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Nov 15, 2006 05:16 AM

Cocoa, Dutch processed?

What is it? Where can I get the best? my supermarket sells something called drostes but it doesn't seem too exciting.

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  1. It doesn't seem too exciting to you because it is cocoa powder. Powder is not an exciting way to have your chocolate, I agree, but it makes for good baking and an easy, convenient, and cheap way to have rich hot chocolate to drink. Though it will never match that made from solid chocolate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      I agree... to an extent. There are exceptions. The best brand of cocoa is far better tasting than the worst brand of solid chocolate. Try tasting Valrhona cocoa next to a bar of Baker's brand unsweetened chocolate. There's no comparison.

    2. Here in Canada, I grew up with Fry's Cocoa (as in Cadbury-Fry), from England. I think it was pretty much the only cocoa available here. I loved it then, when my grandmother made me hot milk with cocoa, and it's still my brand of choice for baking and drinking.

      1. Droste's is usually used in baking. It differs from Hershey's, which is the other powder that you probably saw in the supermarket. Both are OK for chocolate drinks. Neither is sexy on its own.
        Hershey's is slightly acidic while Droste is neutral or alkaline. Remember all your high school chemistry now?
        Baking depends on chemical reactions so it can make a difference in which one you use. Sometime the difference is big, sometimes not.
        Pays to read recipes carefully.

        1. "Dutched" chocolate is made from cocoa beans that have been treated with alkali to reduce the acidity and especially the bitterness. Dutched cocoa is reputed to have a smoother, richer flavor. Natural chocolate has a slightly more bitter, sometimes more 'winey' flavor.

          Cook's Illustrated has said several times that dutched chocolate has a darker color and more intense chocolate flavor.
          My experience has been exactly the opposite, the dutched cocoas available to me have been pale in color and milder in flavor compared to natural, untreated chocolate.

          Personally, I prefer untreated chocolate, I find it more 'chocolatey' and complex, but I'll not complain if served either kind.

          4 Replies
          1. re: PDXpat

            Thank you for your reply. Now I understand the difference. I agree that the untreated cocoa is much richer. However, the recipe I am using for a cake calls for dutched cocoa and I'm wondering if it will make a difference, good or bad if I use untreated cocoa?

            1. re: ron

              Yes, it will make big a difference--especially if you are using baking soda or baking powder in your recipe because they affect the acidity differently and so do the differently ph-ed cocoas. I am going crazy trying to bake a chocolate cake right now because of this exact problem. I could only find HALF-dutched cocoa when my recipe uses full dutched. The company is for my particular cocoa is SACO and they have some nice info on their website about this exact situation.

            2. re: PDXpat

              thank you so much for your informative answer. and to the OP, for raising the question, which has been circulating around our house for the past week.

              i've been making hot chocolate with penzey's dutched cocoa and it is smooth, rich, and lovely. my SO maintains that there's no difference (and dared to insinuate that i like it more because i think i should. the nerve!) so i'm hoping to do a blind taste test this weekend.

              1. re: PDXpat

                I agree completely. I grew up on Hershey's and dutched cocoa tastes anemic to me. I'd also add that cocoa and chocolate are two different experiences altogether. Cocoa is delicious on its own and should be judged and appreciated on its own merits, not as chocolate's poor relation.

              2. Penzeys Spices online has a lovely dutched cocoa that is very rich.

                1 Reply