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Alisha Breese

What are these bright white spots on my chocolate?

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Hello, I’m new to egullet. I’m a pastry professional but an amateur chocolatier. I’ve been teaching myself about chocolate at home, mostly through trial and error. I’ve got this bar that is stumping me and was hoping you all might have some input.

It starts with a layer of tempered dark chocolate, with bread crumbs that have been browned in olive oil and Maldon salt sprinkled over it, then another layer of tempered chocolate over it. About 75% of them all come out with some kind of bloom on them, but a few have these bright white spots that I can’t explain. My guess is maybe the Maldon is attracting moisture? The spots seem to appear within a few hours. The front of the bar has the white spots that mystify me, the back has the random bloom spots. Any ideas??

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By the way the picture example has been handled quite a bit so it’s looking very sad in addition to all it’s imperfections

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Welcome Alisha.

 

I suspect you are correct that they are related to the salt in some way. Have you picked one off and tasted it? Does a drop of water dissolve it?

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Posted (edited)

They taste great- no remarkable off flavors. Water does not dissolve it 😕

...

hmm edited to say I just took a wet brush to it and brushed it over and over and it has come off 

 

what does that mean? Is it some form of sugar bloom? Is there such a thing as salt bloom?


Edited by Alisha Breese Additional info (log)

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The fat bloom (not the white spots) could well be caused by the olive oil. When nut butters (as in gianduja) are enrobed in chocolate, especially dark, they often cause this issue, so the same thing could happen with just plain oil. I had it occur recently when trying to dip some truffle centers that contained gianduja and coconut oil. Some were fine, but many had oily spots showing on the chocolate, even after dipping an extra time or two. I have never heard of bread crumbs in chocolate, but it sounds intriguing; it may, however, require some rethinking if the problem keeps occurring. As you will discover as you experiment with chocolate, there are many possible causes for fat bloom--and every other defect. Chocolate has a mind of its own; this is part of the "fun."

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How much olive oil are we talking about?  Maybe it's getting squeezed out of the crumbs as the chocolate contracts around them.

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@pastrygirl and @Jim D.

 

Honestly I hadn’t considered how much oil may be coming off the crumbs but it makes sense. I will have to rethink this process. And yes- the journey is half the joy, isn’t it? ☺️

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Can you try to taste a little bit of the bright white part (only that) and report back please? To try to understand what happened the first step is understanding what that peculiar bloom is made of (if it tastes mainly sugary, mainly salty, if you detect olive oil / cocoa butter, whatever).

 

 

 

Teo

 

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@teonzo I tried to scrape one off and taste it but it was too small for me to discern any particular flavor, but they did occur over crispy bits which may give credence to the salt/moisture hypothesis, since when salt water dries it looks white (right?)

I’m wondering if I pulse everything a little bit finer if I’ll have this same problem. That’s my next step anyway.

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I disagree with the salt theory. I make a bar with flakes of Maldon inside and it’s not a problem. Lots of people put salt in or on chocolate. 

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So up to now we know these things:

- those spots occurred only on the indentation side of the bar, in correspondence of the bottom of the indentation and on a crispy bit (not on chocolate);

- those spots are all circular, dimensions vary depending on the dimension of the crispy bit on which they generated (at least judging from the photo);

- they come off with a wet brush and some work.

 

The fact that they happen on the bottom of the indentations leads to a sort of compression during crystallization (chocolate shrinks and compresses the bread during crystallization, happens there for geometrical reasons).

The fact that they are circular leads to a sort of nucleation, they should start as small dots then expand.

The fact that they come off with a wet brush leads to think they are made by something water soluble (not fat, unless you noticed something greasy on the bar surface after brushing it), but I don't think it's the case.

It would be useful to know the humidity levels in the room you made and stored them.

 

My actual guess is that those white spots are bloomed cocoa butter, due to two concurring events: chocolate was not perfectly tempered (first photo shows some defects on the indentation side, while the photo of the flat side does not show those defects) and cocoa butter bloomed in those spots because a miniscule drop of olive oil was squeezed temporarily out of the bread, acting as bloom nucleator. Those white spots happened on the zones where the chocolate was not in good temper, since untempered cocoa butter blooms much more easily. Starting from a nucleation agent (the tiny drop of olive oil) that soon after disappears (gets re-absorbed by the bread) should explain the circular shape.

 

One good way to know better is if you still have some bars, then you cut away a little piece with a white spot and submerge it in water. If after some hours it has dissolved, then my proto explanation is wrong for sure (if it dissolves by itself then it's sugar or salt). If it's still there, then probably it has some sense (it's cocoa butter).

 

 

 

Teo

 

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I’m following up to say I tried again with a reduced amount of oil, and slightly finer grind on the crisps 

my only trouble now is technique finesse as I still get some air bubbles (practice practice practice) thank you all so much for your input and sharing your expertise :)

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