This morning I was shopping for some bulk cocoa powder online and I was thinking that some of you just may not know the difference between natural and Dutch process cocoa powder. I didn't think that it would be a very good idea for you to go on living without this knowledge for one more day, hour, minute even. So, I did a little research (gotta love Wikipedia!) to bring you Cocoa Powder 101 - Natural Vs. Dutch Process. You're welcome. :)
Cocoa solids are the low-fat component of chocolate. When sold as an end product, it may also be called cocoa powder, cocoa, and cacao. In contrast, the fatty component of chocolate is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is 50% to 57% of the weight of cocoa beans and gives chocolate its characteristic melting properties. Cocoa liquor is the melted combination of cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Cocoa solids are obtained by extraction from the cocoa bean.
Dutch process chocolate or Dutched chocolate, is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to "natural cocoa" extracted with the Broma process. It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa and baking.
The Dutch process was developed in the early 19th century by Dutch chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten, whose father Casparus is responsible for the development of the method of removing fat from cocoa beans by hydrolic press around 1828, forming the basis for cocoa powder. These developments greatly expanded the use of chocolate, which had been mostly used as a beverage in Europe until that time.
Because Dutch process cocoa has a neutral pH and is not acidic like natural cocoa, it cannot be used in recipes that use baking soda as the leavening agent, which relies on the acidity of the cocoa to activate it. Rather, Dutch process cocoa can be used in recipes that use baking powder (instead of baking soda) for leavening.
Well folks, there you have it. I hope this information was absolutely as mind boggling, earth shattering and life changing for you as it was for me!
Cheers to you!