It is important to know the different types of baking chocolate. Commonly used classifications are cocoa powder, baking chocolate, bittersweet, dark, milk and white. Storing all types of baking chocolate properly is very important. See these great tips below.
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Cocoa powder is made from the pure chocolate liquor after most of the cocoa butter has been extracted. It is the lowest fat form of chocolate and can have a flavor ranging from mild to quite strong. Adding an alkali produces Dutch process cocoa powder that neutralizes chocolate’s natural acidity. This produces a milder, mellow flavor and darker, richer color that is perfect for delicious baked goods.
Also known as bitter chocolate, baking chocolate contains no sugar but may be flavored with vanilla. It is commonly available in supermarkets as a bar of one-ounce chocolate squares. It is used in dessert recipes that also call for sugar.
Consumer Reports on Health (June 2010) advises for lower calories and saturated fat use cocoa powder (12 calories, 0.4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon) instead of baking chocolate (73 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat per half-square).
Cocoa powder has less sugar, calories, and fat but still has a deep dark-chocolate flavor. Use it in chocolate soufflés, cakes, and meringues. Cocoa made by the Dutch process (such as Droste) has a very rich, smooth flavor.
Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate
This chocolate has a strong chocolate flavor. Bittersweet chocolate, which is primarily used for baking, has a cocoa content of 50 percent or more. It is the darkest eating chocolate with the highest percentage of chocolate liquor that contains cocoa butter to make it melt easily. Bittersweet chocolate is a blend of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and a minimal amount of sugar, and usually vanilla and lecithin. If desired, bittersweet chocolate can be substituted for dark or milk chocolate with little difference noted. Bittersweet chocolate is used in all sorts of chocolate confections and desserts.
Sweet or Dark Chocolate
This is a general term for chocolate that contains 15-35 percent chocolate liquor and less than 12 percent milk solids, as well as sweeteners and cocoa butter.
This is the most common form of eating chocolate, containing at least 12 percent milk solids and 10-15 percent chocolate liquor. The low level of liquor and high level of dairy ingredients results in a mellow chocolate flavor.
White chocolate really isn't chocolate at all. White chocolate contains cocoa butter but no other chocolate solids. It contains a blend of cocoa butter, milk, sugar and flavorings.
We have covered the basic types of baking chocolate which will help you choose what you need. Most recipes distinguish this but some are omitted and cause confusion but you are now prepared.
Store chocolate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, in a cool, dry, airy place, preferably at a constant temperature.
Properly stored bitter or semisweet chocolate will keep for over a year. Milk and white chocolate should not be kept for more than six months. Although the latter may taste fine, it does not melt well after long storage.
Stored at warm temperatures, chocolate will develop a “bloom” of surface streaks and blotches; at damp, cold temperatures, a gray-white film may form. These changes will not greatly affect the flavor and texture of the chocolate and it can still be used for cooking and baking.
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