As I was browsing through YouTube for dessert recipes to try out, I came across a lot of no-bake dessert recipes. While I like the convenience of the preparation process, I can’t help to wonder if it is safe to eat raw eggs/flour in these no-bake desserts. So I did a little look up and confirmed that raw flour could also be contaminated with bacteria such as E coli, and raw eggs could have a small chance (about 0.012%) to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
Since a friend who had suffered from Salmonella bacteria shared with me her horrible experience, I would believe those with the poor immune system (including young kids, elderly, preggies) should avoid eating raw eggs and raw flour.
Luckily, I have also come across some sharing online, to heat-treat the flour and pasteurize the eggs so they can be safe to consume even if they are not cooked. While I cannot be sure if they can 100% eliminate any possible bacteria found in the raw ingredients, I would still give it a try to minimize any possible risk, no harm trying, right?
Heat-Treating Flour at home
2 of the possible way to heat-treat flour can be :
- Pour flour into a microwave-safe container – you can choose to treat just a sufficient portion for a single recipe (with a bit of extra just in case you need it) or treat the entire bag of flour.
- Place the flour in the microwave and set it on on high for 30 seconds at a time, stir with a spatula between each interval. Stir well to ensure the flour did not get burnt.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to test the grain in several places to make sure it has reached around 74°C (165°F) throughout.
- If you get a lower reading in any of the area, just stir and heat for an additional 30 seconds until it’s all ready!
- Preheat the oven to 149°C (300°F).
- Similar to the microwave method, spread more flour than the recipe calls for onto a baking sheet, stir the flour, and checking the temp at 2-minute intervals. Always check a few different spots in the pan to confirm the flour is not burnt.
- If flour sticks to the bottom or sides of the pan, discard these stuck-on flour as it will create small clumps that will add an unpleasant texture and spoil the recipe. Since you treat more flour than the recipe needs, you should have sufficient flour for your recipe.
- Leave the flour to cool completely before use. It will roughly take 30 minutes. You can place the pan in the fridge and let it speed up the cooling process.
If the flour is really clumpy, either your microwave might have hot spots/oven might be too hot. You can break it up with fingers, whisk it in a bowl, or sift the flour and discard chunks if necessary.
Pasteurize eggs at home
To pasteurized eggs means we need to cook the eggs briefly at a high temperature, having the yolk to reach a temperature of about 59°C (138°F) and then cooled. Since eggs scramble at a much higher temperature, so it is possible to heat the yolk to pasteurize it without cooking the egg. The eggs still have the consistency of raw eggs (and can be used just like them in any recipe) but microbial growth of harmful bacteria is slowed or eliminated. You can buy pasteurized eggs at some markets, but they’re usually difficult to find and expensive. I tend to pasteurize a few eggs at a time before I use them but if you have a feeling you’ll need a lot, you can do it when you first bring eggs home from the market. You can store the pasteurized eggs in the refrigerator (as you would with regular eggs) and not worry about them again.
- To pasteurize large eggs, place them in a saucepan filled with water and fitted with a digital thermometer.
- Turn on the heat and bring the water up to 60°C (140°F), and keep the water temperature at 60°C (140°F) for 3 minutes.
- (and no more than 142F), reducing the heat on the burner if necessary.
- Remove eggs from hot water and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Store in the refrigerator until needed or use right away.
- Depending on the size of the eggs, bigger eggs might need up to 5 minutes in 60°C (140°F) water.