chocolate process

Dutch Processed

Sometimes people ask me “What is Dutch Process Chocolate?” Basically, this is chocolate that has been treated with an alkali. The process results in enhanced color, lower acidity, better solubility, and less flavor.

Back in the 1820’s a Dutch chemist by the name of Van Houten developed the process by which one can darken chocolate as well as reduce its bitterness. Unfortunately this process also reduces the chocolate flavor.

Even so there is a perceived benefit to the consumer. The darker chocolate color is generally thought of as being of higher quality.  (It’s best to read a label because “dark chocolate” is not Dutched, rather dutched chocolate is darker than its non-Dutched counterpart.)

The darkest, chemically altered cocoa is called black cocoa. And, it’s the ingredient in the top and bottom parts of Oreo cookies.

While we might like the look of the darker chocolate, the Dutch process greatly reduces the antioxidant benefits of chocolate.  So if you are looking for healthy chocolates avoid Dutch process.

You can learn more chocolate facts at Chocolate University Online.

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Posted by Primal Chocolate Therapist - January 20, 2009 at 8:24 am

Categories: chocolate articles, chocolate nutrition, chocolate process   Tags: , ,

From the Bean to the Bar

There is much more to making fine chocolate than picking a cacao bean and cooking it. Going from tree to chocolate bar takes a special touch to achieve the perfection you’re looking for.

Bean selection is the first step in making chocolate. If the bean chosen isn’t of high quality, the end result will be a less than desirable chocolate.  Therefore, many fine chocolate makers take time to personally select the best beans.

Once a chocolatier selects the beans they are roasted.  The roasting process has a great impact on the finished flavor.  After roasting, the beans are put into a grinding process.  The pulverized mass is called chocolate liquor and is turned into the actual chocolate.

To create the final chocolate bar from chocolate liquor, sugar and other ingredients are added to the liquor.  Then another grinding process called refining is begun.  Refining crushes everything and helps ensure that that the chocolate bar doesn’t have a grainy feeling in your mouth.  Following the refining process, the mix is cooked and stirred in a process called conching.  This step can take place over a few hours or days.  It is at this point that chocolate begins to take on the flavor that most chocoholics love.

After conching, cocoa butter can be added to change the flow.  Then the chocolate can be put into its final form, liquid or solid.  If the final product is in solid form it must be tempered.  Then it is packaged and shipped.  If it took the form of a chocolate bar, now it’s finally ready for you to purchase and eat.  Yum.

For a fun and tasty chocolate education visit Chocolate University Online.

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Posted by Primal Chocolate Therapist - December 19, 2008 at 8:30 am

Categories: chocolate articles, chocolate process   Tags: , , , , , , ,