By Baker/Chef Adam “The Bearded Baker” Majewski
Like in any standard savory kitchen, a bake is only as good as its cleanest surface, and most professional bakers worth their weight in flour, are stuck between the standard of a brewer and a 3 star Michelin restaurant, in their personal standards of sanitation due to the basic agricultural ingredients they use on a day to day bases. Though home bakers, whether beginners or advanced, should all build good habits in sanitation at home in their kitchen at all times, and it matters not whether you plan to try yeasted baked goods or not, proper sanitation practices is where all bakers and even cooks should start their journey of food.
To start off, sanitation both in the standard kitchen as well bakery/bakehouse can be broken down into three main categories; Personal Hygiene, equipment sanitation and maintenance, and the last being proper ingredient storage.
For newer cooks and bakers, these three categories of sanitation may seem like common sense, but before moving on, it must be stated that commonsense for one person is not common to others, so making good sanitation practices is not commonsense, and what’s surprising to most, is that good sanitation practices on an individual basis, is not even commonsense among newer bakers coming out of cooking school.
Why personal hygiene is the best place to start, is because no matter what anyone does in life cleanliness is one of the most important things no matter which field you’re in. Now what most need to understand is that in foodservice, especially in a bakery or Bakehouse, sanitation starts with hands cleaning and showering, which to some will be obvious. What most don’t realize, is that personal hygiene also extends to your personal physical and mental health when working in foodservice. Though at home no one really needs to be extending their personal hygiene to their health, however, it is still something to consider and think about in the grand scheme of things when cooking at home, especially if you will be giving your food to friends. Why is keeping yourself clean while cooking? it is for the most part due to, two major factors, the spreading of disease from yourself to the food you’re preparing and then to the person who is eating your food, and the second being that, even though you may not realize it at first, that is whatever is on your hand whether it be weird tastes or even chemicals that may have left residue on your hand, no matter what it can still be spread from one surface, your hands, to another surface your food whether you think so or not.
Now on to Equipment Sanitation and Maintenence; why keeping your equipment clean and maintained to tip-top shape for cooking has many many reasons, but right off the bat is cross-contamination between different foods as well accountability toward the spread of disease from other ingredients as well chemical contamination from work surfaces that may have just been cleaned or even in some cases have not been cleaned enough and not being wiped down. In the case of baking, keeping equipment clean is of the utmost priority, and if you do choose to take on baking as a hobby, its a habit you will need to pick up and exorcise every time you choose to bake. The reasoning, for the most part, is the same as for if you were to take on brewing beer or wine of any kind because most of the time you are working with yeast most of the time as the ingredient which air rates your baked goods while also acting as the leavening agent. what many people forget and most just do not know is that yeast and most other baked items are classified as living organisms in some form or another and need to be treated as such or they will die, then your screwed espacially if your baking bread.
As for proper food storage, it can be its own class or article all by itself, but to just start you off, a best rule of thumb is keep your dry and wet ingredients separate until your ready to mix ingredients and keep in their respective environmental storage conditions. Now with that said I will leave it there for storage, because I plan to do a full MasterClass specifically on proper food storage. So ’till next time, Love, Peace, And Chicken Greace!