Last Updated: January 14, 2014
Topic: Ammonia hydroxide
Ammonia hydroxide is sometimes used in the confectionery industry in dutch processed cocoa.
Ammonia hydroxide can be used as a food additive in many food products including baked goods, cheese and puddings. It is also occasionally used in "dutched" cocoa to neutralize acidity. This process darkens the color of the cocoa and produces a milder chocolate flavor. Although the ammonia hydroxide evaporates during the manufacturing process, all treated cocoa includes the terms "dutched" or "alkalized" on the ingredient declaration for products sold in the U.S.
Additionally, a different ammonia compound, ammonium phosphatide, can be used in chocolate as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers make the chocolate more pourable and extend the shelf life by preventing "bloom" which occurs when fat crystals naturally raise to the surface of the chocolate causing an unappealing look and feel to the chocolate.