Understanding Chocolate Bloom
You must have come across chocolate that are covered in white or light brown patches instead of the usual shiny surface. This is a phenomenon known as chocolate bloom. While bloomed chocolate are safe to be consumed, their unappetizing appearance and texture make them less than ideal.
Chocolate bloom can be classified under two categories—Fat bloom and Sugar bloom. They are caused by different environmental conditions.
Fat bloom can be identified when a thin layer of fat crystals forms on the surface of chocolate, causing it to lose its gloss. This white colour layer is soft to the touch and repels water. It should not be confused with the formation of moulds.
Fat bloom occurs when there is a re-crystallization of fats and/or a migration of fat to the chocolate surface as a result of various factors. The most common cause is improper storage condition such as higher or fluctuating storage temperature. Storing chocolate products at a constant temperature will delay the appearance of fat bloom.
Sugar bloom is caused by moisture coming into contact with chocolate. When chocolate is taken out from the refrigerator, temperature fluctuations and high humidity results in condensation. The resultant moisture dissolves the sugar in the chocolate. When the water evaporates afterwards, the sugar re-crystallizes into rough, irregular crystals on the surface. This gives the chocolate an unappealing appearance.
Avoid sugar bloom by keeping chocolate away from temperature shocks (from cold to warm zones). When chocolate is taken out from a cold room, it should be stored in a warm area long enough before opening the package. This way, direct condensation on the chocolate can be avoided.
Hence, proper storage conditions is of utmost importance to enhance the shelf life of chocolate.