Cocoa Powder - Hersheys/Nestle/G&B/Ghiradelli
Posted: 06 November 2010 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have always bought G&B, and it’s great, but I have to go to a different store to get it.

My “regular” groc has Nestle Toll House, Hersheys, Hersheys Special Dark and Ghiradelli.

Any thoughts on these as to flavor? 
Does anyone know how much cocoa butter they contain?  The nutritional information on the side uses a ridiculously low quantity, so I don’t feel it’s really reliable.

Or should I just stick with G&B?

Many thanks!!!

—ak

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Posted: 07 November 2010 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I use G & B and love it.  I believe Rose recommended 2 cocoa powders in RHC.  Her favorite is G & B and second is Droste.

Personally, I prefer to use what Rose recommends

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Posted: 08 November 2010 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I haven’t seen or used the Nestle brand, but of the others you mention, only the Hershey’s Special Dark is dutched.  Actually, I think it’s partially dutched.  But since nearly all of Rose’s recipes call for dutched, if you need to substitute that one might be appropriate.  It isn’t nearly as good a flavor as the G&B, which tastes like a good quality chocolate bar, but might work in a pinch.  I believe it is the low-fat variety, so you might need to correct for that, depending on what you’re making. 

I dunno- partially dutched, lower quality flavor, and need to mess with cocoa butter adjustments- might be eaiser to just go get the Green & Black’s.  smile

One cake that does seem to tolerate undutched or low-fat cocoas fairly well is the Genoise au Chocolate.  You might just want to increase the syrup by a tablespoon or two to account for the drier cocoa.

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Posted: 08 November 2010 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, all!!  I’ll hang with G&B, for sure!!

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Posted: 09 November 2010 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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How does one tell if a cocoa is dutched or not? None of the ones I see in the grocery store specify that.

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Posted: 09 November 2010 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The ingredients list “cocoa processed with alkalai”, as opposed to just “cocoa”, or “natural cocoa”.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Julie..Thanks so much for the clarification. Could that be the reason that my Rose recipe chocolate cakes always seem dry to me? Does it make a difference in that way? If so, is there anything I can do to use up the Hershey’s cocoa that I bought or should I just replace immediately?

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Posted: 10 November 2010 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Could that be the reason that my Rose recipe chocolate cakes always seem dry to me?

Julie will know if the chocolate could affect it—and maybe the lower fat contents will do that—but another thing to watch out for is that when you mix your cocoa with hot water (if it’s called for in your recipe) that you cover it tightly so you don’t lose water to evaporation.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Oh my, the dry chocolate cake thing…  There are a couple of threads on this, but basically, first check that you’re weighing everything and covering the cocoa/hot water mixture and not overbaking.  If you’re still getting dry chocolate cake, the problem could be a low-fat cocoa, such as Hershey’s Special Dark or Equal Exchange (two dutched cocoas that are low in cocoa butter). 

Rose recommends dutched cocoas, which are frequently, but not always, full-fat cocoas.  When cocoa powder is made, the less expensive types generally have some of the naturally ocurring cocoa butter removed, while the higher-priced, dutched cocoas retain their cocoa butter.  I find this makes a big difference in cakes, with the low-fat cocoas leading to dryness, imbalance of flavor, and in the case of sponge cakes, lower height/ fallen cakes. 

One way you can tell this is happening is if you are carefully weighing both the cocoa and boiling water but still finding that the resulting paste is too thick to whisk- more like heavy toothpaste than soft buttercream.  Another way to tell is by emailing the company to get the (naturally ocurring) fat content per 100g.  Unfortunately, the serving size on nutritional labels is generally too small to tell if the cocoa is low-fat due to rounding errors.  Full-fat cocoas are about 20-25% fat by weight, while low-fat ones hover around 10%.

My favorite fix, if buying a different cocoa isn’t an option, is to substitute a little unsweetened chocolate, which is about 50% cocoa butter, to correct the fat content.  I find that 75% cocoa and 25% unsweetened chocolate by weight usually works well (that is, if a recipe calls for 100g of cocoa powder, use 75g low fat cocoa and 25g unsweetened chocolate).  The unsweetened chocolate needs to be chopped finely and melted in the boiling water along with the cocoa powder.

Dutched is preferable over natural because of its darker color and richer, less bitter flavor, but I don’t think dutching has much influence on whether it’s a dry cake.

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Posted: 11 November 2010 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks Anne and Julie. I weighed everything accurately but did not cover the bowl when the chocolate was cooling. I probably lost some due to evaporation so next time I’ll make sure to do that. I’ll try the recipe again adding in some unsweetened chocolate. That’s a great tip. The water won’t cause the chocolate to seize?

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Posted: 11 November 2010 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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gpears - 11 November 2010 01:36 PM

The water won’t cause the chocolate to seize?

No, as long as there’s enough water it won’t seize.  Also, be sure to weigh the water after boiling, not before.

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