Yes, chocolate is delicious and functional just as it is. But there are some very specific reasons for creating alkalized cocoa.
This technique has been around since the 19th century. Cocoa products are treated with a food grade alkali solution. This raises the pH, which has other results.
What does alkalized cocoa do?
- Reduces the acidity of natural cocoa (pH is raised from 5.2–5.6 to almost neutral values at 6.8–7.5)
- Reduces sourness
- Produces intense flavors
- Creates darker colors
- Increases solubility and dispersibility of cocoa in water (key in chocolate beverages)
This process can be done to whole beans, nibs, liquor or powder. However, it’s most common at the nibs stage.
How does it fit into a cake formula?
This cocoa has been traditionally used in the production of premium Devil’s Food Cakes. Alkalized or Dutched cocoa has different baking characteristics and functionality. As a general rule in baking applications the higher the degree of cocoa alkalization, the end product has a:
- More bitter or soapy the taste
- Darker the crust and crumb color
- Greater volume