Candy Making : Chocolate Types & Techniques
Featured Pinch Tips Video
2Before you melt your chocolate, you will want it in small, uniform pieces. Some brands of chocolate can be purchased in wafer sizes or bite-sized bars that don’t require chopping. However, if you buy large bars of chocolate or bulk chocolate, you will need to chop it before melting, so that it will melt evenly and not overheat.
3There are specialty tools called chocolate chippers that can be purchased and used to break up chocolate, but a chef’s knife or a serrated knife works just as well. Choose a sharp, heavy chef’s knife (a large straight-bladed knife, usually 8-10 inches) and press down firmly and evenly on the chocolate, beginning with the corners and angling the knife slightly outward. Whittle the chocolate gradually, working from the corners, until the chocolate is chopped into almond-sized pieces.
4A long serrated knife also works for chopping chocolate, and it requires less force to be effective. Again, begin at a corner of the chocolate and use a smooth sawing motion back and forth, pressing only as hard as necessary. Once you have made several cuts on a particular corner, rotate the chocolate and begin on a new corner until all of the chocolate is chopped into uniform pieces.
5MELTING CHOCOLATE WITH LIQUID
What if your recipe calls for melting chocolate along with water or some other type of liquid? That´s fine, as long as the liquid is mixed with the chocolate from the beginning of the melting process, it won´t get grainy on you. Be careful though, because adding even a drop in mid-melting will cause this problem.
10Types of Chocolate : we all know that rich, melt-in-the-mouth quality of good chocolate. That taste sensation comes from chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter. Chocolate can vary in quality, of course. Lower-quality chocolate includes other fats, which raise the product's melting point, and offer a less distinct flavor.
11Baking Chocolate : best for cooking and baking.
Also called bitter or unsweetened chocolate, this type is hardened cocoa solids and cocoa butter with no added sugar. Since its taste is astringent, it's used primarily as a baking ingredient. Unsweetened chocolate contains 50 to 58 percent cocoa butter by weight.
12Bittersweet Chocolate--best for baking, cooking, and eating. : Bittersweet chocolate is the darkest of all eating chocolates. It must contain at least 35 percent chocolate liquor. Bittersweet chocolate has a more pronounced chocolate taste because of its higher concentration of chocolate liquor and less sugar. Some premium bittersweet chocolate can have a cocoa butter and cocoa solid content of 70 percent or higher. It can be used in cooking and baking, as well as eaten for a treat.
13Semisweet and Sweet Chocolate--best for baking, cooking, and eating : Semisweet and sweet chocolate are similar to bittersweet but have a higher percentage of sugar and thus a sweeter taste. Their required chocolate liquor content is lower, averaging between 15 to 35 percent. Both kinds can also be used for cooking, as well as eaten as candy. Semisweet chocolate can usually be interchanged with bittersweet chocolate.
14Milk Chocolate--best for eating : Milk chocolate creates the sweet, creamy taste found in candy bars. Milk chocolate contains at least 12 percent dry milk solids and 10 percent chocolate liquor along with sugar and added cocoa butter. Milk chocolate is generally not used in baking or cooking, as its delicate flavor is easily overwhelmed by other ingredients. It's the favorite chocolate of most Americans, preferred over dark or semisweet varieties by two to one.
15White Chocolate--best for baking, cooking, and eating : This variety is not "true" chocolate, since it contains no chocolate solids. However, it contains cocoa butter, the vegetable fat that gives chocolate its snap and luscious mouthfeel. When the cocoa butter is replaced with other, less expensive fats, it's no longer white chocolate: it's referred to as Almond Bark or confectioners' coating.
16Couverture : best for baking and confections.
A glossy form of chocolate used by professional pastry chefs and chocolatiers, this chocolate contains a minimum of 32 percent cocoa butter, which allows it to flow more easily when it's melted and tempered. You'll find this type of higher-grade chocolate in professional pastry and cake supply shops, as well as high-end groceries and online. Both dark and milk chocolate couvertures are available.
17Cocoa Powder--best for baking and beverages : When most of the cocoa butter is removed from chocolate liquor, a dense cake forms. This is then ground into powder containing 10 to 22 percent cocoa butter. "Dutched" or Dutch Process cocoa is cocoa powder treated with an alkalizing agent such as baking soda to make it darker, less bitter, and more soluble in liquids.