Jump to content
  • 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 a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
SusanGiff

Best baking chocolate...

Recommended Posts

I'm noticing a lot of recipes lately that specify using good bittersweet or semisweet chocolate with a cacao content no higher than 60 percent; I guess it's a response to the boom in superdark chocolates and the to fact that so many bars actually do specify how high the cocoa content is now. Makes sense to me, because frankly, when I bake with Scharffenberger or some such, it's just too bittersweet for people who aren't serious dark chocolate eaters. In fact, I recently brought a very beautiful, very delicious frosted chocolate stout cake to a party, and I think a lot of people were put off by the fact that they'd been staring at it all through dinner, and then it just wasn't as gooey and sweet as they'd anticipated.

So my question is, what are some good, widely available, under 60 percent baking bars? I think the lowest Scharffenberger I've seen is 62--close enough, but that's what I used to frost the stout cake. Not sure about the Callebaut that's at my Whole Foods, but I'm pretty sure the big Valrhona bars they have are above. I'll confess to a personal weakness for Ghirardelli, but I'd like to find something a little better!

Thanks.

Susan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So my question is, what are some good, widely available, under 60 percent baking bars? I think the lowest Scharffenberger I've seen is 62--close enough, but that's what I used to frost the stout cake. Not sure about the Callebaut that's at my Whole Foods, but I'm pretty sure the big Valrhona bars they have are above.  I'll confess to a personal weakness for Ghirardelli, but I'd like to find something a little better!

Callebaut "bittersweet" is something like 56%, its inexpensive, and I think it tastes fine. If you like Ghirardelli, I predict you will like Callebaut. Among more expensive chocolates, Valrhona Le Noir Gastronomie 61% is one of my favorites.


"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

e. guittard also has a 55% that's a pretty good general use chocolate.

their (e. guittard's) 61% is great. i use it for everything and haven't gotten complaints about it being too bitter. great meltability, etc.

i prefer e. guittard products over callebaut.

guittard chocolates are also a bit cheaper than the european chocolates without sacrificing quality.

i find that it isn't so much the cocoa content (if it is too high, of course it gets bitter) with scharffenberger, but their chocolate tends to be very tannic or drying in the mouth. it doesn't exactly scream out melty-chocolatey-goodness, if you know what i mean. it does it for some people, but it isn't my favorite for either eating out of hand nor (especially not, i should say) for baking and dessert making.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the eguittard , I use it all the time and its very good , good price /quality chocolate .


Vanessa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I third the e guittard and will also say that I don't particularly care for the Scharffenberger either. I also prefer Cacao Barry over Callebaut -- same parent company, and I get them for the same price. I think the Cacao Barry has a better texture and flavor profile.


Cheryl, The Sweet Side

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't have chocolate myself, because of allergy, but I do bake and cook with it for others. I was recently given a box of Valrhona "Le Noir Extra Amer" Dark Bitter Chocolate 85% cocoa.

It is much too dark, strong or bitter for most people but I have been mixing it with heavy cream (Manufacturer's Cream) and Torani sugar-free vanilla syrup (for diabetic friends).

2 oz syrup and 4 oz cream for each 3.5 oz bar.

My taster likes these proportions as having the most chocolate flavor without being too strong and bitter.

I have also used the raspberry, black cherry, caramel, pepperment, coconut, almond and orange sugar-free syrups with this and similar high cocoa percentage chocolate.

It means that diabetics can enjoy previously forbidden desserts.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm the odd one when it comes to guittard -- I bought a 1kg bar of L'Harmonie, used it twice, and found it so unpleasant-tasting that I didnt even finish using it. I never tried it again. Maybe I got a bad bar or something. I don't like Scharffenberger much either.


"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

Thank you all. I'm a big dark chocolate eater, but hadn't considered that, cocoa content aside, good eating chocolate and good baking chocolate are two different animals. I'll experiment.

Susan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Everyone,

I am a big fan of Guittard as well and they offer a lot of chocolates under 60%. But you also have some other great chocolates with Valrhona, Callebaut...and a few others. But those are the bigger variety chocolate manufacturers. I really like Guittard but if you like a different taste then try some of the other ones...they all over below 60% chocolates.

-Robert

Chocolate Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess I'm the odd one when it comes to guittard -- I bought a 1kg bar of L'Harmonie, used it twice, and found it so unpleasant-tasting that I didnt even finish using it. I never tried it again. Maybe I got a bad bar or something. I don't like Scharffenberger much either.

I didn't like L'Harmonie either - I found it underwhelming, both in taste and texture.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hum....you know I have heard someone say that L'harmonie is a blend of Guittard's Single Origin chocolates. But I do not know for sure...I'm guessing it is something close to that. I actually haven't had L'Harmonie yet..I have had all their single origins but I'll have to try it and see for myself since there are mixed reviews...

-Robert

Chocolate Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I third the e guittard and will also say that I don't particularly care for the Scharffenberger either.  I also prefer Cacao Barry over Callebaut -- same parent company, and I get them for the same price.  I think the Cacao Barry has a better texture and flavor profile.

i also like cacao barry's milk chocolate more than most other milks out there. don't much care for callebaut chocolates in general as i think they tend to be too sweet(?!).

patrick, i've never heard of the l'harmonie from e. guittard. it must be one of their newer products. it's not even listed on their website. i've never tried any of their single origin bars. i've only used their 55%, 61%, 72(?)%, milk and white. they have funny names for the 61% (sunrise or lever du soleil) and for the 72% (sunset or coucher du soleil) or something like that. i've never gone beyond those chocolates though. i feel like they (and many other companies) started doing the single origin thing to keep up with the joneses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

L'harmonie is on the part of their site where you can buy chocolate.

Also what might need to be addressed. I know a lot of companies have single origin now but trust me it is for the better. Many people think that it is just a marketing ploy(sp) but if you truely taste good single origins I think their is nothing better. Why not taste an exact region and how that chocolate tastes then mix together a bunch of origins and fad out flavors. Now of course I love blended chocolates as well and think they are great but I love all the different flavors that come from each distinct origin. Gotta try them out if you haven't....

-Robert

Chocolate Forum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
patrick, i've never heard of the l'harmonie from e. guittard.  it must be one of their newer products.  it's not even listed on their website.

Its been around for at least a couple of years, because that's when I tried it. The description on Chocosphere says that "L'Harmonie chocolate is a harmonious blend of Criollo and Trinitario beans that yield light floral aromas and raisin brown top notes, with a deep chocolate finish." I couldn't find the bar in the products section of guittard.com, though oddly enough there are several recipes on their site that call for it.


"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

WHile I have never used the l'harmonie , I often use the 58% eguittard l'etoile du premiere ( or something similar ) , it is a very good 58% dark chocolate , very versatile and with a nice aroma , not overpowering ,but with a nice cocoa taste, plus the ration quality/price is excelent.SOmetimes I do a blend with this and the coucher du solei 72% .


Vanessa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this mysterious "most people" who don't like dark, bitter chocolate either need some re-education, or they need to go to someone else's dinner party!

I sometimes go the opposite route with chocolate desserts. If there are a lot of non-chocolate ingredients (especially butter and cream) I'll often make a blend that's as over as a third unsweetened chocolate and the rest bittersweet chocolate in the 65% to 70% range.

A blend that tastes great to me in a rich chocolate marquise is about 40% valrhona guanaja (one of my faves, but can be a little dark and lacking in aroma by iteself in desserts, 40% unsweetened chocolate (callebaut or valrhona), and 20% valrhoha manjari (brighter, fruiitier, more acidic and aromatic).

In other desserts where i don't want as much of a dominating chocolate flavor, I someimes use the manjari straight. It's delicious without being overwhelmingly dark or complex.


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this mysterious "most people" who don't like dark, bitter chocolate either need some re-education. . .

Interesting. Would you mind explaining why, exactly, people who prefer sweeter chocolate to bitter chocolate would need "re-education," and what this "re-education" would consist of?


"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
Interesting. Would you mind explaining why, exactly, people who prefer sweeter chocolate to bitter chocolate would need "re-education," and what this "re-education" would consist of?

I was being bombastic, presumptuous, and opinionated, the way people who love chocolate often feel entitled to be ;)


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious about the preferences some of you have for Guittard. I assume you're talking about the little disks they sell for cooking. I haven't tried those because I've never been impressed wth their bars.

Now, I'm not sure of what follows because it comes from memory, but I think the last time I saw Guittard in cooking block sizes at Whole Foods, the ingredients list included milk fat. I'll recheck the next time I'm at WF - I'm don't want to criticize Guittard if my memory is faulty.

Using milk fat to replace some cocao butter would be a sign of a pretty low class chocolate. Also, the total fat content may have been lower than brands like Valrhona or Callebaut, signifying a poorer quality for ganaches and such. Couverture chocolate should be at least a third cocao butter, regardless of the total percent of cocoa solids.

I generally use Valrhona chocolate in cooking because it's wonderful, and ends up being pretty cheap at Trader Joe's. They sell 100g bars for $2.69, which works out to $11.84 per pound. At any given time, TJ will have a varying selection. At best, they have a milk and four different dark chocolates.

Finally, on the subject of how dark a chocolate to use. I took a class with the Maison du Chocolat in Paris to make a chocolate tart. They used mostly a 64% dark but added a small amount of milk chocolate to the ganache. (If anyone wants exact amounts, I can pull out the recipe.) MdC mainly uses Valrhona. However, they can get custom couverture chocolate from Valrhona that isn't sold to the public. This isn't just specific blends. They get Valrhona to spend longer on some of the processing.


Edited by RandyB (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is a difference between the "standard" Guittard line of chocolates and their "higher end" E. Guittard line of chocolates.

the company sells a huge range of products from artificially colored and flavored candy melts on up to single origin bars. the stuff that most of us are probably referring to (i know that's what i'm referring to) is the e. guittard line of higher percentage couvertures...

here's the ingredient list on the box of the 61% Lever du Soleil:

cacao beans, pure cane sugar, coca butter, soya lecithin, vanilla beans

they might use milk fat (dried milk powder or something like that) as an additive to their milk chocolates...as most companies do.

here's additional label info:

cacao-61% minimum

cacao mass-50%

cocoa butter (added)-11%

total fat-39%

sugar-38%

i've used their product in restaurant kitchens for the past five years and have been pretty consistently happy with the results. particularly for the price in relation to the quality. it is a good general use chocolate for cooking, baking, tempering, etc. i don't like their milk chocolate though.

but as a disclaimer, it has been a while since i've done a taste test of different chocolates and eating out of hand is very different from working with chocolate in a production environment where you don't have the storage facilities (and other factors) for a different chocolate for every use. we did a taste test of a ton of different chocolates about five years ago which is when i was sold on the e. guittard line.

edited to add:

here's the ingredient list on a bag of valrhona 40% jivara lactee (milk chocolate, which i like to use):

40% minimum cocoa content

cocoa butter, whole powdered milk, sugar, cocoa beans, brown sugar, natural vanilla extract; emulsifier: soya lecithin, malt extract, natural vanilla extract


Edited by alanamoana (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone recommend an internet source for Valrhona feves -- guanaja or manjari? Chocosphere has some 3 kilogram bags for about $70, but is there a less expensive source?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By eglies
      Hi there, I’m looking for some interesting flavours for truffles. Any combination of filling and coating ideas? For lemon, dark ganache, orange and caramel example. 
      I also realised that when deciding to use ready made truffle shells filling needs to have a creamy texture. Any advice on this? 
    • By CharTruff
      Hello! 
       
      I am doing some spring cleaning and am selling some of my used polycarbonate molds. I've attached pictures and dimensions below.  The mold prices do not include shipping fee. I will ship these via USPS priority mail. 
       
      For estimation purposes only, 4 - 5 molds can fit in a medium box and it costs $15.05 to ship. Please let me know if you have any questions.  
       
      Thank you. 
      Charlotte W. 





    • By eglies
      Hello everyone!
       
      I was wondering if anyone could help me out with these design attached?
       
      I manage to make it on the table somehow and then when trying it into the mould it just doesnt work  
       
      Any tips on this ?
       
      Thank you!!

    • By ptw1953
      I am wishing to purchase some black cocao butter, but it is scarcer than hobby-horse sh*te here in the UK. I do have some cocao butter, and some black fat-soluble powder. Tips and tricks for the making of black cocao butter at home would be most welcome...
       
      ptw1953
    • By La Vie Chocolat
      Beautiful day chocolate friends.
       
      I'm brand new here on the forum. Almost two years ago, I started making pralines in the Czech Republic. There are not many manufacturers and not at all those who work by hand. I have a big problem with cleaning the molds. I like to work cleanly, so I absolutely clean and polish alcohol before each batch of molds. I use my little helper for this - an accumulation screwdriver with an extension, which I made from a wine cork - it works perfectly. I apply clean make-up tampons and possibly alcohol to it.

      But now I have a lot of molds and manual cleaning is crazy. I bought an older dishwasher in a restaurant and I can't find a product (soap, detergent) that would well remove the remnants of chocolate from the sides of the molds and at the same time, of course, would not destroy the molds? Does anyone have any type or advice for any other cleaning machine, please?
       
      I bought a special product "Brillform", which is intended for rinsing already washed molds - it should ensure shine without polishing each tube, but first I have to get the chocolate away.
       
       Here is a link to my website and instagram, you can look at my work and I will be very happy and grateful for any advice and warnings on what I could improve, because there is no professional in the Czech Republic focused on pralines, so there is no one to learn from I teach myself by rehearsing and from great books, videos and watching the world's chocolatiers.
       
      Thank you again
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...