Post Number 2 of 2: The details . . . What is Dutched cocoa powder and why does it matter?

We don’t Dutch the cocoa powder we use in our hot chocolate. Dutch processing, also known as alkalization is an all-too-common manufacturing process first developed by the Dutch over a century ago. What problems were the Dutch trying to address with this new process and what exactly is the alkalization process?

The answer is to the former question is likely two-fold: Solubility Issues and Flavor Perception.

Pure cocoa powder is not very soluble. Remember as a kid, when you spooned cocoa powder into a glass of cold milk hoping to make chocolate milk and the cocoa powder just floated on the surface of the milk, no matter how hard you stirred? This is a solubility situation. When we talk about solubility we are describing how easily cocoa dissolves in a liquid such as milk. Temperature affects solubility. A hot cocoa drink mix will dissolve more easily when mixed in warm milk vs. cold milk.

The challenge is that natural cocoa powder provides the most authentic chocolate flavor for making hot cocoa, but it is not very soluble and seems to “fight” going into solution easily.

As for the latter question, the Dutch or alkalization process is an attempt to reconcile these two oppositional attributes of cocoa powder. The Dutching process is an artificial change of the pH of the cocoa powder accomplished by one of several methods that in essence bathe either the cocoa powder, cocoa nibs or cocoa liquor in an alkaline solution. Dutching also known as alkalization renders the cocoa powder more basic (i.e., less acidic) with the result that the pH level is increased (most commonly by about 2-4 points) on the pH scale. This makes the flavor of the cocoa powder less bitter, less acidic and milder in flavor as compared to non-Dutched or all-natural cocoa powder.

Does alkalization actually work?

It was thought that the Dutching process rendered the cocoa powder a bit more soluble, but this has been disproved. According to the authoritative and highly technical book “Chocolate Production and Use” by Cook and Muersing, two of the most preeminent chocolate production scientists around:

“Alkalization does not result in an increase in solubility, as once was thought. Dispersibility may be slightly improved if some soaps are formed by the reaction of the alkali with traces of free fatty acids; but the resulting flavor defect is more serious than the slight advantage gained. . . “

So if you inadvertently form soap during the alkalization process, you might slightly improve dispersibility, but who wants to eat soap?

And perhaps the most interesting after-effect of the alkalization is that it slightly darkens the color of the cocoa powder so consumers perceive the cocoa is more intense in flavor — when in point of fact, the flavor is less piquant due to the lowering of the pH level. Alkalization fools the eye into believing alkalized cocoa is richer in flavor because the color is darker but it won’t fool the most discerning palates.

From the very start, I decided I wanted a true and authentic cocoa flavor profile and to my mind, the alkalization process artificially changed the flavor of natural cocoa powder. So you may need to stir Omanhene a bit more vigorously (though using warm milk goes a long, long way to improving the solubility) but I am certain you will find the flavor superior.

The following syrup recipe is a surefire way to make hot chocolate if solubility remains an issue for you. Using a syrup is quick and easy; many of our commercial customers use this exact recipe to allow for speedy preparation by their baristas.

Hot Cocoa Mix: Syrup Prepartion
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Turn Omanhene Hot Cocoa Mix into a syrup for easy preparation in a home or commercial setting.
Ingredients
  • 3 Parts Omanhene Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1 Part Warm Water
Instructions
  1. Place 3 parts Omanhene Hot Cocoa Mix in bowl.
  2. Add 1 part warm water.
  3. Stir vigorously for about 30 seconds until a syrup is formed,
  4. Place syrup in a squeeze bottle.
  5. Squirt approximately 2 tablespoons syrup in 8 oz. of warm milk. Add more to taste, if you wish.
  6. Stir vigorously until syrup is evenly disbursed.
  7. Syrup may be stored in a squeeze bottle overnight in the refrigerator.
  8. Make only enough for a day or two.

 

Chocolate chip biscotti recipe

Omanhene Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Perfect with a morning cup of coffee. Ahhhhh!

Omanhene Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Cuisine: Dessert
 
Omanhene Chocolate Chip Biscotti Makes 50 to 60
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • ⅜ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅜ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ⅔ cup Omanhene 48% Dark Milk Chocolate, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs with sugars and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the flour just until combined. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. The consistency will be thick and sticky.
  5. Use a large spoon and scoop batter onto baking sheet, dividing it evenly into 3 long loaves. Loaves should be 2 ½ apart and use back of the spoon to even up the edges.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool loaves for 10 minutes on the pan.
  7. Carefully peel the loaves fro the parchment paper and remove them a cutting board.
  8. Use a sharp serrated knife to slice the loaves on the diagonal into ½ inch slices. Arrange the slices directly on an oven racks.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp and dry.

Omanhene Chiffon Cake

This is the companion recipe needed in order to complete the Omanhene Chocolate Orange Pôts de Crème.  A versatile, delicious chiffon cake recipe — every chef should have one.

 

Omanhene Chiffon Cake
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Recipe type: Dessert
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Serves: 12
 
This is the companion recipe to the Omanhene .
Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup Omanhene Natural Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar (reserve for topping)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a baking sheet pan with Pam and then line baking sheet with parchment paper -- the paper will stick to the sprayed pan.
  3. Spray the top surface of the parchment paper.
  4. Using a standing electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, very lightly whip the egg yolks, water and vegetable oil.
  5. Sift all dry ingredients together and slowly add to the egg/oil mixture, mix for 5 minutes.
  6. Gradually add the egg whites and sugar.
  7. Spread the batter evenly over the prepared baking sheet, starting with the batter on one side and working your way down the sheet pan toward you. Lightly tap the underside of the sheet pan in order to distribute the batter.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool.
  10. Once cooled, sprinkle with ¾ cup sugar and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

 

Mocha souffle with rum and Omanhene chocolate

Omanhene Mocha Souffles With Rum

I love to serve souffles for dessert.  Not only are the flavors in this recipe especially intense — rum, coffee and cocoa — but the presentation is always greeted with smiles from my guests.  I think souffles have the reputation of being very difficult to execute; this recipe makes it easy.

Omanhene Mocha Souffles With Rum
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
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Serves: 6
 
Intense flavors -- rum, cocoa and coffee -- are the 21st century hallmarks of this traditional French dessert. Few desserts are as impressive as a souffle and this recipe is surprisingly easy to make.
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup Omanhene Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 6 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp strong black coffee
  • 2 tsp dark rum
  • 6 egg whites
  • Icing sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place baking sheet in oven to heat.
  3. Grease six 8 oz souffle dishes with melted butter.
  4. In a small bow, mix 1 tsp of the Omanhene Natural Cocoa Powder with 1 tsp of sugar. Tip this mixture into each of the souffle dishes in turn, rotating each dish so the inside is evenly coated.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the remaining cocoa powder with the coffee and rum.
  6. In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form peaks. Add the remaining sugar and whisk.
  7. Stir a spoonful of the egg white mixture into the cocoa, coffee and rum mixture. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared souffle dishes, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
  9. Place souffle dishes on the hot baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until well risen.
  10. Dust with icing sugar.
  11. Serve immediately.