Don’t Eat Raw Dough – An Unfortunate Truth
I know, I know. No one likes the “Don’t eat raw dough” rule. I love eating raw cookie dough as much as the next person, but raw dough really can make you sick. Many folks know not to eat raw batter and dough because of the eggs, but as long as you swipe a taste before the eggs go in, you should be golden, right? Not so much.
What Does Raw Dough Mean?
We call it ‘raw’ dough because it contains raw ingredients, like flour. Flour, when it’s fully baked or cooked in a delightful recipe, is safe and can yield some tasty results. But, when it’s just that fluffy white powder, straight from the bag, can contain some harmful bacteria. Flour is derived from grain that comes directly from the field and is minimally processed (whether it’s wheat flour, sorghum flour, etc.) Typically this flour has not gone through a ‘kill-step’ to ward off bacteria.
What are Kill Steps?
Even though the term sounds a little scary, kill steps are simple processes, like boiling, baking, microwaving, etc., kill the harmful bacteria that may make you, or your loved ones, sick. Once you’ve gone through your chosen kill step, based on the dish you’re creating, that product will be bacteria free and ready for you to eat.
Think of it like the meats you may serve in your home. You would never let your child lick a raw chicken breast or any of the utensils that raw breast had touched, but when the chicken is cooked fully it’s a delicious meal that your family will love. (Another pro-tip, please, please don’t try ‘medium rare’ chicken strips. Just… no.)
How to Handle Raw Dough
Here are some tips to help keep your family healthy when handling raw flour and dough:
- Wash your hands before and after handling
- Make sure to clean and sanitize work surfaces and utensils thoroughly
- Keep raw foods separate from others while preparing to make sure that no cross contamination occurs
- Be aware that flour can spread easily due to its powdery nature
- Being in the kitchen is a great experience for kiddos, but make sure to watch them and explain kitchen safety procedures as you go! Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing cuter than those videos in the kitchen where the kiddos stick everything in their mouths, but no one wants to see any kids sick, so make sure you keep an eye on them as you go. Our friends at the Home Baking Association have a great list of age appropriate duties for kids in the kitchen!
The great news for cookie dough lovers like me is that the market has started to respond to the demand for edible dough. These edible doughs have used heat treated raw ingredients to create a safe, edible product. These products are typically refrigerated, so make sure to read the instructions on safe storage, but then you’re welcome to dig a spoon in and get to snackin’!