Fat Bloom, fat migration, under tempering? Wonder what it could be (pictures attached)

09/07/14 09:37:31PM
16 posts


I made some Dark chocolate yesterday and the bars already have white spots on them. The white spots are exactly where the inclusions (soaked and dehydrated Almonds) are.

Is this Fat Migration, or a tempering issue ?

Chocolate Bars set up in a True T-49 refrigerator with a chocolate/wine thermostat (55-60f).

Really confused as to what is causing this as our conditions are idea.

68f working environment, automatic savage brother tempering machine, vibrating table. etc

Any help would be much appreciated.


updated by @louwegi: 04/10/15 08:33:58PM
09/08/14 06:50:20AM
754 posts

Soaked in what?

What's the temperature of your almonds when you put them in the chocolate - remember if they're too cold or too warm, they will result in localized over temper / under temper. ideally they'd be *slightly* warmer than your chocolate (for example, 89F)

09/08/14 09:18:37AM
16 posts

Soaked in filter water and then dehydrated at 170f for close to to 24 hrs to get rid of some of the enzyme inhibiters which affects digestion.

The almonds are room temp (68-70f).

Ive read over and over that inclusion should be the same temp as the tempered chocolate(88.7f) but for some reason I didn't think it was that big of a deal. In my mind, I thought having inclusions colder than the chocolate would just accelerate the crystallization of the chocolate but not affect the bar negatively.

Thank you so much for the help :)

09/08/14 10:52:11AM
754 posts

quite welcome - let us know if it doesn't work!

09/14/14 04:12:05PM
16 posts

Hey Sebastian,

So we just did another huge production of 600 bars and they bloomed again within 24hrs:(

This time warming the inclusions to 88.7f, our tempered dark chocolate temp.

See pictures.

Its really frustrating because for the last year we have been in a shared commercial kitchen with less than ideal conditions (75-78f) and humidity over 50% sometimes. In that kitchen we successfully made over 30,000 bars with no issues. And now, since moving into our newly built out kitchen with supposedly perfect chocolate making condition, we are struggling like complete newbies..

In the attached picture you can see how badly the bars with inclusions have bloomed. For reference, I also posted a plain dark chocolate bar that came out absolutely perfect from the same batch of Chocolate.

Our process goes like this:

-Load Savage Brothers tempering machine with raw materials at night and set machine to have the chocolate tempered in the morning.

-In the morning we check the temper of the chocolate, if correct, we transfer 30# of tempered chocolate at a time to our Chocovison 3z machine for easier work flow.

-Tempered chocolate is portioned into warmed stainless steel bowl, inclusions are mixed in and then hand poured into molds with a portioning scoop.

-the molds are then put into the True-49 refrigerator(with a wine/choc thermostat) from the bottom up

-once the chocolate is set (pulled of from mold), they are removed from refrigerators and set on racks.

This process has worked well for us at our old kitchen but for some reason isn't working in our new one and its driving us crazy!

On the front of the bloomed chocolates, the white blemishes are directly above inclusions(in this case nuts).

Yesterday, we also tried a different method of setting up the chocolate whereby we filled the bar molds and then let the chocolate bars sit at room temp(69-70f) for 15 minutes until the backs went from liquid to solid matte. Then the bars were placed in the refrigerator(55-60f) to finished the cooling process. These bars unfortunately also had that nightmarish bloom.

Some other info that could help you diagnose this problem:

-64g Chocolate bars.

-1/4 inch thin molds

-vacuum formed molds from Tomric.

Really hope you can help us find the issue

Thanks in advance.

09/14/14 05:23:22PM
16 posts

Another thought is the thermal mass of the entire refrigerator(pictured) when filled with molds.

Maybe the filled refrigerator isn't cold enough and doesn't cool the chocolate fast enough??

There is up to 90 molds in there at a time which probably give off quite a bit of heat

09/15/14 06:35:12AM
754 posts

hmm.. it's always either time, temperature, or contamination. Are you confident your thermometers are accurate? If so, i suppose if your almonds are oil roasted, you may be seeing some residual surface oil from roasting result in surface bloom. Another thought - are you certain it's fat bloom (i.e. could it be sugar bloom? are you getting any condensation on the bars when removed from the cooler?)

i'm afraid i've got to travel for a few days, leaving today, so responses are likely to be delayed.

09/15/14 09:36:37AM
16 posts

Will check the temps again to rule that out.

Our inclusions are soaked and dehydrated which makes for a very stable nut that isn't oily like oil roasted nut or even dry roasted for that matter.

The bars don't appear to have any condensation on them when they are taken out of the cooler. Using the infrared thermometer, the bars are about 75f or so when taken out which is well above the dew point.

We are going to try a couples again today to try and figure the mess out.

Really appreciate the help

Safe travels

09/23/14 09:37:25PM
16 posts

Hey Sebastian

The saga continues.....

We have tried just about everything, including setting up a dedicated "cool" room with a Tripp Lite AC blowing cold, dry 64f air over the bars, heating up the inclusions before adding them to the chocolate, heating up molds, etc.

The bars set up nice and quick but after only 6 hrs they show whitish grey marks where the inclusions are located. What looks like a localized issue eventually effects the whole bar. VERY STRANGE. -See picture-

It also turns out that even the Chocolate bars without inclusions after a week storedat a controlled 71f start to turn whitish grey.

Our next idea was to try using some over-the-counter couverture using our same inclusions and process. The bars turned out perfect! No white spots/blemishes.

Having done this, it got us thinking and it turns out our chocolate took a turn for the worse after receiving a new batch of Cacao Paste. AAAHAA

Have you every seen or heard of anything like this..? Could it really be fungus/mold?

09/24/14 02:09:50AM
86 posts

I must admitt that only now I realized what issue you are talking about. Photos in the first post had a lot of white spots (very small) and they looked like a result of water droplets or condensation.

Didn't know what to say as you seem to have the temperatures dew point

relationship under control.

Only with the last post and pictures I realized you are talking about: large bloomed areas on the inclusions. If I'm correct?.

After reading about your process in the above posts I have a few questions:

1. You batch temper your chocolate, what is the batch size?

2. After chocolate has been tempered, how long does it stay in tempered stage befor you use it?

3. In the morning you check the temper, how do you do it?

4. Have you checked if the instruments on your tempering machine are calibrated? That means that if the chocolate temperature is let's say 80F is the sensor reading (or display showing) the same temperature?

5. Have you tried different temperature settings for your tempering?

I would guess that there is an issue with your tempering and adding inclusions with different temperature makes the problem show up.

Batch tempering chocolate is very often a hit and miss afair as tempered chocolate does not really "hold temper" for a long time.

09/24/14 06:10:18AM
754 posts

Remember, it's always time, temperature, or contamination.

Were you able to validate the accuracy of your thermometers?

If you'd achieved success historically, and if you're successful with the new batch of liquor - meaning you're problematic with only a specific lot of liquor - then i'd look very closely at that liquor. Remember not all liquor is created equal - the amount and type of cocoa butter in it can be different - which means that your tempering process and/or final formulation may need to be tweaked as a result. it's also possible (although unlikely) that you received a batch of liquor that had been contaminated with another type of fat. not know the supply chain you're using it's impossible for me to say.

are you receiving liquor, making your own chocolate, and then mixing/molding it? or are you purchasing finished chocolate from someone? if the latter, have you provided the original mfr lot information and detailed problem log so they can troubleshoot that specific lots production information? Do you have a temper meter you use to check temper?

I can rule out fungal issues w/o asking any more questions - it's not that.

Are you soaking the nuts to attempt to degrade phytic acid for nutritive reasons? if so, might i make a suggestion and eliminate that process - there no evidence it's effective (i've done the study), and increases the likelihood of micro issues quite a bit. You may find marketing value in it; however there's no scientific basis for it.

09/24/14 10:00:16AM
16 posts

1. 80-100lbs

2. Usually let the machine continue to agitate the chocolate for 20-30 once its come to temper (88.7f). then> read below

3. we will dump 40lbs of the "tempered" chocolate from the Savage Bros machine into our large Chocovision set to 88.7f. Once in that machine, we will dip a clean knife in the chocolate and place in our modified refrigerator or cooling room.

4. The machine is fairly new and have never thought to check the instruments on it. How would one do so?

5. We have not. Our temp settings are currently Melt(120f)>Cool(84f)>Heat(88.7f)

I think you might be on to something Peter. We have just started doing larger batches 80-100lbs and since doing so our temper has been a bit all over the place. When the temper is less than Ideal, our thought was it just needed to be agitated longer for the correct tempered forms to proliferate.


09/24/14 10:18:13AM
16 posts

We bought a new thermometers, and checked the temps/humidity of the working environment and refrigerator. Everything seems fine, but the humidity in the refrigerator which gets quite high. I doubt the humidity is the issue as we haven't had any condensation form on the chocolate. The bars are removed as soon as they pull off from the moulds.

Our process involves receiving liquor, butter, and sugar then mixing,tempering and molding.

We talked to our supplier about this specific batch number of paste/butter and they haven't had any complaints from other customers.

Those pricey temper meters seemed unnecessary. Our thoughts have always been that a chocolate's temper is a (yes or no) type of thing which the eye and an easy test (knife tip) would suffice.

As far as the nuts, thats very interesting and will have to look into it. I was also under the opinion that roasting a nut would accelerate the oxidation process and would less stable. Please correct me if Im wrong, as Im no expert.


09/24/14 11:06:37AM
754 posts

the site's not allowing me to respond to your last post, so i'll just do it here.

Trouble shooting remotely's always a tricky proposition. Yes temper meters are expensive, but they do pretty much guarantee success. There's no question as to if you have achieved temper or not. I suppose it's like many things - the value equation changes over time (and certainly with scale) - a tool that may have not made sense when you're very small may makes all kinds of sense as you grow.

It doesn't feel like we've identified what's causing your headaches. Sounds like you're pretty confident in your thermometers, the temperature of the nuts is under control, and the issue appears to be isolated to chocolates made using that one batch of liquor - which suggests it has something to do with the liquor. Perhaps it's fatty acid composition is sufficiently different than what you're accustomed to using (meaning your tempering profile will need to change). It may be that, if so, you could compensate a bit by adjusting your formulation to include some milk fat (2% - 3% at the expense of lowering the cocoa butter) to try to build in sufficient bloom resistance to mitigate whatever's causing the issue from the liquor.

RE: nut roasting, there are difference between air and oil roasting, but generally the lower temperatures you roast at, the slower oxidation occurs.

09/24/14 10:07:52PM
86 posts

I agree with Sebastian that it's very difficult to troubleshoot from distance (and across different unit systems).

I would suggest making a much smaller batch using just plain chocolate (so it can be remelted and reused) with current temperature settings. Than another with cooling stage 2 degrees lower and heating same, than another with cooling stage same but heating 1-2 degrees lower, another with cooling same and heating 1-2 degrees higher.

Check the temper and make bars. Inspect them after a few days and see which ones look best.

This is your best way to find correct tempering settings without temper meter.

Batch tempering is very tricky process to nail down as chocolate temper will change with time. Crystal formation or melting will keep going on resulting in perfectly tempered chocolate losingtemper if it's not used fast.

We have a block with inclusions process where we do batch temper and our batch size isaround 15kg. Chocolate gets tempered, mixed with inclusions and moulded over 15 minutes. You can see the difference between block/bars made at the beginning of the batch and ones made at the end. We just discussed dropping batch size to 10kg or less.

david ghobril
09/28/14 08:13:25PM
4 posts

My vote is oil migration although it is happening relatively quickly but it seems the worst where the nuts are practically poking out of the bars and the oil doesn't seem to have far to go.


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