– Dark chocolate has a higher percentage cacao mass (the paste directly from the cacao tree) and cacao butter. It contains less sugar than milk chocolate. The higher the percentage of cacao mass and butter, the better the quality.
– “Couverture” is a high quality dark chocolate, which is used to dip and cover.
– “Tempering” is a process by which chocolate is heated again and again and cooled. It gives extra shine and “crack” to the chocolate.
– “Dutch-process” cocoa is powder that has been exposed to a harmless alcalising process. Cocoa is naturally acidic and experts believe it produces a better product. It is not freely available in South Africa, so use the usual cocoa.
Keep chocolate in a cool, dry place. Seal it tightly and keep away from other sharp flavours because it easily accepts other flavours. Chocolate is best not stored below 13 ° C and above 30 ° C. If chocolate is too cold or hot it will get white marks.
Melt chocolate as:
– Chop chocolate roughly first, make sure the pieces are the same size. This ensures that it melts quickly and evenly and does not burn.
– Chocolate burns quickly and can “seize” when it comes into contact with moisture or steam. Chocolate melts at 30 ° C and burns at 110 ° C.
– The safest way: A Double boiler
- Choose a bowl that fits snugly on your saucepans.
- Fill the pot halfway with water and cook over a medium heat.
- Place the bowl on top of the saucepan. Make sure there is no steam escaping along the sides.
- Add the chopped chocolate and stir constantly.
– Less safe but more convenient: A Microwave
- Add the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl
- Melt it on the defrost setting or at 50% power.
- Melt it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time in between.
Remember chocolate’s internal temperature becomes very hot quickly. Remove from the heat when it seems as if it is melting and stir until completely melted.
Test whether chocolate is too hot by pressing it gently against your lip. It should not be warmer than body temperature.
The quality of the chocolate is not in the price, but the percentage and quality of cocoa which is used in the mixture with the cocoa butter. Good quality cocoa beans makes good chocolate, so it’s good to know where the cacao beans come from which is used for your favorite melt-in-the-mouth chocolate.
Couverture chocolate is mostly used for fillings and decorations and contains about 55% cocoa, dark chocolate contains about 65% and very dark chocolate (delicious in pastries) contains about 70% cocoa. What we know as “cooking chocolate” usually contains less than 30% cocoa and the rest is fat, sugar and other flavors. Buy quality to get the best flavor and aroma.
Ginger, almonds, amaretti, hazelnuts, pecan, malt, coffee beans, cinnamon, chili, basil, thyme, caramel, salt, pistachio, macadamia, cranberry, orange, brandy, rum, rose, prune, pear and figs.