe. The end product tends to taste more chocolaty to me when using Dutch Process, and I like that.

I say go ahead and use it in your recipe, it should not be a problem.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The new Cooks Illustrated has a piece on the difference between Dutch process and natural, and concluded to its suprise that there is no difference in the two cocoas when used for baking. The authors expected that the more alkaline Dutch process could not be substituted for natural cocoa, and visa versa. They found that it made no difference. They also found that Dutch process always tasted better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info. That gives me a lot more confidence in trying it.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Will 1/4 tsp baking soda affect my brownies negatively if I use dutch process cocoa?

2. Is it worth trying dutch process cocoa? Is the flavour that much better?

Thanks for your input.

My guess is that it probably won't make a difference. The only potential gotcha is that if there's no other acidity in the recipe, your baking soda won't have anything to react with. Potential issues: a) wasted baking soda, b) denser brownies, and c) a slight soapy taste. In my mind, a & b are no biggie. And c probably isn't either, given the quantity of soda. But if you're concerned, substitute 1 tsp baking powder for the 1/4 tsp baking soda to get approximately the same effect.

FWIW, Dutch-process cocoa is all I use.


B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The new Cooks Illustrated has a piece on the difference between Dutch process and natural, and concluded to its suprise that there is no difference in the two cocoas when used for baking.  The authors expected that the more alkaline Dutch process could not be substituted for natural cocoa, and visa versa.  They found that it made no difference.  They also found that Dutch process always tasted better.

I'd like to see that article, and check out exactly what kinds of tests they did, but it doesn't seem to be in the newest issue (Dec). Could it have been in the previous issue?


There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's Jan-Feb 05. Mine just came yesterday.


thoughts on food, writing, and everything else: Words to Eat By

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, duh, I saw it at the bookstore today, and stupidly assumed it was the latest issue. I should have realized that it was probably outdated already! Thanks, I'll keep my eye out for the Jan-Feb one.


Edited by merstar (log)

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another intesting result of the CI taste testing is that the Hershey's cocoa was ranked #2 in both the dutched and natural categories, and in both cases beat out much more expensive cocoas.

For instance, Hershey's dutched beat out Droste, Skokinag and Valrhona, and was ranked second only to Callebaut cocoa (which doesnt surprise me, since I think Callebaut chocolate is awesome). The Hershey's cocoa costs about 40% less than the Callebaut. Among the natural cocoas, Hershey's beat out Ghiradelli and Scharffen Berger, and was second to Mercken's, which is about the same price (~US$6 per LB). This doesn't surprise me either, since I have been relatively disappointed with both Ghiradelli and Scharffen Berger.

EDIT TO ADD: And to reiterate what JospehB pointed out, the dutched was preferred in every one of the taste tests, which included hot cocoa, shortbread, pudding cake, and devil's food cake.


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The new Cooks Illustrated has a piece on the difference between Dutch process and natural, and concluded to its suprise that there is no difference in the two cocoas when used for baking.  The authors expected that the more alkaline Dutch process could not be substituted for natural cocoa, and visa versa.  They found that it made no difference.  They also found that Dutch process always tasted better.

Well, I finally saw the CI article and while I don't agree with all their cocoa ratings, they are, of course, a matter of personal taste, not fact, so their opionions are as valid as anyone's. However, I was very surprised and somewhat angry how they irresponsibly made the declaration that there was no difference between Dutched and natural cocoa in baking. After all, they only did ONE test and that was in a Devil's Food Cake. They did not include any of the ingredients in the recipe, ie, the the leaveners. For example, if baking soda was the sole leavener, and Dutched cocoa was used, were there any acidic ingredients in the recipe that would react with the soda, since Dutched does not, etc., etc., etc? They reported their findings at the very end of the article in one small paragraph. I truly think this was sloppily done and obviously not conclusive. They should have done many, many recipes, and compared them side by side to properly analyze the results.


There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
merstar:

However, I was very surprised and somewhat angry how they irresponsibly made the declaration that there was no difference between Dutched and natural cocoa in baking. After all, they only did ONE test and that was in a Devil's Food Cake. They did not include any of the ingredients in the recipe, ie, the the leaveners.

Actually, in the most recent addition on dutched cocoa, they tested two recipes, one of which specifically called for dutched (the devil's food) and one of which specifically called for natural (pudding cake). In neither case did they note any difference in leavening, and in both cases they judged the dutched as producing a better taste. As you say, they did not include the recipes in the article itself, but I'd assume that they are devil's food and pudding cakes from past issues of CI. From the article:

The only case remaining for choosing natural cocoa concerned leavening. Getting a baked good to rise properly depends on a delicate balance of acids and bases. Conventional wisdom thus dictates that Dutched cocoa and natural cocoa cannot be used interchangeably. Many cookbooks include cautionary notes about the dangers of substitution.

With these caveats in mind, we chose two recipes (for devil's food cake and hot pudding cake) that call for a particular type of cocoa-one Dutched, one natural. To our surprise, we noticed no difference in leavening among the four samples in either of these applications. And, across the board, the two Dutched cocoas beat out the two natural cocoas in terms of both flavor and texture. So does the home cook need both Dutched and natural cocoas? Not based on our findings.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be very easy to refute CI by doing you own experiment demonstrating a difference in leavening depending on cocoa type using some other recipe. This would refute the null hypothesis, which in this case is the hypothesis that there no difference between natural and dutched cocoa with respect to leavening. All CI is saying is that their tests, such as they are, fail to rule out the null hypothesis. I don't think that is so 'irresponsible.' If you are indeed angry,

maybe you can suggest to CI a better recipe, one which will definitively prove the need for one type of cocoa for proper leavening?


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
merstar:

However, I was very surprised and somewhat angry how they irresponsibly made the declaration that there was no difference between Dutched and natural cocoa in baking. After all, they only did ONE test and that was in a Devil's Food Cake. They did not include any of the ingredients in the recipe, ie, the the leaveners.

Actually, in the most recent addition on dutched cocoa, they tested two recipes, one of which specifically called for dutched (the devil's food) and one of which specifically called for natural (pudding cake). In neither case did they note any difference in leavening, and in both cases they judged the dutched as producing a better taste. As you say, they did not include the recipes in the article itself, but I'd assume that they are devil's food and pudding cakes from past issues of CI. From the article:

The only case remaining for choosing natural cocoa concerned leavening. Getting a baked good to rise properly depends on a delicate balance of acids and bases. Conventional wisdom thus dictates that Dutched cocoa and natural cocoa cannot be used interchangeably. Many cookbooks include cautionary notes about the dangers of substitution.

With these caveats in mind, we chose two recipes (for devil's food cake and hot pudding cake) that call for a particular type of cocoa-one Dutched, one natural. To our surprise, we noticed no difference in leavening among the four samples in either of these applications. And, across the board, the two Dutched cocoas beat out the two natural cocoas in terms of both flavor and texture. So does the home cook need both Dutched and natural cocoas? Not based on our findings.

Allow me to be corrected, as I read the article in the bookstore, and didn't take the mag home with me, so I didn't realize they had done two different recipes. However, I still don't think only two recipes justify their conclusion that there's no difference between Dutched and natural in baking. Athough, they do cover themselves by saying "...not based on our findings," I think many people will take it as the gospel truth in all cases. Perhaps they're right, perhaps they're wrong, (more likely they're right in certain cases and wrong in others), but I just find it strange that they based it on only two tests with no analyses of the other variables involved.


Edited by merstar (log)

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I always use Dutch Process for nearly everything. I think, and this is purely a personal taste issue, that it does make a big difference in taste. It is much smoother than regular cocao and you can really feel it if you are using it in large amounts in a recipe. The end product tends to taste more chocolaty to me when using Dutch Process, and I like that.

I say go ahead and use it in your recipe, it should not be a problem.

Elie

I am no expert, but I agree. I made a recipe for a chocolate cake that had baking soda, baking powder and coffee in it. I accidentally used regular cocoa the first time I made it. I thought I did something wrong. It did not taste good (to me). It lacked flavor. I made the same exact recipe using Dutch-processed (the same brand). And boy, did it make a huge difference. The taste was much better and somewhat stronger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Choky
      At least in Europe comercial chocolate tablets are getting thinner. Usually 6mm thick and of course bigger in area.
       
      But I don't manage to find that kind of molds at manufacturer's sites (80 or 100g). Or at least choice is very limited.
       
      Why? Maybe too thin for manual unmolding? Or they just use bigger molds and fill partially? 
       
      Thanks!
    • By Damnfine
      I have a box of truffle shells that were not stored properly and have bloomed. If I fill and dip them in tempered chocolate, will the newly dipped chocolate bloom due to the layer underneath it, or will the outer layer seal the under layer and keep them looking nice?
    • By adey73
      does anyone recognise this grate/grid that Antonio Bachour is using in this picture.....or what the correct name for this bit of kit is....?
       
      I like the height and I want one...
       
       
    • By jedovaty
      Good morning!
       
      Long story short: I am doing a spin off the coconut/chocolate/almond candy (almond joy), and trying to create a specific shape out of the almond.  My hands are cramped after a couple dozen failed attempts whittling roasted almonds, so now I'd like to try a different approach, and instead, create some kind of sub-candy or cookie with roasted almonds that I can put into a mold or use a mini cookie cutter.  I'm fairly new to sweets, my knowledge in this area is pretty slim.  Some ideas so far, I don't like any, but it might help turn some gears:
      1. dusting almond over a stencil, but that's not enough almond nor crunchy enough
      2. almond brittle, but that's too hard and sweet, I'd like it more of a soft crunch, and bringing the almond flavor forward
      3. meringue with almonds (sort of macaron-ish), however, weather has been humid and raining here, and I'm ending up with a gooey mess instead of that soft crunch
       
      In addition to having almond-forward taste and soft crunch texture, it'd be fun to explore something modernish - I have a accumulated a few tools and ingredients not customarily found in homes.
       
      There are dietary considerations I will have to account for, however, no need to worry about that now, I am just looking for ideas and a place to take it from there
       
      Thank you for your time in reading!
    • By ChristysConfections
      Hey there wise E-gullet-ers!
       
      I have another question to put out there. I am interested in making a rose jelly - one that I can layer with a chocolate ganache similar to a pâte de fruit. I don't really know how to go about this. Do you infuse water with dried rose petals and make a syrup? What's the best way to gellify it? I'm very curious. Has anyone made jellies with any other botanicals? Is anyone willing to share their recipe as a guideline?
       
      Many thanks!
      Christy
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.