You’ve been saving a piece of chocolate for a special occasion, but when you remove the wrapping, you see it — a dusty white coating all over your chocolate treat. You may be wondering, why did my chocolate turn white? What exactly is this grayish-white discoloration?
When chocolate turns white, it is known as chocolate bloom. While it doesn’t look very appetizing, the chocolate is most likely still safe to eat, so don’t throw it out!
So what makes chocolate turn white? Keep reading to learn more about chocolate bloom, the reasons it happens, and how to prevent it from happening to your delectable chocolate.
What Makes Chocolate Turn White?
Why does chocolate turn white? This is a natural process that occurs when cocoa butter separates from the cocoa solids. So what causes chocolate to turn white? Chocolate bloom is most often caused by improper tempering or by storing chocolate the wrong way.
What about dark chocolate? Does dark chocolate turn white? Yes — since it contains cocoa butter, dark chocolate is also susceptible to chocolate bloom.
What Is Chocolate Bloom?
So why would chocolate turn white? Food science provides an explanation — the reason for chocolate bloom is, specifically, either fat bloom or sugar bloom.
Fat bloom is characterized by gray or white streaks throughout the chocolate. It occurs when the liquid fat (the cocoa butter) separates from the cocoa solids and the rest of the ingredients and moves through tiny cracks in the chocolate, leaving behind grayish-white streaks.
Sugar bloom appears when moisture collects on the surface of the chocolate and draws out the sugar. When the moisture evaporates, it leaves behind large gray or white sugar crystals on the surface of the chocolate that give it a dusty appearance.
Large chocolate manufacturers often work to reduce the occurrence of chocolate bloom by adding vegetable fats or oils, which inhibit bloom. They may even reduce the amount of cocoa butter content in their chocolate products.
Everything You Need to Know About Fat Bloom
Fat bloom is the most common type of chocolate bloom and is a frequent occurrence when working with chocolate products. When the chocolate bar gets too hot and the cocoa butter separates, it leaves behind a white layer on the surface of chocolate.
What Causes Fat Bloom?
Fat bloom is caused by a quick change in temperature, usually when chocolate is stored improperly at a temperature higher than 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. When chocolate melts, the cocoa butter separates and rises to the surface. When the chocolate cools and hardens, the cocoa butter reforms and leaves behind grayish-white streaks throughout the chocolate. The separation of cocoa butter from the other ingredients causes the chocolate to lose its temper and shine.
Everything You Need to Know About Sugar Bloom
Sugar bloom appears as a dry, hard, white or chalky film on the surface of chocolate. While fat bloom happens when chocolate gets too hot and the cocoa butter separates from the other ingredients, sugar bloom is caused by moisture. The moisture dissolves the sugar, and when the water evaporates, the sugar hardens into large sandpaper-like crystals on the surface of the chocolate. These sugar crystals have a dusty white appearance and a grainy texture.
What Causes Sugar Bloom?
Sugar bloom happens when chocolate is stored in a damp, humid area like a refrigerator. If the chocolate is stored in the fridge and then removed to return to room temperature, moisture will collect on the surface of the chocolate. In order to prevent sugar bloom, special attention should be given to the amount of humidity in the storage area, and if you store it in the fridge, consider using an airtight container.
Is Chocolate Bloom Good or Bad for You?
No matter what type of chocolate bloom has affected your chocolate, it is still safe to eat. Chocolate bloom alters the appearance of chocolate and is unsightly, but it is not harmful. The texture might be grainier, which will turn some people away, but the flavor is not affected. It can be melted to remove discoloration, added to hot cocoa, or used to cook with.
How to Avoid Chocolate Bloom
The best way to avoid chocolate bloom is to store your chocolate properly — ideally in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight container. You can also carefully wrap and seal chocolates in a couple of layers of plastic wrap or Ziploc bags to keep out moisture and odors. Storing chocolate at a moderate, constant 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit will help prevent chocolate bloom. A cellar or pantry work well for this. Always avoid quick temperature changes to preserve the temper and shine of the chocolate.
Craft chocolate makers like those whose products are sold at Cococlectic are working to keep chocolate bloom from happening, and the best solution they have found so far is to precisely temper chocolate, which makes it more difficult for the cocoa butter to separate.
Each month at Cococlectic, we feature a different American small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker who is passionate about producing their chocolate from scratch using only three main ingredients: cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter.
The chocolates sold at Cococlectic are vegan, non-GMO, fair trade and ethically sourced. They do not contain any soy, gluten, dairy or nut, but they may be produced in a facility that handles these ingredients.
We sell only dark chocolate bars in our chocolate shop. Our monthly subscription boxes contain only dark chocolate bars. One-time gift boxes and Office Boxes are filled with your choice of dark bars only or mixed bars with inclusions of fruits and nuts. Each chocolate box comes with 4 full-size chocolate bars that are made in the US. (The Office Box comes with 10 full-size chocolate bars).Sign up for our chocolate-of-the-month subscription club and join us for a free virtual chocolate tasting with our featured chocolate maker of the month.