What is bloomed chocolate? | Friars

So, is Bloomed Chocolate a flowery confection with delightful scents and petal formations? Not quite. Simply put, “Bloomed” is the term given to describe chocolate that has undergone a change in one of two respects, giving the chocolate a whitish / grey appearance on its surface.
The two types of change we’re looking at are Fat Bloom, caused not unsurprisingly by changes to the fats in the chocolate and Sugar Bloom, again not unsurprisingly caused by changes to the sugar content becoming subject to moisture and crystallising on the chocolates surface. We’ve all done it, discovered that long forgotten wrapped chocolate in a pocket. The chocolate coated biscuit that slipped behind another item in the cupboard. Unwrapped them to find ourselves being slightly off-put by that whitish coating which undeniably makes an anticipated chocolate feast a somewhat less desirable prospect. Why, we wonder? What’s happened to my treat?
Well maybe all is not lost. Chocolate that has bloomed is, thankfully, still alright to eat. Yes good news indeed if that biscuit was a fortuitous find. Blooming may limit shelf life and be a little less appetising in looks but is generally safe.
The reason it is safe to eat is that due to its sugar content, chocolate is a non perishable foodstuff. Another good bit of news, if one has the time and or inclination, Bloom can be repaired. This is done by melting down the chocolate (perhaps not the biscuit), pouring into a mould and allowing to cool. What you would be doing is bringing the sugar or fat contents back into the solution, thus restoring that cosmetic beauty.

Fat Bloom

There are some involved scientific explanations as to the processes the fat contents undergo to become responsible for the chocolate Blooming. In less complicated language then, Fat Blooming occurs when the cocoa butter melts and separates from other cocoa solids in the chocolate. As it resolidifies the fat works its way to the surface of the chocolate where it manifests in those white/grey streaks that damage the chocolate’s appearance and give the “Bloomed” appearance.
The Blooming, (more so in respect of Sugar Bloom) can often be attributed to improper storage of the finished product (having spent a bit of time in direct sunlight in a shop window for example), but at the same time chocolate shouldn’t be stored in a fridge or freezer or be subject to temperature fluctuations or extremes.
However, more often, the effect can be traced back to improper tempering of the chocolate, (as is the case with Fat Bloom). This is an area requiring the skills of experienced chocolate makers to ensure the cocoa butter is properly tempered to form uniform crystals within the chocolate, thereby lessening any chance of bloom occurring. Temperatures have to be steadily raised, lowered and raised again to ensure the correct tempering is achieved. The task of tempering is somewhat tedious and time consuming but necessary. Whilst Fat Bloom can result in a chocolate that becomes crumbly and soft, in most cases it is safe to eat. Further, it is safe to melt down and re-temper Fat Bloomed chocolate.

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Sugar Bloom

Sugar Bloom is the result of water interaction with the sugar in the chocolate when the chocolate is exposed to moisture. In this form it is the sugar that separates from the other constituents of the chocolate. Chocolate stored in warmer moist conditions causes the moistureresting on the surface to draw out the sugar, which in turn dries upon the surface in the resultant white crystal form.
This type of blooming can be avoided by proper storage of the chocolate. By this we mean store in a cool dry location, but not the fridge or freezer. If the Sugar Bloom is mild, the chocolate can be saved, simply by scraping off the bloom. If it is beyond saving (in the beholders eye) then it can still be used in recipes or melted which will bring it back into the realms of desirability.

Bloom Avoidance

In a nutshell the important factors are: Tempering correctly during the chocolate making process. Correct storage in the optimum environment.
Do not store in fridges or freezers (despite the temptation in long hot summers). During the making process do not allow your chocolate to be subject to moisture inducing factors. It may seem obvious but remember, ingredients such as berries and fruits contain moisture.
If your well earned bar of chocolate comfort turns out to be looking a little whitish on the surface, remember, it is generally still just as nice and more importantly just as safe to eat.

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