The Right Chocolate For You
To understand what you should be using for what types of baking applications, it is important to have a strong grasp of the many kinds, varieties and qualities of chocolate.
Chocolates are broken down into two primary categories, real and compound chocolate. Both types of chocolate are actually chocolate, with the difference being the type of lipids, fats usually oils, used in making the chocolate.
Real chocolate contain cocoa butter as its form of lipid. This ingredient is expensive, and more difficult to cook than other forms of oils used in compound chocolate. In order to give chocolate the correct sheen, texture and taste an important process of tempering where you control the heat to ensure the crystals in the chocolate don’t expand altering its taste.
Within the real chocolate category, products are divided into three categories, regular chocolate, Couverture chocolate and ultra Couverture chocolate. These categories are created by the varying amounts of cocoa butter, and the quality of cocoa beans in the different recipes.
Regular Chocolate often comes in chocolate chip form, is sweetened with sugar, has cocoa beans of moderate quality, and has a generally low cocoa butter content. Regular chocolate is often used for baking, or dipping items in chocolate due to how it melts easy, but will hold its shape longer.
Couverture Chocolate is professional quality chocolate made with high-quality cocoa beans and has a high level of cocoa butter in the recipe. This chocolate is great for candy making, and molding. When melted it also produces a beautiful glossy finish.
Ultra Couverture Chocolate is similar to Couverture chocolate, but with an even high cocoa butter content. Ultra Couverture Chocolate is the most difficult chocolate to make due to the necessity to try balancing the high cocoa butter content, however this produces a chocolate that is thinner and great for melting, and baking with maintaining a superb taste.
Compound Chocolate Generally made from Vegetable oils, instead of cocoa butter. Home hobbyists, due to the ease of cooking, usually use this chocolate, as compound chocolate does need to be tempered when melted to maintain the same taste and texture.