Food Safety Tips for Pastry Chefs

Written by emily weller
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Food Safety Tips for Pastry Chefs
Pastry chefs should wash their hands frequently to keep food safe. (washing hands image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com)

Pastry chefs usually prepare desserts such as cakes and pies as well as breads and ice creams in a commercial kitchen. Although preparing pastries may seem like it carries less danger of food-borne illness than preparing other types of food, such as meat and poultry, pastry chefs must be aware that undercooked eggs and poorly stored dairy products pose plenty of dangers. You can do a lot to reduce the risk of food poisoning from one of your beautiful confections.

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Use Thermometers

Hang an accurate thermometer inside every freezer and refrigerator in the kitchen to make sure food is stored at the appropriate temperature. According to the USDA, freezers should not be warmer than zero degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerators should be at a temperature of 4.44 degrees C or lower.

Use a thermometer when preparing a custard or baking. When cooking, the thermometer will help you know when a food is cooked to a safe temperature and will also prevent you from overcooking certain foods, such as eggs, and accidentally destroying a dessert.

Keep Food Refrigerated

Do not leave certain foods out of refrigeration for extended periods of time. Salmonella and other bacteria can grow quickly when a food is left to sit in temperatures over 4.44 degrees C. To prevent the growth of bacteria, place milk, eggs and other dairy products directly in the refrigerator after receiving a shipment. When preparing a dish, only take out the amount of eggs or dairy that you need and leave the rest in the refrigerator.

Avoid Undercooked Eggs

If you prepare a custard, make sure to heat the custard to 71.1 degrees Celsius to kill any salmonella or other bacteria. Heat the base for ice creams that contain eggs to 71.1 degrees C before churning. Another way to avoid food safety risks from eggs is to leave them out or use pasteurised versions. According to Mark Bittman in his book "How to Cook Everything," a cook can replace the eggs in an ice cream recipe with cornstarch.

Clean Surfaces

Before rolling out a pie crust or hand kneading bread dough, you should thoroughly clean and sanitise the work surface. One way to sanitise a surface is to pour steaming hot water on it. You can also use a chemical sanitiser. After working on the surface, clean and sanitise it once again.

Wash Hands Frequently

When preparing food, wash your hands often. Use warm water and soap and vigorously rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing the soap away. The USDA recommends that chefs wash their hands before and after handling food. They should also wash their hands if they become covered in food while preparing a dish, after using the bathroom and before and after using latex or other plastic gloves.

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