Cocoa powder can be used in a broad range of ways but you have not had the full cocoa experience if you haven’t tried blooming the powder before use. Blooming cocoa powder will give you great results and all you'll need to do is take a small but crucial step.
To bloom cocoa powder means adding a hot liquid, like water, coffee, or melted fat, to it in order to tease out its rich flavor.
If you do this before adding the cocoa into the rest of the recipe, you can improve the end product regardless of what you're making.
Keep reading to understand a bit more on how cocoa powder is made and the science behind why blooming cocoa is effective.
Cocoa beans is actually a seed composed of three main parts: shell, kernel, and germ. When making cocoa powder, the beans get fermented first then dried, roasted, and cracked in order to remove the shell.
The remaining nibs are ground into a paste called chocolate liquor or cocoa mass. The oils in this paste, known as cocoa butter, are squeezed out, leaving behind cocoa solids.
The solids get dried again and are then ground into a powder. At this stage, the cocoa powder should have achieved a light brown color and a bright, slightly acidic flavor.
It’s often called natural cocoa powder and is the most commonly sold version in the US.
Getting rid of the shell of the cocoa bean is one of the first steps in making cocoa powder. But between the shell and the bean is a thin membrane that can remain on the cocoa solids as they're processed.
Blooming cocoa powder improves overall flavor by encouraging the membrane to loosen from cocoa powder particles. This exposes the cocoa solids and increases its flavor.
The first thing you need to do is portion out your cocoa powder into a heatproof bowl then add your hot liquid of choice.
Remember to choose a liquid or fat that is already called for in your recipe e.g. the butter or oil required for a homemade brownie recipe can first be heated and used to bloom the cocoa powder.
Afterward, stir the mixture of cocoa and liquid until the cocoa powder is fully dissolved and the texture is smooth. Then, leave it to cool while you assemble your other ingredients.