lizziebennet (lizziebennet) wrote,

Dumb questions

Can someone tell me in what circumstances it makes a difference whether I used dutch-processed or regular processed cocoa powder? I can also never remember which is which, but that I can look up. If I'm going to buy one for general use, do I want one or the other specifically?
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for general use, it depends on your general use. Dutch process is alkaline and most recipes using it require baking soda as well. I might have the alkalinity reversed, despite my education, my brain is fried from toddler.

Dutch process makes a better cocoa IMO. Regular cocoa is more widely used in baking.

I always get the alkalinity mixed up. I want cocoa powder for baking—I am almost out, so I need to buy some more. The cocoa powder I had was in a container that said “dutch processed” but I’m pretty sure I added bulk cocoa powder to that at some point, so I don’t know anymore. So if I get regular, it should be okay for most baking? Lots of stuff has baking soda in it too, does that mean I could used dutch process there?
Regular should be fine for things like chocolate cake and cookies and brownies. I do a lot of baking and Dutch process is the one I don't necessarily have on hand. and need to buy when I'm baking something that specifically calls for it.

Dutch processing removes some compound (I'm blanking on which one) which has health benefits. So regular cocoa is healthier.
Ah that makes sense. And is good to know. I bought regular cocoa and have made dough for chocolate sugar cookies. :)
Attributes of dutch-processed cocoa in opposition to regular:
1. Dutch-processed cocoa is redder
2. Dutch-processed cocoa is generally more powdery/finer
3. Dutch-processed cocoa has been alkalized, so it is less acidic than regular cocoa (it's still slightly acidic, I think, however)

So, if you're using dutch-processed cocoa instead of regular cocoa in a recipe, you'll want to adjust quantities of baking soda and baking powder slightly (increase baking powder and decrease baking soda) or add a bit of acid (use part buttermilk instead of regular milk or brown sugar instead of white sugar, for instance). Dutch-processed cocoa is definitely the best kind for red velvet cake, but I generally think that red velvet cake is kind of scary (any cake where some recipes call for a full bottle of food coloring is not my cup of tea).

I've had reasonable success in non-finicky recipes just swapping the two with no problems (for instance, the chocolate sugar cookies shouldn't care at all). For very particular and very important cakes (or for anything where a specific level of rise is required, like some kind of bundt cakes), you may want to go for the specific kind listed, though. Also possibly worth noting: I've found more of a flavor difference between different brands of cocoa powder than between dutch-processed vs. not.

I generally get the regular cocoa, as I like it better and don't need it neutralized (I've never had regular cocoa curdle milk, for instance - I don't quite understand why its acidity needs to be reduced - I like zing), but go for whatever floats your boat and just pay a bit of attention to the baking soda levels in things. :-)
That makes sense. I am planning to make chocolate sugar cookies today. :) And I bought regular (Ghiradelli!) cocoa--it was on sale!

Thanks for all the information!

(Interesting note, I saw 72% cocoa Ghiradelli baking chips at the store. However, they were very expensive, and I have 60% Ghiradelli chips, so I didn't buy them).
Mmm. Chocolate sugar cookies with Ghirardelli! Hooray!

Just a note, as I made them in tiny butterflies and hearts sandwiched with ganache for tea-party use on Saturday, they're actually better with a contrasting filling than with ganache (I know, something that isn't really improved by ganache? Gasp!). Although one can sandwich them with ganache and then dip them in something else, and that is good, I think I would tend to fill them with either jam or a creamy filling or something of that ilk (orange curd would be fantastic, I think, and they're also very good with whipped cream). Or ice cream sandwiches, of course, although the seasonality is perhaps past on that one. But a dark chocolate ganache just doesn't seem to add much interest to them, which I found very weird.

Anyway, how did they turn out? And how long did you bake them? (I forgot to time mine again)