I’ve received a little flak this past week from readers who didn’t think my red chocolate myth busting post from last Tuesday was rigorous enough. “No Dutched chocolate!” “You didn’t heat it!”
So OK then. Here goes. First we have a slurry of un-Dutched Ghiradelli cocoa powder and water. Left to right, with a teaspoon of tartaric acid, a teaspoon of baking soda and a combination of both (but only half a teaspoon of each because I didn’t want it exploding all over the place like last time).
Nothing is happening with the acid, we’ve got a little reaction going with the soda (un-Dutched cocoa is slightly acidic, remember) and a nice reaction going with both, as you’d expect. Are any of them even a little red, however? No.
Here they are after they’ve been brought to near boiling, after 45 seconds in the microwave. Very interesting. And very not red.
Now the same with some Dutched Droste cocoa powder. Nothing going on the left with the acid, also nothing going in the middle with the soda (Dutched cocoa is not acidic, it’s a large part of the point of Dutching) and a reaction starting with the combo. Other than the fact that this cocoa wasn’t as dark as I expected compared to the un-Dutched, there’s nothing surprising here. No redness.
Here they are after the same 45-second shot in the microwave. Not red. Not red. And definitely not red.
So I think we’ve fairly definitively dispelled a myth here, and there shall be no more experiments as Mrs. Pastry is already upset enough about the waste of expensive cocoa. If you have a counter-experiment to disprove me, by all means send pictures!