Because it’s extremely fine, cocoa powder tends to clump up in storage containers. If you use it straight up, you may end up with dry spots in your recipe or uneven contours on your finished product. In order to avoid this frustration, you need to break up those stubborn lumps by sifting the cocoa powder.
Both a fancy sieve (it’s always more fun!) or your home tea strainer will get the job done. Use a large, wide container for collection through the sieve to minimise cleanup. Pour a small amount of the cocoa powder into the sifter and then gently shake it back and forth over the container. These motions will cause the cocoa to shift, sending down fine particles through the mesh.
You can also sift cocoa powder without a sifter using a wire whisk. This is especially useful in cases where you need to incorporate other dry ingredients into the cocoa powder. Simply toss the powder with the additional ingredients in a mixing bowl and loop the whisk around in a quick circular strokes. Although this method isn’t as effective as sifting, it will help break up any large lumps. If you’re using cocoa powder in bulk, you can also use a food processor, which will achieve the same results as a whisk but only faster. Place the cocoa powder in the food processor and pulse a few times. Just make sure the lid is properly secured so you don’t end up with cocoa powder all over the floor!
Making chocolate is challenging. But we’ve got plenty of tips to help you along the way. Join us in our chocolatier program for a thorough hands-on experience.