Cocoa is a pure unsweetened powder made by extracting
much of the cocoa butter from the chocolate mass. This
leaves a dry solid cake, which is then sifted to a fine
There are two major types of cocoa powders. Some beans
are treated with alkaline solution to make them darker
in color, and milder in flavor. This type of cocoa is
called 'Dutched' or 'Dutch-style' and this designation
will usually appear on the cocoa label. No preservatives
are added. Fry's Cocoa is an example of Dutch processed
In contrast, a non alkalized cocoa, such as Hershey's,
is also unsweetened, but because it has not been Dutch
processed, it still contains cocoa's natural acids.
Non alkalized, or natural cocoa tends to be lighter
in color but less mellow in flavor.
For cooks it's important to know that the alkalizing
process, causes the pH of Dutched cocoa to rise from
5.5 (acidic) to 7 (neutral) or 8 (slightly alkaline).
Thus, the change in acidity may result in differences
in leavening reactions in some recipes for baking when
using Dutch processed cocoa.
For instance, if baking soda is the only leavening agent
in your fabulous Brownie recipe, make sure there's an
acidic ingredient in your recipe if you're using a Dutched
cocoa. Remember that baking soda always needs an acidic
partner in order to make baking rise. Or choose a recipe
that uses baking powder as the leavening agent.