Ever wanted to just grab that baking chocolate brick and eat it? You are not the first!
Baking chocolate is an indispensable ingredient in everyday baking and is used in a range of recipes. It is primarily used to add a chocolate flavor to any dish, without the accompanying sweetness.
Can you eat baking chocolate? Yes, baking chocolate can be eaten straight from the bag but it will provide a very bitter flavor as it is 100% chocolate and has virtually no sugar. This type of chocolate is made from chocolate liquor (ground and processed cocoa beans) and is usually mixed with other ingredients before consumption.
Read below to learn more about cooking or baking with chocolate, how it differs from regular chocolate, and some of its popular uses!
What Is Baking Chocolate?
We have all heard of chocolate bars and general chocolate-laden sweets and candies. But what is baking chocolate?
By definition, baking chocolate is a cooking ingredient that is purely made of chocolate and is purposefully devoid of sugar.
It is mainly produced for baking or cooking use and is usually available in either brick, chips, bars, or powder form.
There are several varieties of baking chocolate on the market and while all of them are exclusively made from pure chocolate, they might vary in quality and type.
For example, baking chocolate can be available in either bittersweet, semi-sweet, or even milk chocolate varieties. Each type of chocolate has different characteristics. We’ll go over a few of them below:
This is the most common type of baking or cooking product.
Made from pure chocolate liquor, this variety of chocolate is what most people are familiar with. It contains no added sugar and is very bitter.
It is usually added to recipes to provide an intense chocolate flavor. The quality of baking chocolate is extremely varied too.
While there is a set standard for chocolate products, manufacturers can change a few of its properties to better suit the demands of chefs and bakers.
For example, some baking chocolates are specially designed to be used in cookies and cupcakes, while others may be better for lava cakes or brownies.
If you don’t know where to begin then this Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate is a good place to start! It is made from pure chocolate and can be used in almost any type of recipe!
Like its name, bittersweet chocolate is a mix of bitter and slightly sweet flavor notes. This chocolate is similarly designed for baking and cooking purposes but it can also be consumed on its own too!
Bittersweet chocolate is a great alternative to 100% pure chocolate as it offers a slightly subdued yet intensely chocolatey flavor.
It is an excellent substitute for milk chocolate as this type of chocolate can easily take more heat and will not seize up while heating, unlike milk chocolate.
Compared to other types of chocolates, bittersweet is made up of around 60% chocolate which makes it an excellent all-rounder for all baking, cooking, and eating purposes!
If you have been looking for a reliable chocolate brand for bittersweet baking chocolate then look no further than Ghirardelli’s Cacao Baking Chocolate Bar.
Semi-Sweet and Milk Chocolate
Both semi-sweet and milk chocolate bars resemble the commercial chocolates available in the market.
While some of these types of chocolates can be used for culinary purposes, most of the products that are made using milk chocolate are only meant for direct consumption.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these chocolate treats as garnishes and in other fun recipes!
Milk chocolate is rarely used in cooking because it is prone to seizing and needs to be handled very carefully. It is mainly used to either cover food in chocolate or as a sweet and presentable garnish!
Also, with so many varieties of milk chocolate available in the market, it can be tough to find just the right brand for culinary use.
This is why we highly recommend that you start with semi-sweet chocolate and then learn to adapt milk chocolate to different recipes!
Baking Chocolate Vs Regular Chocolate
When people hear the word “baking chocolate” they may assume that it has something to do with an artificial chocolate product. This is both true and false. Let us explain why.
Baking chocolate is made purely out of cocoa beans and cocoa butter, which means that an authentic bar of cooking chocolate is 100% chocolate without much adjustments to its cocoa bean and butter ratio.
However, some chocolate products are a bit different, yet serve the same purpose.
For instance, “Compound Chocolate” is more or less the same product but it differs from regular and even baking chocolate in one crucial aspect: it has varying degrees of cocoa butter!
Compound chocolate can be used in the same way as baking chocolate, it is usually also a cheaper alternative to pure chocolate.
But this type of chocolate has reduced cocoa butter as it uses other types of fats like vegetable oils, coconut oil, or soy oil instead.
It is important to note that compound chocolate is sourced from cocoa beans but is considered an inferior product due to its quality and adulterations.
It is still a fantastic choice for everyday baking and may even, in some cases, be easier to work with than regular or baking chocolate.
Baking chocolate on the other hand is a purer version of chocolate, as we have already discussed.
It is physically and characteristically the same when compared to normal chocolate but may hugely vary in flavor and even its mouthfeel.
For example, baking chocolate is designed to have a smooth texture, especially when melted, and is formulated to produce better baking goods.
Meanwhile, normal chocolate is designed for everyday consumption and focuses more on a balanced and “universally accepted” flavor.
Forms Of Baking Chocolate
Baking chocolate is available in different forms but when it comes to baking and cooking, 2 types reign supreme: chips and squares/blocks.
Baking chocolate chips are designed to be a convenient baking ingredient for cakes, brownies, and other types of flour-based baking goods.
The chips are also excellent for general cooking and garnish purposes too. However, they have a small caveat.
To maintain the shape of the chips and to keep them from collapsing or breaking apart, manufacturers will add stabilizers and reduce the cocoa butter in the chips. This allows them to stay rigid yet melt when subjected to heat.
While you may not be able to notice any discernable difference when using these chips to make brownies, they will surely make a noticeable difference in various sauces, especially when making candies.
Of course, there are many different products and brands that you can try to find a baking chocolate chip product that fits your baking needs. However, we also recommend that you try squares or blocks for a better experience.
Baking chocolate squares or blocks are perhaps the go-to chocolate products for multiple uses.
They can either be purely made out of chocolate and be free of adulterations or may contain some stabilizers or sugar to change the flavor and texture of the chocolate.
We prefer the squares to the blocks since they are much easier to handle. For example, cutting a baking chocolate block can be quite challenging, especially for beginners.
Typically, to cut a small portion of the block, you may have to use a very sharp or serrated knife or apply heat to “loosen” the chocolate.
Squares on the other hand are convenient and may also come in different sizes. Just take out a sizeable square and use it to make any chocolatey recipe!
Baking chocolate comes in many varieties and forms but they all serve one purpose: to make your day better!
Now that you know what baking chocolate is and the different forms it is available in, here are some related questions:
Can I use cocoa powder as baking chocolate?
Yes, cocoa powder is also a great way to add a chocolatey flavor to any recipe. However, this type of chocolate has some limitations.
For example, since it is made from pulverized chocolate solids, it may interfere with the rising of some batters and doughs.
Also, cocoa powder isn’t that sweet and should be used as either an intentional culinary choice or as an emergency substitute for baking chocolate.
Is white chocolate considered baking chocolate?
Yes! White chocolate is considered to be a type of baking chocolate, especially if it has varying degrees of cocoa butter and sugar.
Many people argue that white chocolate isn’t truly “chocolate” since it does not contain cocoa solids but white chocolate does contain a lot of cocoa butter which is derived from cocoa beans.
What is the cocoa percentage in various baking chocolates?
Baking chocolate has varying degrees of cocoa content. For example, baking chocolate or unsweetened chocolate is made from 100% chocolate liquor (ground cocoa beans).
Similarly, bittersweet baking chocolate contains around 60-72% cocoa beans.
Semi-sweet baking chocolate has a cocoa bean percentage of around 35-55% while milk chocolate contains at least 10% cocoa beans.
As you might have guessed, the lower the cocoa content of the chocolate, the sweeter it is and vice versa!
If you’re looking for some fun recipes to incorporate your newfound chocolate knowledge into, try out these ones from the folks over at Tasty!
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