What You Need to Know About Baking with Chocolate
Is there anyone who doesn’t love at least one type of chocolate? Surely not! Since ancient times, chocolate has lured bakers and cooks to include it in every meal imaginable, from breakfast to dessert.
You may have cooked and baked with chocolate before, but by knowing a few key facts, your resulting treats will improve immensely.
Give these tips a try next time you have a chocolate craving.
Choosing the Right Chocolate
There are a number of types of chocolate used in baking. Always use the type you’re your recipe calls for.
Cocoa is made when unsweetened chocolate is stream pressed. The resulting powder has a lot of flavor and not much fat. Cocoa quickly looses its flavor when exposed to the air, so it’s best to buy small containers of cocoa powder.
Cocoa butter is a vegetable fat made from the cacao plant.
Chocolate chips may be made from semi-sweet dark chocolate or milk chocolate. Read the packaging carefully!
Chocolate liquor is made by grinding roasted cocoa beans.
Milk chocolate is rarely used in baking. It is chocolate with condensed or dry milk added to it.
Dark chocolate has various levels of sugar added to it, resulting in bittersweet (the least amount of added sugar), semi-sweet (some sugar added), or sweet (the most sugar added).
Semi-sweet chocolate is sugar and vanilla mixed with chocolate liquor.
Unsweetened chocolate, which also sometimes called baking chocolate, is the solid form of chocolate liquor.
White chocolate has about 50% cocoa butter, and lots of sugar, milk, and vanilla.
For the Best Chocolate, Read the Label
For better results in your baking and cooking, use the highest quality chocolate you can afford. The good news is, not all fine quality chocolate is expensive. How can you know if the chocolate is worth your time and trouble?
Check the label. If the ingredients list names any fat but cocoa butter, don’t use it.
How to Melt Chocolate
Chocolate is frequently melted before being used in a recipe. Although it’s not difficult to melt chocolate, disaster can easily strike if you don’t follow a few simple steps.
First, never melt chocolate in a humid kitchen. Second, make sure all your cooking tools are dry. Any exposure to water can cause the chocolate to become stiff and grainy.
Chocolate begins to melt at about 95 degrees F. If it gets overheated, it separates and burns and is not useable. A double boiler really is a must to help prevent burning chocolate.
To melt chocolate, chop up the chocolate and place it in the upper part of the double boiler. Place just enough water in the bottom part of the double boiler; too much, and the water will touch the upper bowl and burn the chocolate.
When the chocolate just begins to melt, stir it constantly until completely melted. Once the chocolate melts, it will stay in liquid form for about 30 minutes.
And that’s all you need to know to enjoy a fabulous chocolate recipe!
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