Cinnamon rolls with black cocoa powder

Discussion in 'Pastry' started by Scarlett, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. Scarlett

    Scarlett New Member

    Jun 15, 2018
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    I was wondering if when making chocolate cinnamon rolls is it possible for me to substitute regular cocoa powder for black cocoa powder and do I use the same amount or less?

    Scarlett, Jun 15, 2018
    Norcalbaker59 likes this.
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  2. Scarlett

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2017
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    Northern California
    Short answers:

    It is not advisable to use Black cocoa powder alone.

    Black cocoa powder was developed to enhance color (example is an Oreo cookie), not flavor. It is treated with potassium carbonate to change the natural acidity in chocolate to an alkaline. The change effects flavor; it will impart a bitter taste if used alone.

    Aside from the flavor issue, high alkaline levels will change the dough characteristics, including the ability to rise. More detailed explanation below if you are interested.

    Detailed answer:

    pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen”.

    The pH scale is used to measure the level of acid and alkaline in a substance.

    The pH scale is 1 through 14.

    pH 7 is neutral

    Above pH 7 is alkaline

    Below pH 7 is acidic

    Water is neutral, with a pH 7. Anything above a pH 7 is an alkaline.

    Cocoa powder in its natural state is pH 5 - 6. It is acidic as its pH level is below 7.

    Dutch cocoa powder is incorrectly referred to as an alkaline. It is not an alkaline, it is neutral with a pH 7–same as water.

    However, Black cocoa is an alkaline with pH 8.

    Both Dutch and Black cocoa powder are treated with potassium carbonate, but Black cocoa powder is more heavily treated than standard Dutch cocoa. This increased treatment alters the color, taste, and pH level of the cocoa powder.

    Alkaline can have a profound effect on wheat flour. For instance, bagels and pretzels are treated with a high alkaline solution to produce a very chewy deep brown exterior.

    In authentic Japanese ramen noodles, an alkaline solution is used to produce an extraordinary unique bite, color, and elasticity in the noodle. Where pasta is soft and gives way when chewed, ramen feels springy in bite.

    Alkaline not only alters flour texture, color, and flavor, but it will also alters the rise in a dough. Flour contains an enzyme called amylase. The amylase enzymatic activity breaks down the starch (natural sugar) in the flour. This occurs naturally when water is added to flour.

    Remember water is neutral with a pH 7.

    The amylase process is affected when the environment goes from a neutral pH to an alkaline, as the enzymatic balance is thrown off.

    The optimal pH level for enzymatic amylase activity is pH 6.7 - 7.0. That’s slightly acidic to neutral.

    Black cocoa powder is pH 8–that alkaline level is considerably higher than the optimal pH level for proper enzymatic amylase activity.

    While a little Black cocoa powder won’t hinder yeast dough development, too much will inhibit the rise.
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 15, 2018
    Becky likes this.
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