Dutch process chocolate
|Alternative names||Dutched chocolate|
|Place of origin||Netherlands|
|Created by||Coenraad Johannes van Houten|
|Main ingredients||Chocolate, alkalizing agent|
Dutch process chocolate or Dutched chocolate is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to "natural cocoa" extracted with the Broma process. It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa, and baking.
The Dutch process was developed in the early 19th century by Dutch chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten, whose father Casparus was responsible for the development of the method of removing fat from cacao beans by hydraulic press around 1828, forming the basis for cocoa powder. These developments greatly expanded the use of chocolate, which had been mostly used as a beverage in Europe until that time.
Taste and cooking properties
Dutch processed cocoa has a neutral pH, and is not acidic like natural cocoa, so in recipes that use baking soda as the leavening agent—which relies on the acidity of the cocoa to activate it—buttermilk, yoghurt or sour milk should be substituted for the milk in the recipe, or a dash of cream of tartar can be used to provide some acidity in the batter. There is no need to add acidity when Dutch process cocoa is used in recipes that use baking powder instead of soda (UK: "bicarb") for leavening.
The Dutch process:
- Lowers acidity
- Increases solubility
- Changes color
- Smoothes flavor
Reduction of antioxidants and flavonols
Compared to other processes, Dutch process chocolate contains lower amounts of flavonols (antioxidants). The effect this has on nutritional value is disputed. Professor Irmgard Bitsch of the Institut für Ernährungswissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen claims that the reduction of antioxidants due to the process is not significant and enough polyphenols and procyanids remain in the cocoa. One study determined that 60% of natural cocoa's original antioxidants were destroyed by light dutching and 90% were destroyed by heavy dutching. A new study found "...protection against synaptic deficits by Lavado cocoa extract, but not Dutched cocoa extract... since much of the polyphenol content is lost by the high alkalinity in the Dutching process." However, natural cocoa has such high levels of antioxidants that even a 60% reduction leaves it high on the list of antioxidant-rich foods.
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