You’re studying late at night, and you remember that eating chocolate while studying improves focus. So you get up quickly and grab that chocolate bar from the fridge. You unwrap it with excitement because it’s your favorite chocolate, and you notice a whitish layer on the chocolate bar.
Wait, is that mold? Now you’re worried if the mold on chocolate is safe to eat? It’s not molded actually because chocolates never form mold. So you can eat your chocolate tension-free. But what’s this whitish layer? Why is it formed? Sit tight because we’re going to clear all your doubts. Keep reading because it gets interesting from here.
We often notice a white layer on top of our chocolates and wonder if it’s mold. Practically, chocolate can’t form mold because moisture leads to mold growth, and chocolate lacks humidity. The chalky and fuzzy white layer formed on chocolate is called the chocolate boom. Sure the boom affects the taste of your chocolate, but your chocolate is totally safe to eat.
We often buy tons of chocolate bars at once, and there is always one bar left in the end that we completely forget about. It lies there in the back of the fridge, but it’s doesn’t grow mold. Mold needs moisture, and chocolate doesn’t have water.
The whitish layer on chocolate is often misinterpreted as mold. But in reality, it formed because it was exposed to a different temperature or external moisture. The fat or sugar in the chocolate crystallizes and forms such a layer.
Your chocolate is turning white not because it’s getting old; it’s turning white because it’s blooming. These whitish spots do not harm your chocolate but change the taste slightly. So let’s see what blooming means and how it forms.
Boom is basically of two types- fat and sugar.
Fat bloom happens when the chocolate isn’t properly tempered or stored, and the temperature changes unexpectedly. Fat bloom gives the surface a white-grey look and a powdery and soft consistency. Because of this, it looks like the chocolate has grown fungus.
Sugar bloom happens when your chocolate comes in contact with moisture. This makes the sugar crystals melt on the top and what remains is powdery residue. This gives an appearance of a mold.
Chocolate manufacturers keep the chocolate in such a place where it doesn’t bloom. So if you see a chocolate bloom on a packet you just bought, it’s probably because the shopkeeper stored it in such a place.
As we mentioned earlier, when chocolate is not tempered correctly, it tends to bloom. Tempering can be a difficult process. It requires proper heating and cooling of chocolate. The smooth and glossy finish you see is because of tempering. It also prevents the chocolate from melting any soon in your hands.
Several brands are making varieties of chocolate to compete in the market. But most of these chocolates are not properly tempered and have a porous surface. As a result, they lose flavor and texture very soon. Badly tempered chocolate will degrade quickly and create fat bloom.
Cocoa butter is the type of fat that stays rigid even at room temperature. Interesting, right? A buttery bloom on your chocolate can occur when your chocolate contains cocoa butter that melts while storing then solidifies inappropriately.
For example, when you accidentally leave your chocolate out in the heat and then take the melted chocolate to freeze in the fridge. That’s how it gets a fuzzy layer and uneven texture.
The white spots that look exactly like fungus are only cocoa butter.
When chocolate bloom occurs, it makes the chocolate less attractive and pleasing to the eyes of the eater. As a result, it doesn’t look like your delicious chocolate bar; instead, it has dull white patches all over it.
Keeping aside the appearances, a chocolate bar, when bloomed, is safe to eat and will not be bad for your health in any way. So you can still eat it to satisfy your tongue. However, if you are familiar with every flavor of your chocolate, then a bloomed chocolate might not satisfy you. This is because blooming comes with a slight loss of flavors.
So if you don’t like the taste of the bloomed chocolate, then use it for other purposes like making hot cocoa or baking or any other recipe that calls for melted chocolate.
Bloom has nothing to do with any health problems, but not everyone likes the chalky texture on top of their chocolate. But that doesn’t mean you should throw out proper healthy chocolate. You can still eat it with a little fixing.
To get back the original texture of your chocolate bar, you need to perform a re-tempering process at home. First, melt the bar of bloomed chocolate, mix it, and then pour it into a mold (any shape or size). Once it is cooled, the fat and sugar will get remixed in the chocolate, and you will get the lovely glowing texture of your chocolate back.
However, you should know that every time you re-temper the chocolate, it loses a little flavor each time. You might not be able to notice the loss of taste any soon in cheap brands. But if you’re doing this with expensive chocolates known for their exclusive taste, you’ll find the changed taste in seconds.
Yes, the chocolate boom can be prevented! The most beneficial way would be to store your chocolates in a dry and cool place with a stable temperature. Whatever chocolate you’re using- cooking, white, milk, or dark chocolate, the key to preventing bloom is proper storage space.
An interesting and weird fact about chocolates is that they blend the flavor of anything that’s near them. So please don’t put it close to any food with a strong odor and seal the chocolate tight.
The ideal temperature to store chocolate is 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity of 50-55%, not more or less.
When you store your regular chocolates properly, you’ll see that they last up to 6 months after their expiry date. Chocolates that contain less fat and sugar are supposed to last longer than chocolates that contain nuts and wafers.
As we mentioned earlier, chocolate doesn’t provide the necessary conditions for a mold to grow. But chocolate can still develop mold because of the ingredients present inside it. The main ingredient from which chocolates are made is cocoa. Cocoa beans can develop mold after harvesting if dried in a damp environment with very little ventilation.
Most brands pay huge prices to make sure that cocoa beans don’t develop mold after harvesting. However, cheap chocolate manufacturers don’t care that cocoa beans have mold; they use it directly in making chocolate. This molded flavor can be noticed in their chocolates, and also the mold starts to show on the surface after some time.
Chocolate doesn’t provide a suitable environment for mold to develop, but its ingredients can be behind mold. Now mold and chocolate bloom look the same, so how do you tell which is what?
When you see a white, fuzzy layer growing from your chocolate surface, then it’s mold. You can make sure by wiping it, and if it doesn’t properly remove, it’s definitely molded. You will also be able to see green spots on your chocolate if it’s molded (don’t eat it!).
If there’s a chalky thin white layer on the top of your chocolate and wipes easily when you run your fingers through it, then it’s just chocolate bloom.
The human digestive system will usually digest the mold on chocolate like any other normal food. However, it completely depends on your immune system whether the mold will make you sick or not. If you have a strong immune system, then the mold can cause no harm to your body.
The thing you’re misinterpreting as fungus or mold is, most of the time, just chocolate bloom. If it’s mold, then you’ll be able to notice it clearly. Chocolate bloom happens because of fat and sugar present in your sugar, and its presence shouldn’t bother you unless you’re very specific about tastes.
If you think that the whitish layer on your chocolate is mold and does not bloom, then you might be right. It can occur for many reasons, like molded ingredients or exposure to too much moisture. Reputed brands take care of all this, and that’s why their chocolates are so expensive. This mold problem is most likely to be noticed on cheap chocolates, so if you think that your chocolate has grown mold, throw it out immediately and buy a new one.