What Is The Difference Between Cocoa and Dutch Processed Cocoa?

This time of year many of us will be spending extra time in the kitchen baking for the holidays.

I don’t know about you, but when I spend my time and money on making special baked goods, I want to get the best results possible. And part of getting the best results is using the correct ingredients for the job.

So, today I want to talk about cocoa and using the right one for the right recipe.

Have you ever wondered what the difference between regular cocoa and dutch processed cocoa is? Or if you could substitute one for the other?

The answer is yes, there is a difference, and no you can not use one in place of the other.

Baking cocoa and dutch processed cocoa are processed differently, but for the purpose of baking the main difference is the pH.

Yes, here I go with the science of baking again, but stay with me because in this case it is really important. The science behind cocoa really does make a difference.

Dutch processed cocoa has a pH of around 7. Regular cocoa has a pH of 5-5.9. That is a big difference when it comes to baking.

The difference in the pH is the reason why you usually find dutch processed cocoa in recipes that are less acidic and that usually contain baking powder.

If you try to substitute one cocoa for the other it will give you different results. It will change the color, the texture, and the cooking time of the recipe.

If you want the best results in your recipes that call for cocoa follow the directions and use the best one for the job.

What are your thoughts on dutch processed cocoa vs regular cocoa? Do you avoid recipes that call for dutch processed cocoa?


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. Honestly, I’ve never bought or used Dutch processed cocoa. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried to sub one for the other because I just don’t make very many recipes that call for cocoa.

    I read just the other day that regular cocoa has more antioxidants that Dutch-processed, but I haven’t looked into it to try to confirm that statement.

  2. I dont think ive ever had recipe that called for a particular one, this is all news to me! lol

  3. Wow, I had no idea! I think the cocoa in my cupboard might be in Dutch pressed, but I couldn’t say for sure. I didn’t know there was a chemical difference between different types of cocoa. I can bake pretty well, but it’s the little things (well, not-so-little things) like this that make a difference. ;) I’ll file this away for future reference. Thanks!

  4. I use both kinds of cocoa somewhat interchangeably. I’ve got a cake recipe that tastes extra special when I make it with the dark Dutch chocolate. But it tasted terrific with regular cocoa (the was the recipe was written) as well. I never changed any of the leavening I just swap out the cocoa. I do it for cookies too when I want the dark chocolate flavor. I had no idea the pH was different. Very interesting!

    I use the Dutch processed cocoa when I want the dark chocolate flavor. But since it’s more expensive, I ration it out and only use it for special items. Snacks for the kids get regular cocoa. :)

  5. I just recently watched a rerun of good eats where alton brown discussed the differences between the two and it was very interesting. I have never had a recipe that calls for dutch processed but I have been wanting to try a brownie recipe from cooksillustrated that calls for it.

  6. I just recently watched a rerun of good eats where alton brown discussed the differences between the two and it was very interesting. I have never had a recipe that calls for dutch processed but I have been wanting to try a brownie recipe from cooksillustrated that calls for it. I always just buy Hershey natural but I have been wanting to try the cocoa from Ghiredelli because I love the flavor of there baking chocolate but I don’t like how my brownies turn out when I use baking chocolate, I prefer cocoa : )

  7. Hi Lynn,

    It’s Cinde from Gluten Free Taste of Home. It was nice meeting you at General Mills! Here is a link to my post about the trip if you want to check it out:

    http://glutenfreetasteofhome.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-attended-gluten-free-summit-at.html

    Happy Holidays!
    Cinde

  8. Dutch process cocoa powder is something I just started seeing pop-up in GF recipes I’ve been looking at. I’ve just been substituting regular cocoa powder for Dutch process and all of my recipes still taste great! Thanks for educating us on the differences. If a recipe I substitute regular for Dutch doesn’t turn out well, now I’ll why.

  9. So where do you find this dutch processed cocoa? And what is a good price for it? I did a quick search for it and see there are lots of prices.

    • @Chelle, I can usually find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store. I find that it is usually a bit more expensive than regular baking cocoa, but not too much more. The price depends on the brand, I like the ghiradelli’s brand or even the Hersheys special dark which is a combo of dutch processed and regular cocoa. I hope that helps.

  10. Where do you buy dutch processed cocoa?

  11. Thank YOU for explaining the difference, exact info I was searching for & most appreciative! Made 4 different cookie recipes & kept trying to figure out why some had an incredible texture while the others were off. Once I switched to Dutch Process there was a noticeable difference. Thank you!

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