One of the most confusing topics in baking (other than how to use baking powder and baking soda) is: Is Dutch Process Cocoa Powder Better than Natural Cocoa Powder?
Ok, let’s try to make some easy sense of what cocoa powder is, and what it does in your recipe.
For obvious reasons people tend to think that Dutch Process Cocoa powder should be used in every single recipe calling for cocoa powder.
After all it is more expensive so it must be better right?
While Dutch Process Cocoa Powder may seem to have all of the qualities you have been searching for when it comes to deep, dark chocolate in a recipe.
Using this cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for Natural unprocessed cocoa can actually turn your tall, dark and handsome into a dull, lifeless stranger!
Let’s first take a look at what makes one different from the other and why it is important to understand a little bit of science here when choosing which one is best for your recipe.
**Quick tip: Natural unprocessed Cocoa Powder works in ALL recipes, Dutch Process is not so forgiving!
If the recipe has baking SODA in it- you will use Natural Cocoa Powder. If the recipe has baking POWDER in it you will use Dutch Process (or of course- Natural)
If the recipe has both baking soda and baking powder (with baking powder being the more dominant quantity) is is also fine to use either cocoa powder that you prefer.
Keep reading for why!
How Cocoa Powder is Made:
There are two ways cocoa powder is processed after the initial pressing of the chocolate liquor which removes ¾ of it’s natural cocoa butter.
Cocoa Powder is unsweetened and tastes very bitter, but gives a deep chocolate flavor which makes it great for recipes like brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes.
Dutch Process (or Alkalized)cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, it is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids.
Because it is neutral it DOES NOT react with baking soda therefore it is necessary to use it in recipes calling for baking powder as the leavening agent.
And remember baking powder is a combination of baking soda and an acid which when a liquid is present it starts the reaction.
(Some recipes may still include baking soda in cocoa powder recipes, it just is not in the quantities relied upon for the main leavening)
Natural Cocoa Powder is made from cocoa beans that are simply roasted, then pulverized into a fine powder.
Because natural cocoa powder has not had its acidity tempered it is used in recipes calling for baking soda which will then cause a reaction in your recipe and create leavening of your baked goods.
(Again: natural cocoa can be used in recipes with baking powder as well- so basically NATURAL COCOA POWDER CAN BE USED INTERCHANGEABLY IN RECIPES NO MATTER WHAT THE LEAVENER)
If you want to use Dutch Process Cocoa Powder in a recipe that calls for baking soda:
~ADD 2 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER FOR EVERY 1 TEASPOON OF BAKING SODA THAT IS LISTED IN THE RECIPE~
omit the baking soda and salt in the recipe
1 cup = 92 grams
Natural or Nonalkalized Cocoa:
1 cup = 82 grams