Dutch Cocoa, natural cocoa and cacao – what’s the difference?

Cocoa powders 600w crop jpgDutch Cocoa, Natural Cocoa and Cacao – what’s the difference?

Have you noticed how there’s different types of Cocoa powders on the market and then there’s Cacao powder? Some recipes will call for natural (regular) cocoa powder, others will say Dutch cocoa and nowadays there’s lots of recipes calling for cacao powder.

All these types of powders come from the cacao bean, but what happens to them in the process of making the powder is different.


Equagold Dutch cocoaDutch Cocoa Powder

The name Dutch refers to a couple of things. Firstly it describes the process of making the cocoa powder. The raw cocoa is roasted, ground up and then treated with an alkali to neutralise it’s acidity. What does this achieve? It darkens its colour and makes the cocoa flavour smoother and mellower.

The Dutch process can sometimes be referred to as Dutched or European as the process was invented by Dutchman, Coenraad Johannes van Houten, in 1828. He came from a family of chocolate makers and it was his father Casparus who developed the method of removing fat from cacao beans, thus developing the first of the cocoa powders, which could be used in baking.

Natural (Regular) Cocoa Powder

The cacao bean is also roasted and grounded and it creates an intense, bitter and rich flavoured chocolate powder. It is also quite acidic. That’s why in many recipes you use baking soda which is alkaline to neutralise the cocoa acidity.

Dutch cocoa and natural cocoa powders aren’t necessarily interchangeable because the recipes have been designed with leavening agents that are balanced against the pH of the cocoa.

So when using Natural Cocoa use baking soda and when using Dutch Cocoa use baking powder.

But most people agree that if a recipe using Natural Cocoa powder asks for less than 3/4 cup (75g) you can interchange Dutch Cocoa powder for Natural Cocoa powder. However you shouldn’t do the reverse.

Cacao Powder

Cacao powder also comes from the cacao bean, but this time the bean is not roasted and the powder is extract by cold pressing. Its specifically a raw, unsweetened powder. All of the cocoa butter has been removed, whereas sometimes a little cocoa butter is still present in Cocoa which can enhance its flavour subtly.

In our pantry we’ve been using the Equagold Dutch Cocoa powder because it’s sugar free and gives our cooking a delicious dark chocolate taste.

Equagold Dutch Cocoa powder, Cocoa nibs, Vanilla extract and Vanilla powder are part the prizes in our baking competition. Head over to >> http://bit.ly/WIN_TSBU and enter a recipe or photo using dextrose or rice malt syrup to be in the running to win one of our prize packs containing these great products from Equagold. But be quick entries close on Sunday August 17, 2014 at 9am.


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