Posted in Kafevend Blog

In 1828, the Dutchman Casparus van Houten Sr. discovered and patented a method for removing fat known as cocoa butter from cocoa beans. The process involved using a hydraulic press that removed around half of the cocoa butter from the beans, and created a cake that could be ground up in to cocoa powder. His son, Coenraad van Houten, later added another stage to the process known as 'Dutching', where the powder was treated with an alkaline salt which resulted in a neutral pH.

Dutch process cocoa meant that a precursor to eating chocolate could be made by mixing the powder with sugar and re-adding the cocoa butter. It is darker, yet smoother and less intense in taste than untreated cocoa powder and also more soluble. It is still in use today- a good example would be the popular Oreo cookie. It is also used in baking, though due to its lower acidity, it is typically used with baking powder rather than soda, which requires the acidity in cocoa for it to be activated as a raising agent.

A potential negative for Dutch process cocoa is that it contains lower levels of antioxidants, with one study proclaiming that around 60-90% of antioxidants were removed depending on the level of 'Dutching'. It has been pointed out that despite this, given cocoa's naturally high levels of antioxidants, it still has a larger amount after the process than many other food stuffs.

by Kafevend

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