All about chocolate.

To talk about chocolate you first have to clarify what exactly what chocolate is. All chocolate is a blend of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter in varying quantities to make different kinds of chocolate. Sugar, milk, vegetable oils and emulsifiers are all added all depending on the recipe and the chocolate that you are trying to make. Out of them you get the three basic types of chocolate. Milk chocolate white chocolate and dark chocolate.

Milk chocolate is the most popular form of chocolate in the world. It was invented by a Swiss confectioner called Daniel Peter. He Worked with Henri Nestle and latter they formed the world famous Nestle Company. Now it is used in almost every form of
confectionary, sweets and candy bars. It is normally made from sweetened chocolate and has milk powder and condensed milk in it.

White chocolate on the other hand has cocoa butter sugar and milk but no cocoa solids. And that is why it does not really qualify as a true chocolate.

Dark chocolate made from cocoa solid, cocoa butter sugar and some times vanilla.

Now out of all the kinds you have normally two kinds that you cook with. And both have good and bad qualities all depending on what you are trying to do.

Bakers chocolate also know as pâté à glacer if you like to call it by its Sunday name. Now this has had all the cocoa butter removed and replaced with hydrogenated vegetable fat. As a result this form of chocolate is very easy to use. It has grate setting and cutting qualities. But it has a fatty flavour and a dull mat finish. This to is often used in chocolate bars as you do not have to worry about tempering and other such things.

Then you have the real deal, couverture chocolate. Couverture must have a high percentage cocoa butter at least 32%. It has a high gloss finish and is harder to work with compared to any other chocolate. But the flavour of good couverture it is well worth any problems that it might cause. When cooking with couverture or any chocolate that has a high coca butter contents is to temper the chocolate first. First break the chocolate up into small pieces then you place in to a heat proof bowl and melt over hot water. Make sure that the water is hot and not simmering, if you get the chocolate to hot then it will scorch. Scorched chocolate turns very grainy, also if you splash it with water it will “seize”, in other words go hard and have a dull finish. So you have to be very careful how you heat the chocolate. Heat it to 45ºc staring all the time gently. Then over a bowl of ice stir till the temperature comes back down to 25º. Then back over the warm water reheat back up to 32ºc once more. It sounds complicated but this breaks down the fat and produces a glossy and streak free chocolate that sets very hard.
You can get chocolate in many varieties as well some that are mixed with nuts dried fruits and even chillies. There are also some savoury dished that call for chocolate to thicken the sauce as well. So what ever you are going to use it for, don’t worry about it, just enjoy it. That is what it is for.


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