In the mid-nineteenth century, a Dutch chocolate manufacturer came up with a process by which he could better control and standardize the color and flavor of cocoa. The process, which involves washing the cocoa (before or after grinding) in an alkaline solution, became known as Dutch-processing.
The resulting cocoa is consistently darker in color, mellower in flavor, and less acidic than the natural (non-alkalized) powder. In cakes and brownies, the Dutch-processed cocoas tend to produce moister and deeper colored baked goods—Advantages that makes it a favorite of many pastry chefs.
2-1/4 oz. = 3/4 cup
If you have only natural cocoa powder, know that it can often be used interchangeably in most recipes calling for calling for 3/4 cup or more of Dutch, though the flavor will differ. Dutch-process cocoa should not be subbed for natural in recipes that call for baking soda, however. Because baking soda is also alkaline, the combination can cause a soapy aft ertaste and may affect texture.
Recently, we’ve had a tough time fi nding pure Dutch-process cocoa in our supermarket. (Hershey’s used to sell a pure Dutch-process cocoa but switched to a mix of natural and Dutch that they call Special Dark.) On top of the scarcity, it’s oft en not easy to tell by the package if a cocoa is Dutch process. Here’s what to look for.
If the cocoa was made in Europe, it’s likely Dutch process even if it doesn’t say so on the label. Valrhona, Callebaut, and the Dutch brands Droste and Bensdorp are all Dutch process (also known as European style).
If a domestic cocoa says it’s been processed with alkali, either on the front label or in the ingredient list, it’s Dutch process. Dutch-process cocoas vary slightly in color and intensity of fl avor by brand, so you may want to try different ones to see which you like best.
Stored in a cool, dry place, cocoa powder will keep almost indefinitely.