Distinguish by color
The color of non alkalized cocoa powder should be light brown. If it presents as brown or even dark brown, food coloring has been added to the natural cocoa powder. The color of alkalised cocoa powder should be reddish-brown. If it is dark brown or brown-black, it is over-alkalized, which is caused by excessive alkalized ash content.
Distinguish by smell
The smell of natural cocoa powder is a natural cocoa aroma. It is a light and fresh aroma. Those with strong or burnt smells are of poor quality. The smell of alkalized cocoa powder should be a normal cocoa aroma, with a stronger aroma than natural cocoa powder, but without a burnt smell.
Distinguish by fineness
The fineness of cocoa powder is very important for making chocolate. Cocoa powder that does not reach the standard fineness produces chocolate with a poor taste and a rough texture. Take a small amount of cocoa powder and place it on white paper. Fold and wipe it gently with your hand. Powder with a fineness of 99 or above will be evenly distributed on the paper, while powder with a fineness less than 99 will have an uneven distribution.
Distinguish by fat content
Place cocoa powder in the palm of your hand and rub it. If your palm is dry, the fat content is relatively low. If you feel obvious oiliness, the fat content is high.
As natural cocoa powder is acidic, if a large amount is needed in the recipe, a small amount of baking soda can be added to neutralize its acidity so that the cake does not taste sour, and the chocolate color will be richer.
In general, it is better to use natural cocoa powder + baking soda in desserts that need to rise, such as chiffon cakes and sponge cakes, so that the alkalinity of baking soda can neutralize the acidity of natural cocoa powder, and cause the cake to rise.
For desserts that don't need to rise, such as truffles, cookies, sauces, desserts, and pie crusts, baking soda may not be added. Some chocolate drinks contain alkalized cocoa powder.
When the recipe calls for baking soda, do not use alkalized cocoa powder, as it will produce too much alkali in the batter, not only affecting the cake's expansion, but also producing a strange soap-like taste.
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