In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can chocolate get moldy?” and will discuss what chocolate blooms are?
No, chocolate cannot get moldy. The bar of chocolate is nearly mold-proof since it lacks the moisture that promotes mold development. However, Chocolate is regarded as a microbiologically stable product because of its low water activity. However, extremely xerophilic fungi such as Bettsia alvei, Chrysosporium xerophyllum and Xeromyces bisporus can cause deterioration in chocolate and chocolate confectionery. Storage under high humidity may be partly responsible. The xerophilic yeast Zygosaccharomyces rouxii sometimes causes leaker spoilage in filled chocolates. The water activity in chocolates is not sufficiently low to prevent growth of this yeast, so chocolate fillings must be free of it during chocolate manufacture (1).
In addition, a white, chalky coating known as chocolate bloom may form on top of it. Your chocolate will taste different, but you won’t get sick from it.
The reason why chocolate has white spots on it?
There is nothing wrong with the white specks on your chocolate; they just signal it is blossoming. What is bloom? Let’s have a look at how it grows.
- Sugar and fat bloom are the two forms of chocolate bloom that you need to know to comprehend bloom.
- You may notice that your chocolate is covered in a powdery white residue that mimics mold or fungal growth when moisture comes into touch with the sugar crystals on the surface.
- As an alternative, fat bloom happens when chocolate isn’t heated or kept in an area where temperatures fluctuate. Having a white-gray color and a powdery texture, this bloom offers the chocolate a softer flavor. In addition, it looks like fungus or mold that has grown on chocolate.
- Chocolate makers can’t manage how their products are stored after they’ve been made, so they aim to prevent bloom throughout the manufacturing process.
It is generally accepted that cocoa butter can exist in six polymorphic forms. During the manufacture of chocolate, a tempering stage is necessary to ensure that all the cocoa butter crystallizes in form V, thereby making the product stable and giving it a high level of gloss and snap. The crystallization of fat on the surface of the chocolate is referred to as fat bloom. During storage of a well-tempered chocolate under standard storage conditions, the polymorphic transformation continues, and form V of cocoa butter transforms to form VI. This transformation is commonly accepted as being responsible for bloom in chocolates stored under cool ambient conditions. Some believe that cold storage (lower than 18ºC) will prevent this polymorphic transformation of form V to VI, keeping the chocolate free from bloom indefinitely. In addition to this, two other common causes of bloom in chocolate are the melting and recrystallisation of the fat due to storage at high temperatures, and crystallization of fats due to incompatibility of cocoa butter with other added fats (2).
Tempering problems of chocolate
Before chocolate can be used for molding or enrobing (coating) it must be tempered so that it can set rapidly and uniformly with good permanent color, texture and gloss. Chocolate can be set in five states, only the more stable of which gives the desired gloss and snap. To achieve this stability it is necessary to cool down the chocolate with continuous mixing to produce a multitude of ‘seed’ fat crystals and distribute them uniformly throughout the mass of liquid chocolate thus providing nuclei for subsequent crystallization. During this operation changes in viscosity can be used to obtain a measure of the condition of the chocolate (3).
The procedure of tempering might be difficult. It necessitates carefully controlling the temperature of the chocolate. For a glossy, smoky look, add a few drops of food coloring to the chocolate.
Some chocolate businesses have come up with novel variants to differentiate themselves from the competition. Less tempering results in a porous texture in some of these chocolates. The texture and taste of these chocolates may soon deteriorate. If the chocolate is not properly tempered, it will degrade more quickly, leading to fat bloom.
However, cocoa butter is an exception to the rule when it comes to the Buttery Bloom Fats. At room temperature, it is one of the few fats that remain solid.
When the chocolate containing cocoa butter melts and solidifies incorrectly in storage, it results in a “bloom”. A chocolate bar that has been left out in the sun and then chilled in the refrigerator is an excellent illustration. It develops an irregular surface roughness and a thin covering of white fuzz.
Cocoa butter is responsible for the white spots on chocolate that resemble fungus.
Is chocolate blooming bad for your health?
The chocolate takes on a less appealing appearance once it has blossomed. Mold-like spots mar an otherwise gorgeous brown sweet. It’s a shame. You may consume a bloomed chocolate without fear of harming your health; it is still perfectly fine to do so. Eating it to fulfill your desires will not make you feel guilty.
If you have a sophisticated palate, you could find that the food at this bar isn’t up to standard. When chocolate blooms, part of its flavor is lost in the process. Even if you don’t intend to consume it, you may still use it in recipes that call for melted chocolate, such as baking or making hot cocoa.
Fixing the chocolate bloom
Even though Bloom Bloomed chocolate is still safe to consume, some may find its chalky appearance a little unappealing. Even if it were, that wouldn’t be a valid excuse to discard it. After a quick fix at home, you’ll be able to fulfill your chocolate cravings.
Re-temper your ruined chocolate bar at home to save it. Pour the melted chocolate into a mold of your choice and let it harden. Once the chocolate has cooled, the sugar and fat will have been incorporated back into the chocolate. It’s reverted to its former rich brown hue.
Remember! Your favorite bar of chocolate will lose some of its taste with each re-temper. For the costliest chocolates, this loss in flavor will be most obvious.
Preventing the Blooming of Chocolate
Maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity level are the best ways to avoid chocolate blooms. Whatever the sort of chocolate you’re looking to keep fresh and flavorful, storage is the key. Because of this, chocolates are known to absorb the tastes of any meal that’s nearby. It’s best to keep it in a cool, dry place, away from any odorous materials.
A temperature of 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 50% to 55% is optimum for the long-term preservation of food products. Regular store-bought chocolates have a shelf life of up to six months after the best-before date if kept correctly. Sugar and fat-free chocolate have a longer shelf life than chocolate that includes nuts and wafers.
Temperature, especially high and fluctuating conditions, has a marked effect on the quality and shelf life of chocolate products with the potential to cause loss of temper, fat bloom and accelerated staling. Storage in damp conditions, condensation due to packaging in damp conditions, or condensation of moisture in coolers or fondant centers with high relative humidity giving off moisture which is then trapped in the package can all cause ‘sugar bloom’. This is similar in appearance to fat bloom but with a rough rather than greasy feel and is the result of the moisture extracting soluble sugar from the chocolate and then depositing it in the form of large granules on the chocolate after re-evaporation. Additionally, light-induced rancidity can be a problem with certain products such as white chocolate and chocolate containing poorly coated roast nuts (3).
Other FAQs about Chocolates that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can chocolate get moldy?” and discussed what chocolate blooms are?
- Copetti, Marina V., et al. Fungi and mycotoxins in cocoa: From farm to chocolate. Int j food microb, 2014, 178, 13-20.
- Kilcast, David, and Persis Subramaniam. Food shelf life stability. CRC Press, 2001.
- Man, CM Dominic, and Adrian A. Jones, eds. Shelf life evaluation of foods. Glasgow: Blackie Academic & Professional, 1994.