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Dutch process chocolate

Dutch process chocolate

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Dutch process chocolate, or Dutched chocolate, is chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

 that has been treated with an alkali
In chemistry, an alkali is a basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal element. Some authors also define an alkali as a base that dissolves in water. A solution of a soluble base has a pH greater than 7. The adjective alkaline is commonly used in English as a synonym for base,...

zing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to "natural cocoa" extracted with the Broma process
Broma process
The Broma process is a method used to remove cocoa butter from cocoa mass, leaving cocoa solids . In about 1865 someone at the Domingo Ghirardelli factory discovered that by hanging a bag of cocoa mass in a warm room, the cocoa butter would drip off, leaving behind a residue that can then be...

. It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream
Ice cream
Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

, hot cocoa, and baking.

The Dutch process was developed in the early 19th century by Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten
Coenraad Johannes van Houten
Coenraad Johannes van Houten was a Dutch chemist and chocolate maker known for the treatment of cocoa mass with alkaline salts to remove the bitter taste and make cocoa solids more water-soluble; the resulting product is still called "Dutch process" chocolate...

, whose father Casparus is responsible for the development of the method of removing fat
Cocoa butter
Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is a pale-yellow, pure edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It is used to make chocolate, biscuits, and baked goods, as well as some pharmaceuticals, ointments, and toiletries...

 from cacao beans by hydraulic press
Hydraulic press
A hydraulic is a machine using a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force. It uses the hydraulic equivalenta mechanical lever, and was also known as a Bramah press after the inventor, Joseph Bramah, of England. He invented and was issued a patent on this press in 1795...

 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 up until that point.

Because Dutch process cocoa has a neutral pH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

, and is not acidic like regular cocoa, it cannot be used in recipes that use baking soda as the leavening agent and which rely solely on the acidity of the cocoa to activate it; it can instead be used in recipes that use baking powder
Baking powder
Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods such as muffins, cakes, scones and American-style biscuits. Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in...

 for leavening.

The Dutch process:
  • Lowers acid
    An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

  • Increases solubility;
  • Enhances color;
  • Smooths flavor.

Compared to other processes, Dutch process chocolate contains lower amounts of flavonols
Flavonols are a class of flavonoids that have the 3-hydroxyflavone backbone . Their diversity stems from the different positions the phenolic -OH groups. They are distinct from flavanols , another class of flavonoids.Flavonols are present in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables...

 (antioxidants). The effect this has on health is disputed. Professor Dr. Irmgard Bitsch of the Institut für Ernährungswissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-University
University of Giessen
The University of Giessen is officially called the Justus Liebig University Giessen after its most famous faculty member, Justus von Liebig, the founder of modern agricultural chemistry and inventor of artificial fertiliser.-History:The University of Gießen is among the oldest institutions of...

 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 even light dutching, and 90% were destroyed by heavy dutching. However, natural cocoa has such high levels of antioxidants that even a 60% reduction leaves it high on the list of antioxidant-rich foods. Dutch chocolate is milder and smoother compared to regular chocolate while "natural" chocolate is more bitter.