Baking With Chocolate – The Basics
As a baking ingredient, chocolate has universal appeal. Its origin from the Theobroma cacao tree has endowed it the status of the “food of the gods.” There is a variety of chocolates to choose from ranging from dark to white and there is something there for chocolate lovers as well as avid bakers.
How Is Chocolate Produced?
The seed of the Cacao tree, when fermented, produces cocoa that we commonly use in cooking and baking. Every chocolate has four primary ingredients – cocoa solids, chocolate liquor, Cocoa butter and sugar and each of these has a special role to play. Chocolate liquor which is nothing but ground cocoa pods lends chocolate a distinctive flavour. Cocoa butter gives a smooth and glossy texture to the chocolate. Adding sugar balances the bitter taste of pure cocoa.
Here we look at the composition of various chocolates and their effect on the flavor of the baked goods they are used in.
#1 Which Bittersweet Chocolate Should You Choose?
Culinary art has extended its influence to the baking aisle as well. The three primary varieties of unsweetened, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate now have percentage tags bringing you back into the maths game which can sometimes make the choice a little difficult. However, if your recipe mentions that bittersweet chocolate has to be used (with no specific percentage mentioned), just opt for 60%.
#2 Higher Fat Content Should Be Your Choice For Cocoa Powder
Regardless of whether you are buying a natural or Dutch-processed chocolate powder, make sure you pick one with higher fat content. The standard fat content is about .5 to .1.5 gms/tbsp. (5 to 6 ounces). However, a higher the fat content within this range indicates a richer and more buttery cocoa powder. Look for a product with at least 1 gram of fat per tbsp.
#3 Use Cocoa Powder For Delectable Brownies With Crusty Crowns
No matter what shape and size of brownies you make, if you want them to have a crunchy and wafer-like crust on top, opt for a recipe that uses at least some high fat content cocoa powder that also has some sugar. The fat and sugar will help form an amazing brownie crust.
#4 Not Chocolate Chips – Use Bars
If a recipe calls for chocolate chips, you do not have a choice. But when there is no specific mention of which form of chocolate needs to be used, go in for a chocolate bar. Chips serve a specific purpose as they hold their shape in cookies. They do not get mixed into the batter and do not melt either.
#5 How To Melt Chocolate
Depending on the recipe, you need to melt chocolate appropriately. There are different ways to melt chocolate, but the most fool-proof method is the water bath. Use a skillet to simmer water. Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and place it on the skillet. This enables you to monitor the melting chocolate without allowing it to burn. Melting chocolate in a double boiler or microwave can cause it to get burnt and can ruin it.
Store It Right
Chocolates of all types should always be stored in a low moisture environment between 12°C and 18°C. The cocoa butter in chocolates tends to absorb strong odours such as garlic or cheese. Use air-tight containers to keep the flavour of your chocolate intact. Also, always handle chocolate with totally dry hands and place it on a dry work station to avoid contact with moisture which is a spoiler for chocolate.
At Ganache Patisserie, you will find fantastic breads and delicious croissants, layer cakes, cupcakes, pastries, sourdough and other baked goods for everyday consumption as well as for the holidays. We also have a wide variety of cupcakes for you to indulge in. Come; explore our scrumptious world of goodies.
Thanks for reading,
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