Baking Chocolate - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Baking Chocolate, sometimes referred to as bittersweet chocolate, baker's chocolate or bitter chocolate, is comprised of at least 35% cocoa solids, but is often available at 50-70% for a more pronounced cocoa flavor. Baking Chocolate does not contain much sugar (if any at all), which allows bakers to better control the amount of sugar in their recipes. The exact amount of cocoa does vary from one manufacturer to the next, so make sure you're familiar with a brand before you buy in bulk.

When looking to purchase Baking Chocolate, check the ingredients to make sure it lists only cocoa butter as a fat source. A bargain Baking Chocolate may offer a great price, but its flavor may be stretched with the addition of palm oil or coconut oil instead of natural cocoa butter.

How to Use Baking Chocolate: In general, it is not recommended to melt Baking Chocolate over direct heat. Baking Chocolate can burn or scorch easily if not carefully monitored, so using a double boiler is encouraged to achieve better results. If you do melt Baking Chocolate over direct heat, keep the temperature low, stirring often. If you do not own a double boiler, you can easily make one by placing a metal mixing bowl or heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water. If you buy a large block of Baking Chocolate, make sure to break it up into smaller portions to ensure it melts quickly and evenly.

Be careful not to get water in the Baking Chocolate during melting. Water can have an adverse effect on Baking Chocolate, making it gritty and grainy. This is what professionals call "seizing." If this should happen to you, add a small amount of solid vegetable shorting to help smooth out the chocolate sauce.

Storing Baking Chocolate: If you have a cool, temperate kitchen that doesn't suffer from high humidity, your Baking Chocolate should be fine if well wrapped. Avoid storing it in cupboards near your stove, toaster ovens, and dishwasher, all of which can warm the area around them and cause unsightly blooms on the surface of the chocolate.

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