Broken chocolate nuts pieces, cocoa bens and cocoa powder on dark stone background.
Dutch Process Cocoa Powder Vs. Natural: What's The Difference?
By Chandler Phillips
Cocoa powder is an important ingredient in many recipes, but some bakers may not know the difference between natural and Dutch process cocoa powder. While the two are made similarly, Dutch-processed cocoa powder has one distinct difference.
To make typical cocoa powder, seeds (also known as beans) are removed from the husk and air-fermented to result in darker seeds that are more lightweight. Then cocoa nibs are ground from the seed to release the cocoa butter and create a paste called cocoa liquor, and the cocoa butter is pressed out of the cocoa liquor to make powder.
In Dutch processing, the beans are soaked in an alkaline solution of potassium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate before being fermented and dried. The alkaline solution helps to neutralize some of the natural acidity, resulting in a darker bean with milder, less bitter notes, and because of this, recipes that incorporate it usually use baking powder rather than soda.
Though all cocoa powders can be categorized as either natural or Dutch-processed, within these families there are even more varieties. King Arthur Baking sells a handful of different cocoa powders, the darkest and most heavily Dutched being black cocoa, which boasts the intense richness of dark chocolate.