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Chocolate Lesson 101 – Cocoa Powder

Have you ever wonder what cocoa powder is and whether there are variations available? Fret no, I am here to give you an in-depth lesson! Cocoa powder is what is left over after cocoa butter has been extracted from cacao beans and there are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed.

Natural Cocoa Powder Natural cocoa powder is labelled simply as “cocoa” or “unsweetened cocoa powder”. Natural cocoa powder has not had its acid stripped away thus it is lighter in colour, acidic, bitter and has a very concentrated chocolate flavour. Natural cocoa powder is typically called for in recipes with baking soda since natural cocoa powder has all of its acid intact. Natural cocoa powder is an acid, and baking soda is a base, so the two react together to allow baked goods to rise properly.

Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder Dutch-process cocoa powder is also sometimes labelled as “treated with alkali” or “alkalized”. It is cocoa powder that has been washed in a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes its natural acidity. This results in a richer cocoa powder that is darker in colour and has a mellower, less sharp-tasting flavour. It also dissolves more easily into liquids than natural cocoa powder. Since Dutch-process cocoa powder has been stripped of its acids and neutralized, you will often find it in recipes calling for baking powder.

Are Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder interchangeable in a recipe? My best recommendation is no and follow a recipe as written! This would give you a better chance to succeed, especially if it’s the first time you are making the recipe. As pointed out, natural cocoa powder is acidic while Dutch process cocoa powder is alkalized, you might have to alter the leavening agents if you change the type of powder used.

Introducing our Pâtissier Artisan Cocoa Powder range:

Natural Cocoa Powder 10-12%

This low-fat Alkalised Cocoa Powder (10 - 12%) has a brownish tone and is suitable for delicious cocoa drinks or baking recipes.

Alkalised Cocoa Powder 22-24%

This high-fat, Alkalised Cocoa Powder (22 - 24%) has a warm chestnut colour and is suitable for dusting and coating.

I hope this post has been helpful. Please feel free to contact us at for more information.

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