Hygiene and food safety in professional pastry making

This article has been updated and transferred to cmevt.com

Basic Hygiene Requirements in a Pastry shop

Whether it is a bakery, restaurant or any other place where food is prepared, there are certain hygiene requirements that need to be maintained. In certain countries these standards are so strict that if any restaurant or bakery is found violating these hygiene standards, they are not allowed to continue their business and their licenses are detained which virtually ensures that they go out of business. With the increase in technology, more and more bakeries are adopting automated processing where the output is a lot more than a small bakery. The hygiene standards here are checked at regular intervals starting from the source of ingredients, delivery of ingredients, storage of ingredients, mixing, baking, packing and finally till the storage of the baked products.

TIP: As an owner, if you can display your workshop  with great pride, to any customer at any time during the day, you know deep down inside that you are following proper hygienic procedures. 

Dangers of contamination

  • The ingredients or the raw materials in a bakery are the ones which are prone to contamination. Pastry shops have to be extra careful as most of the products are high in protein such as dairy products (milk, heavy cream, cream cheese), eggs, etc...
  • Due to the danger of salmonella, eggs should be kept refrigerated at the correct temperature at all times (4° C or less).
  • Foods with high moisture content or containing a lot of water, promote bacterial growth.
  • Temperatures of mixtures that range  between 40 deg. F and 135 deg. F also promote bacterial growth. To prevent bacterial growth, mixtures that are between that range of temperatures, must be quickly brought to a temperature below 4-deg.C  and immediately stored in the refrigerator. An example of this, would be pastry cream, custards, etc.

Precautions to be taken for maintaining good hygiene

  • Cleaning and sanitizing worktables after every use.
  • Avoid handling foods with your hands as much as possible.
  • Properly cover all the food items - The food both cooked and raw is prone to get spoiled if it is left uncovered. At no point should it be left uncovered.
  • Use the raw materials on a first-in-first-out basis - Whenever the raw materials are taken out, they must be on a first-in-first-out basis as by doing so you make sure that the ones that come in earlier are not left to rot. This practice is more convenient and also saves you a lot of money.
  • Make sure that the package is free of any debris - There is a fairly good chance that while moving the raw materials from one point to another, some debris may come in contact with the food.
  • Soak wiping cloths in a sanitized solution when not in use.
  • Use only clean baskets or trays - The baskets and trays used to carry the food must be kept clean each time they are used. These are some measures that need to be taken in any case to ensure that the food stays clean, fresh and free from contamination.
  • Refrigerator and freezer temperatures should be closely monitored and should be kept between 2-4° C, at all times, especially for eggs and dairy products.
  • Make sure that the dishwasher's water temperature is greater than 77 deg. C in order to kill all harmful bacteria.
  • Always sanitize worktables, at the very least, at the end of the day.

 Personal hygiene tips that one needs to maintain

  • Properly wash your hands with soap and water numerous times during the work day.
  • Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water after coming in contact with raw eggs.
  • Keep your hands clean by washing them with soap and water.
  • Keep your fingernails short and clean.
  • Avoid touching your any part of your head or hair when handling food.
  • Don't wear any jewelery while working in a pastry shop or bakery.
  • If you have any injury do not expose it and keep it covered with proper dressing.

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