Baking (rec.food.baking) For bakers, would-be bakers, and fans and consumers of breads, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, crackers, bagels, and other items commonly found in a bakery. Includes all methods of preparation, both conventional and not.

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Old 24-01-2004, 03:47 AM
JimL
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

So I have a brownie recipe, only my 213th to try (scientific purposes,
of course).

It calls for six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, "chopped." I asume
that means the hard squares, in the box, and try to chop them up,
spill them all over the place, or else in my electric mini chopper and
burn out the motor again.

Then I think: "Here's a bag of Nestle's (or even Godiva, etc., etc.)
chocolate chips (or morsels), already in small size. I can measure
out 6 ounces out of a 12 ounce bag." And the price is a big
difference.

So my question: Is there a difference, if both are "semi-sweet,"
between the hard squares and the chips in a bag?

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Old 24-01-2004, 04:23 AM
H. W. Hans Kuntze
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

JimL wrote:

So I have a brownie recipe, only my 213th to try (scientific purposes,
of course).

It calls for six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, "chopped." I asume
that means the hard squares, in the box, and try to chop them up,
spill them all over the place, or else in my electric mini chopper and
burn out the motor again.

Then I think: "Here's a bag of Nestle's (or even Godiva, etc., etc.)
chocolate chips (or morsels), already in small size. I can measure
out 6 ounces out of a 12 ounce bag." And the price is a big
difference.

So my question: Is there a difference, if both are "semi-sweet," =20
between the hard squares and the chips in a bag?
=20

Of course there are differences, but the chips are useable for brownies.
Try to get Guittard double chocolate chips, they are quite good as=20
mass-market chips go.

Next time you need to break your large pieces into smaller ones, try=20
freezing and grating.

--=20
Grue$$e.

C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
" Strive for excellence in your life & reject being a doormat to others. =
Serve God. "
http://www.cmcchef.com , chef[AT]cmcchef.com
_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20

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Old 25-01-2004, 01:23 AM
Fred
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?


"JimL" wrote in message
om...
So I have a brownie recipe, only my 213th to try (scientific purposes,
of course).

It calls for six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, "chopped." I asume
that means the hard squares, in the box, and try to chop them up,
spill them all over the place, or else in my electric mini chopper and
burn out the motor again.

Then I think: "Here's a bag of Nestle's (or even Godiva, etc., etc.)
chocolate chips (or morsels), already in small size. I can measure
out 6 ounces out of a 12 ounce bag." And the price is a big
difference.

So my question: Is there a difference, if both are "semi-sweet,"
between the hard squares and the chips in a bag?


If the chocolate is of the same brand and same percentage of cacao (semi
sweet is around 62% cacao), the chocolate should be the same and the chips
would be more convenient to melt. Melting a bar isn't a big deal, though.
It just takes a little longer than chopped bars or chips. You should
weigh the 6 oz. the same, regardless of the form. 6 oz. of chips weighs the
same as a 6 oz. bar.

More important is the quality of the chocolate than whether it comes in
chips, bars, discs or whatever form. Generally the chocolate that comes
from Venezuela and other latin countries is noticeably better than the
chocolate that comes from Africa. It's worth the extra money. i.e. if you
can find Sharffen Berger or El Rey or a similar quality chocolate, it will
improve your brownies when compared to using Hershey, Baker, Ghirardelli and
the like which are African chocolate.

Fred
The Good Gourmet
http://www.thegoodgourmet.com


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Old 25-01-2004, 01:31 AM
Alex Rast
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

at Sat, 24 Jan 2004 03:47:25 GMT in
, (JimL)
wrote :

So I have a brownie recipe, only my 213th to try (scientific purposes,
of course).

It calls for six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, "chopped." I asume
that means the hard squares, in the box, and try to chop them up,
spill them all over the place, or else in my electric mini chopper and
burn out the motor again.

Then I think: "Here's a bag of Nestle's (or even Godiva, etc., etc.)
chocolate chips (or morsels), already in small size. I can measure
out 6 ounces out of a 12 ounce bag." And the price is a big
difference.

So my question: Is there a difference, if both are "semi-sweet,"
between the hard squares and the chips in a bag?


Yes, there is a difference, but I'd advise you to use neither. Chocolate
chips are chocolate specifically formulated with a low cocoa butter
content, so that they don't melt as much in the oven, and keep their shape.
For most baking applications where you're going to melt the chocolate and
combine it with something, a high-cocoa-butter chocolate is preferable. In
a pinch, you can use chips, but the result will be drier and harder.

Meanwhile, the "hard squares, in the box" - i.e. "baking chocolate" are, as
far as I can tell, merely the industry's method of disposing of chocolate
of such poor quality that even the cheapest chocolate bar companies won't
use it. Baking chocolate is inevitably bottom-of-the-barrel, and will make
your chocolate desserts taste much worse than they could, lacking in
flavour, often stale. Usually baking chocolate in the squares is also low
cocoa butter.

What you really want is quality "couverture" chocolate, which has a high
cocoa butter content. The term sounds technical but virtually all chocolate
sold as solid chocolate bars, intended for straight eating, is couverture.
The other way you'll find couverture is as large, irregular, broken-up
chunks from a much bigger slab. It's common to see this in bulk bins.

As for brands, in the USA, Ghirardelli is the most commonly available
quality choice. They sell good chocolate in 4 oz bars, and they even call
it in some cases "baking chocolate" - but you won't find it in a box
wrapped in paper squares, it's in bars, which BTW are also good to eat
straight. Callebaut and Guittard, meanwhile, dominate the broken chunks
market - and both are excellent. You can use even more prestigious, high-
end chocolate bars, packaged for straight eating, from companies like
Valrhona and Michel Cluizel, and your results will be superb, albeit at
pretty exorbitant cost. Even Hershey's Special Dark will be a huge
improvement over the baking squares.

A nice advantage of using bar chocolate is that it's easy to chop - they're
thin enough that a knife will make quick work of them. Using a food
processor, incidentally, is risky because it's easy for the processor to
overheat and thus melt the chocolate. The result is a sticky, ugly mess
inside your food processor. Chopping with a knife is more reliable.
--
Alex Rast

(remove d., .7, not, and .NOSPAM to reply)


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Old 28-01-2004, 05:50 AM
JimL
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

THanks all for your replies.

So, among all of this, and since I never mentioned any brands, I am
guessing the consensus is that the chips are the same as the squares.
I just save the labor of chopping.
  #8 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 29-01-2004, 05:41 AM
Brian Macke
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 23:04:52 +0000, Alex Rast wrote:

I would conclude the consensus seems to be as follows: that chips are NOT
the same as squares, but that the differences are subtle and only
important if you're interested in the finest possible quality in your
finished items.


The OP wanted chocolate for brownies. You can put a nun in the finest
silks of the world and crown her with an amazing habit.

But she's still a nun.

--
-Brian James Macke
"In order to get that which you wish for, you must first get that which
builds it." -- Unknown

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Old 29-01-2004, 05:57 AM
H. W. Hans Kuntze
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

Brian Macke wrote:

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 23:04:52 +0000, Alex Rast wrote:

=20

I would conclude the consensus seems to be as follows: that chips are N=

OT
the same as squares, but that the differences are subtle and only
important if you're interested in the finest possible quality in your
finished items.=20
=20


The OP wanted chocolate for brownies. You can put a nun in the finest
silks of the world and crown her with an amazing habit.

But she's still a nun.

Yes..........but, Brian. And Alex will argue he want's nun of it.
Personally, for me, a baker who melts great eating chocolate to=20
incorporate it into a batter, should be shot with hot, green chicken=20
sh.............
Maybe I'll forgive him/her for big, unmelted chunks in the batter.

--=20
Grue$$e.

C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
" Strive for excellence in your life & reject being a doormat to others. =
Serve God. "
http://www.cmcchef.com , chef[AT]cmcchef.com
_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20

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Old 29-01-2004, 10:26 PM
Alex Rast
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

at Thu, 29 Jan 2004 05:41:43 GMT in
,
(Brian Macke) wrote :

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 23:04:52 +0000, Alex Rast wrote:

I would conclude the consensus seems to be as follows: that chips are
NOT the same as squares, but that the differences are subtle and only
important if you're interested in the finest possible quality in your
finished items.


The OP wanted chocolate for brownies. You can put a nun in the finest
silks of the world and crown her with an amazing habit.

But she's still a nun.


While on the one hand I have my own definite opinions, I was actually
trying to summarize what had been posted in reply. The general tone of what
I saw was as I outlined above.

However, if you are rather claiming that using high-quality chocolate will
have no impact on whether or not brownies are "the finest possible
quality", I beg to differ. I believe you would notice the difference right
away between 2 versions of my brownie recipe (see "Hyper-chocolatey brownie
recipe" on DejaNews) - one made with a "typical" unsweetened chocolate like
Guittard, and another made with Michel Cluizel Noir Infini (which is what I
usually do). If you then made the same recipe with a "consumer" baking
chocolate like Baker's, I believe the difference would be even more stark.

Now, it's very easy, using quality chocolate, to overbake things, and erase
all differences between it and the cheapest chocolate on the market, but as
long as you don't ruin it by overbaking, (or carelessly melting,
imprecisely mixing, etc.) it'll taste better. However, this requires
obsessive monitoring, and care every step of the way. Basically, unless
you're dedicated to making your chocolate baking project the subject of
your total focus the entire time you're doing it, the risk is large it's
not going to be any better if you use quality chocolate. Hence my term
"finest possible quality". I literally meant the best possible, in other
words a level even above what quality professional bakers produce for sale.
--
Alex Rast

(remove d., .7, not, and .NOSPAM to reply)


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Old 30-01-2004, 05:06 AM
Brian Macke
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 22:26:53 +0000, Alex Rast wrote:

Basically, unless you're dedicated to making your chocolate baking
project the subject of your total focus the entire time you're doing it,
the risk is large it's not going to be any better if you use quality
chocolate. Hence my term "finest possible quality". I literally meant
the best possible, in other words a level even above what quality
professional bakers produce for sale.


I can understand your quest for optimal quality. However, in the job that
I do to pay for my kitchen obsession we have this thing called a
"cost-benefit analysis" for determing an idea's inherent worth. If you are
making truffles, the cost-benefit ratio is high for using quality
ingredients. Brownies, which for some people is something made from a box,
the cost-benefit for using high quality chocolate is rather low. If the
brownies taste 2% better because you're using Guittard, then the 200%
difference in price is not worth it.

I understand your point about optimal quality - please don't feed the urge
to try and explain it again. I just think that there's better uses for
high quality chocolate than throwing them into brownies.

--
-Brian James Macke
"In order to get that which you wish for, you must first get that which
builds it." -- Unknown

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Old 30-01-2004, 05:56 PM
JimL
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

"Brian Macke" wrote in message et...
On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 22:26:53 +0000, Alex Rast wrote:

Basically, unless you're dedicated to making your chocolate baking
project the subject of your total focus the entire time you're doing it,
the risk is large it's not going to be any better if you use quality
chocolate. Hence my term "finest possible quality". I literally meant
the best possible, in other words a level even above what quality
professional bakers produce for sale.


I can understand your quest for optimal quality. However, in the job that
I do to pay for my kitchen obsession we have this thing called a
"cost-benefit analysis" for determing an idea's inherent worth. If you are
making truffles, the cost-benefit ratio is high for using quality
ingredients. Brownies, which for some people is something made from a box,
the cost-benefit for using high quality chocolate is rather low. If the
brownies taste 2% better because you're using Guittard, then the 200%
difference in price is not worth it.

I understand your point about optimal quality - please don't feed the urge
to try and explain it again. I just think that there's better uses for
high quality chocolate than throwing them into brownies.


Original poster here. --

I agree with Brian, both times. I never mentioned the "quality" or
brand of the product; I was simply curious as to whether there was any
difference in the product, say all the same brand, but just between
the different shape of the same semi-sweet. If the chips are more
convenient for a fast impulse desire to mmake a small pan of brownies,
and I sat looking at a bag of chips, versus a box of squares, and I
didn't want to take the time to chop, slice, break, pulverize, etc.
For the same recipe I have usually used the bag of "chunks" rather
than the "chips" (round bottoms, pointy tops). But all I had on
hand were the chips and the squares. If I felt had to out to the
store for the chunks, or do the labor of breaking up the squares, I
would not have done either int he late evening.

I went ahead - it worked just fine for me. And I won't even reveal
what brand I used ;-Q
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Old 30-01-2004, 07:09 PM
H. W. Hans Kuntze
 
Posts: n/a
Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

JimL wrote:

[....]

I never mentioned the "quality" or
brand of the product;[...]

I went ahead - it worked just fine for me. And I won't even reveal
what brand I used ;-Q
=20

You already spillt the beans in your first post (OP) JimL.

"Here's a bag of Nestle's"

Nothing wrong with that. :-)

Glad it works for you.

BTW, you can make good-satisfying brownies with cocoa powder or Bakers=20
Unsweetened Chocolate too.
Once the chocolate is melted and in the batter, stable, emulsified, you=20
can add all kinds of flavor to influence the taste of the brownies. :-)
If you like great, exotic chocolate, enjoy it plain, with a great glass=20
of Cabernet, or Bordaux.

--=20
Grue$$e.

C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
" Strive for excellence in your life & reject being a doormat to others. =
Serve God. "
http://www.cmcchef.com , chef[AT]cmcchef.com
_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20

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Old 31-01-2004, 12:07 AM
graham
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?


"H. W. Hans Kuntze" wrote in message
...
JimL wrote:

If you like great, exotic chocolate, enjoy it plain, with a great glass
of Cabernet, or Bordeaux.


You are joking of course! That is the worst possible combination!
Graham




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Old 31-01-2004, 02:33 AM
JimL
 
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Default semi-sweet chocolate - any differences?

"H. W. Hans Kuntze" wrote in message ...
JimL wrote:

[....]

I never mentioned the "quality" or
brand of the product;[...]

I went ahead - it worked just fine for me. And I won't even reveal
what brand I used ;-Q


You already spillt the beans in your first post (OP) JimL.

"Here's a bag of Nestle's"

Nothing wrong with that. :-)

Glad it works for you.

BTW, you can make good-satisfying brownies with cocoa powder or Bakers
Unsweetened Chocolate too.
Once the chocolate is melted and in the batter, stable, emulsified, you
can add all kinds of flavor to influence the taste of the brownies. :-)
If you like great, exotic chocolate, enjoy it plain, with a great glass
of Cabernet, or Bordaux.



Uh oh! You peeked at my secret! Actually it was Courvosier in the
glass, and two different secret extracts (instead of plain ole
vanilla) in the batter.
But I will never reveal those.


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