About this module
Maintaining a good practice for cooking and storing your ingredients is key, particularly when you’re running a business! In this module, we share important tips on keeping your ingredients fresh, what to look out for to avoid contamination, and other vital criteria to keep in mind when preparing food.
As a baker and entrepreneur, baking a fantastic product for customers to taste is our passion, but serving a product that is safe to eat is a responsibility towards our customers.
Every home baker knows that hygiene and cleanliness is essential before, during and after the baking process. But what are some concepts and best practices of a professional kitchen that a home baker can implement during food preparations, that protects not just the customers, but also everyone involved in the baking production?
There are 3 key areas that we have to look into during baking preparations that are key to ensure the best practices in the kitchen.
Take a minute to think about the things that causes food poisoning, they would fall into 1 of 3 categories:
Biological contamination: when bacteria or other harmful microorganisms contaminate food. We have all experienced this in many ways, such as finding mouldy bread or the smell and taste of spoiled nasi lemak that has been left out for too long in the Malaysian weather.
To avoid this from happening, you want to limit the conditions for bacteria growth. The six ways to prevent bacteria contamination, FATTOM, which was explained in the previous Module 3.1 Hygiene and Safety: During Storage.
Using the principles of FATTOM, here are the main ways by controlling time and temperature.
As we know, the best way to destroy bacteria is by heating. This process is also used to preserve some foods.
In baking, all products are baked at 160°C or more which kills most bacterias during this process.
When cooking the chicken filling for example, the internal temperature must reach above 72°C to ensure that it is safe for consumption.
A few things to note is that the temperature danger zone is between 5 and 60°C, especially above 30°C, where harmful bacteria multiplies the fastest in food.
Certain baked products such as cream puffs and tuna mayo sandwiches, if left out at room temperatures for more than 2 hours, are more likely to cause bacterial spoilage.
As a general rule of thumb, keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot.
Plan your production so that cold food such as desserts and cakes, hot foods such as pies and quiche should be consumed or delivered within 2 hours.
Otherwise, keep it in the refrigerator at 5°C or below. Hot food at 60°C or above in the oven or hot holding cabinet.
For items such as custards and egg fillings that you prepare for use at a later time, speed up the cooling process to reduce time in the danger zone.
Here is a tip: cool it down faster by placing it in a large, shallow container before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. A shallow container has a larger surface area for cooling.
Monitoring and controlling food temperatures are extremely effective ways to minimise the risk of foodborne illness.
Physical contamination, examples include maintaining good personal hygiene and pest control.
To maintain personal hygiene, hair nets, aprons and gloves are worn during food preparations.
Wearing dark-colored gloves are also useful, so it is easily detected if it falls into the food.
This is to avoid foreign objects from entering the food during the preparation and production process.
Examples of physical contamination are hair, jewellery, pests, nail etc.
Besides that, All food establishments must have a pest control program.
An effective pest control program includes: exclusion of pests, removing food sources by good practices, controlling pests with appropriate methods.
Pests are unwanted plants, animals, insects, germs or other organisms that spread disease, which can damage and contaminate foods.
Chemical Contamintation. Pesticides or herbicides, cleaning chemicals if found on food may cause serious health effects.
Therefore, having proper storage of cleaning supplies and chemicals, as well as having separate storage areas help to minimise the risk of this contamination.
Preparation areas have to be disinfected to make sure it is safe for food production. The most common ways of disinfection are by using hot water, steam or a suitable disinfection.
Food places must be kept clean and tidy at all times. Even if a surface looks clean, it may still have bacteria on it.
These are some guides to practice adequate food safety during production and food preparations. To recap, the main ways to stop food poisoning are:
- to stop bacteria getting on to the food,
- to stop bacteria on the food from multiplying to a dangerous level,
- to destroy the bacteria on the food.
We can maintain hygiene by enforcing it in our kitchens and workspaces, to practice good habits, proper cooking and baking techniques as well as having the knowledge and understanding to train and guide other food handlers.