Background: Probiotics are the most widely consumed functional food. Consumers demand the production of foods also in low-calorie forms.
Objective: In this study, Lactobacillus casei 431 and various sweeteners were used in milk chocolate as probiotic and bulking agents, respectively.
Methods: Samples were prepared by using sucrose or optimum polyols combination. Chocolate samples were stored at two temperatures (4°C and 20°C) for 180 days and the viability of probiotic cells was controlled with the purpose of specifying the presented storage temperature.
Results: The highest probiotic viability was determined in the samples produced with sucrose and stored at 4°C. The cell counts were retained at the functional amount after maintenance for 6 months. Probiotic sucrose-free chocolate was more viscous than control chocolate, although displayed satisfactory sensory attributes.
Conclusion: As a result, the sugared and sugar-free probiotic milk chocolates could be stored at room temperature. Due to the acceptable number of probiotic cells, the sucrose-free chocolates containing probiotics were considered as functional foods.