Thursday, October 20, 2011

Culinary IQ: Thursday, October 20, 2011; Chocolate Substitutions

OMG! I Don't Have Cocoa

Because cocoa is the same as bitter chocolate, only with less cocoa butter, it is often possible to substitute one product for the other. Shortening is usually used to take the place of the missing fat. However, different fats behave differently in baking. Regular shortening, for example, has about twice the shortening power of cocoa butter, so only half as much is needed in many products, such as cakes. The procedures below take this difference into account.
Because of these varying factors as well as the different baking properties of cakes, cookies, and other products, it is recommended that you test-bake a small batch when making a substitution in formula. You can make additional adjustments, if necessary. No single substitution ratio is adequate for all purposes.

Procedure for Substituting Natural Cocoa for Bitter Chocolate

1. Multiply the weight of the chocolate by 5/8. The result is the amount of cocoa to use.
2.Subtract the weight of the cocoa from the original weight of chocolate. Divide this difference by 2. The result is the amount shortening to add to the formula.

Example: Replace 1 lb chocolate with natural cocoa.
5/8 × 16 oz = 10 oz cocoa
(16 − 10 = 6) ÷ 2 = 3 oz shortening.

Procedure for Substituting Bitter Chocolate for Natural Cocoa

1. Multiply the weight of the cocoa b y 8/5. The result is the amount of chocolate to use.
2. Subtract the weight of cocoa from the weight of the chocolate. Dived by 2. Reduce the weight of shortening in the mix by this amount.

Example: Substitute bitter chocolate for 1 lb natural cocoa
8/5 × 16 oz = 26 oz chocolate (rounded off)
(26 − 16 = 10) ÷ 2 = 5 oz less shortening

*Methods featured in Professional Baking, Fifth Edition by Wayne Gisslen. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Of course it always best to use the real thing to get the best results but who hasn't ended up in the kitchen late at night trying to make their favorite chocolate recipe only to find that you don't have the right chocolate? Hopefully this will help you out if you find yourself in a bind.

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