Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
pastrygirl

Leaving dough out

Recommended Posts

What do you all think is the safety level of leaving raw shortbread out at warm room temp (75-80f) for 18 hours?  Assume no eggs, just butter, sugar, and flour.... 

 

It will be baked, but I still fear that pathogens could grow. Or maybe it’s my years of pastry experience wherein cold dough has always been easier to handle and that’s why it seems so wrong. 😂

 

(This is not my doing, I have a renter in my kitchen.)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I''m no expert, but I"m assuming that the internal temperature of the baked shortbread would be high enough to eliminate anything growing, correct?  Do you know what the internal temp is when fully baked?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, KennethT said:

I''m no expert, but I"m assuming that the internal temperature of the baked shortbread would be high enough to eliminate anything growing, correct?  Do you know what the internal temp is when fully baked?

 

Yes, there’s a kill step, she tends to bake things pretty light, but breads approach 200f so I suppose the internal temp of blonde shortbread should still be above 165 and kill salmonella. 

 

Long-proofed bread doesn’t creep me out, wonder why this does 🤔

 


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can keep butter at room temperature for a couple of days without worrying about safety, only thing to worry about is it going rancid. So if the dough is just butter + sugar + flour then there are no risks. To cook it you must reach gelification point of starches, which is usually over 195°F.

The problem is about its quality, not the best way to get great results.

 

 

 

Teo

 

  • Like 2

Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, teonzo said:

You can keep butter at room temperature for a couple of days without worrying about safety, only thing to worry about is it going rancid. So if the dough is just butter + sugar + flour then there are no risks. To cook it you must reach gelification point of starches, which is usually over 195°F.

The problem is about its quality, not the best way to get great results.

 

 

True, but wouldn't the 15-20% water that's in the butter be enough to support life for any microbes that are in the flour?  Even if you're going to kill them later, why let them multiply to begin with?  Maybe chocolatier-ing has made me paranoid about available water ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Microbes are in the butter too, as are in the air. It depends on the Aw, when mixing flour and sugar to butter you lower it.

 

 

 

Teo

 

  • Like 1

Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other than the cringe-inducing why would you do that to begin with, I agree with Teo that leaving butter out for a day or two doesn't harm much.  But there is the issue of salmonella present in flour (there's been a few recalls in the last few months here) and the water in the butter could be sufficient to support bacterial growth.  Cooking it in the oven would kill them, I know, but why invite trouble?

 

It's the quality that I'd be worried about.  And the spread of the cookies will be more than if they are baked cold....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is her reasoning for leaving it out, exactly?  I am with you that trying to handle room temperature dough is ugh.

 

That said, I cannot imagine this being very different than leaving butter out to soften for the creaming method (actually one of my pet peeves is bakers leaving butter out like that, but that is a discussion for later).  Here in TN, our food laws pretty much mirror ServSafe standards and as far as I know from teaching ServSafe for the past 5 years, butter is not considered a TCS food.  But it depends on what your state laws are.  Some states are draconian with their laws and might frown upon it.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Merry Berry said:

What is her reasoning for leaving it out, exactly?  I am with you that trying to handle room temperature dough is ugh.

 

I don't know, soft dough is easier in terms of strength requirements - rolling cold dough is a workout.  She leaves butter and frosting (American buttercream, I think) out overnight, too.  I'm secretly hoping one day the butter will fully melt and drip all over.  Maybe in July, it hasn't gotten much above 80f in there yet.  Personally, I keep my butter cold, if I need to cream it I'll cut it into pieces and by the time I've mised everything else out it's soft enough.  If not I torch the bowl as it's beating.  I'll let shortbread warm up a bit  so it shatters less but I still want it cold enough to hold its shape.  Doesn't almost every pastry dough recipe say to chill before rolling?  Oh well, there's more than one way to bake a cookie.

 

Dough does go bad eventually, gets funky or cheesy after too long but I guess you all are right that it's not really that hazardous and baking will sterilize it anyway.  As long as she pays her rent, I won't report her to the authorities 😂


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At some point, the butter left out overnight will be too soft for what she needs to use it for;  she'll figure it out the first time it happens.

 

When I make cookie dough for rolled cookies, I let the finished dough sit for half an hour in the mixer bowl, then I roll it between sheets of parchment, put it on a sheet pan, date it and then store it in the cooler :)

 

You have to tell us what she does with it today - did it bake ok?  Inquiring minds want to know ;)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rolling that kind of dough at room temperature is almost impossible, it's too soft. The only "good" reasons to keep it out of the fridge overnight are if there is no space in the fridge, or if she is going to pipe small cookies with a pastry bag. If she needs to roll it then doing so is just a big error on her workflow, much better to keep it in the fridge then giving a quick round in a planetary mixer with a paddle attachment to soften it enough.

It's her error, not yours, it's not harming your work, so let her work the way she likes. If it's not the optimal then she is the one paying for the consequent troubles (lost time, worse quality, so on).

 

 

 

Teo

 

  • Like 1

Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, JeanneCake said:

At some point, the butter left out overnight will be too soft for what she needs to use it for;  she'll figure it out the first time it happens.

 

True!

 

4 hours ago, JeanneCake said:

You have to tell us what she does with it today - did it bake ok?  Inquiring minds want to know ;)

 

 

I’m off today, sorry!  We try not to overlap working because either she has the oven on while I’m making chocolate (not good when it’s already warm) or I need the oven myself. 

 

1 hour ago, teonzo said:

Rolling that kind of dough at room temperature is almost impossible, it's too soft. The only "good" reasons to keep it out of the fridge overnight are if there is no space in the fridge, or if she is going to pipe small cookies with a pastry bag. If she needs to roll it then doing so is just a big error on her workflow, much better to keep it in the fridge then giving a quick round in a planetary mixer with a paddle attachment to soften it enough.

It's her error, not yours, it's not harming your work, so let her work the way she likes. If it's not the optimal then she is the one paying for the consequent troubles (lost time, worse quality, so on).

 

 

All this is true, not my problem, I just think it’s kinda gross. :/ As long as it’s not dangerous, she can have her warm dough. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some recipes for German gingerbread cookies say to keep the dough out at room temperature for several days before baking, but there is no butter. Just sugar, syrup, spices and flour. My two cents.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is she baking the cookies for sale?  If so, I think she ought to be (or to become) aware of health concerns at all times and not take unnecessary chances with her customers' health.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Is she baking the cookies for sale?  If so, I think she ought to be (or to become) aware of health concerns at all times and not take unnecessary chances with her customers' health.

 

Yes, she does a couple of farmers markets and is trying to get wholesale customers. 

 

I'm trying to believe that baking is enough and maybe it is (hopefully), but then I start thinking how moist, low acid foods are perfect bacterial breeding grounds and I'm still grossed out.  I'm thinking of cooked rice and baked potatoes - would you leave those out for 18 hours at 75F then assume it's fine as long as it's re-heated to 180F?  Again, maybe, hopefully, but can you be 100% sure?  I'm not normally a germ-ophobe, I eat street food, leftovers, occasionally invoke the 5 second rule, scrape the mold off my cheese, whatever, but I've never seen this practice professionally and it would never occur to me to let dough sit out an extra 17 hours just to avoid the hour it takes to come up to from fridge temp.  And risks that I'm willing to take are not necessarily risks that the general public can or should take.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

And risks that I'm willing to take are not necessarily risks that the general public can or should take.

 

That says it all. I would eat the cookies she bakes, but I wouldn't sell them to others (not even with my food safety insurance). Never mind liability, I would think that everyday charity would dictate not subjecting others to anything with a chance (however remote) of harming them. I have tested the Aw of my shortbread cookies that I include in some chocolate fillings, and (as might be expected) it was very low (the water having been baked out of the dough), but I don't think water activity reflects all the issues there might be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Jim D. i was thinking of your aW meter. Doing any baking soon?  I’d be curious what the aW of raw cookie or tart dough is. Maybe the sugar absorbs any water in the butter and activity is lower than I think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

@Jim D. i was thinking of your aW meter. Doing any baking soon?  I’d be curious what the aW of raw cookie or tart dough is. Maybe the sugar absorbs any water in the butter and activity is lower than I think?

 

As a matter of fact, yes, I do plan some baking. I'll test the dough and report.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

As a matter of fact, yes, I do plan some baking. I'll test the dough and report.

 

Thanks!  I trust science :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive my impudence, but you guys are exaggerating a bit.

It's ok to leave butter at room temperature for at least 2 days, no problems about microbial growth since butter has a low Aw. The bigger problem of leaving butter at room temperature is that it risks to go rancid.

Having said that, that incriminated dough is made adding sugar and flour to butter. Sugar absorbs water and lowers the Aw sensibly. Same with flour. So the risks are even less. Then this dough is cooked in an oven to hard pasteurization.

If you pick a chocolate bonbon near its expiry date and measure its microbial content, then compare it with the microbial content of that dough (both just before cooking and after cooking), then be sure the thing with the higher microbial activity is the bonbon, even if compared with that raw dough. But you keep selling chocolates with that expiry date.

 

Some more considerations.

What about buttercream in the wedding cakes? Is it enforced by law to build a wedding cake in a walk-in refrigerator, then put it out just few minutes before it's going to be eaten? Most wedding cakes are made at least a day in advance and are stored at room temperature. Nobody ever complained. Buttercream is full of butter.

What about levain / sourdough starter? It's just flour + water, the Aw is much higher than the one of butter. It's left for days at room temperature, more than that dough. Then it's cooked in an oven, like that dough. Nobody ever complained.

 

 

 

Teo

 

  • Like 3

Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@teo good points, you’re probably right. But that’s why I asked, it  seems intuitively wrong to me but maybe it’s perfectly safe, just not my way of doing things. 

 

Speaking of buttercream, I had a guy stop by to demo an aw meter once and all I had around was Italian meringue buttercream so we tested that. I was surprised at how low it was, something like 0.55. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@pastrygirl, in spite of Teo's arguments against our concern over leaving raw dough out of refrigeration, I went ahead and tested it. I made Ina Garten's recipe for shortbread cookies (but omitting the vanilla so as to reduce ingredients to the simplest possible):  170g butter, 198g sugar, 210g all-purpose flour. The reading for water activity was 0.65. Not exactly rock-bottom, but probably not alarming. I realize that free water content is not the only concern, and I don't believe Aw helps with understanding microbes and such. All this being said, I still wouldn't leave dough out, mostly because of the near-impossibility of working with it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Jim D. Thank you for taking the time to do that and satisfy my curiosity.  Wybauw says ganache at  < 0.65 is microbially stable so yes, @teonzo, you're right, nothing much is going to grow overnight and it'll be baked anyway. 

 

But how do you like Ina's shortbread?  I use half that much sugar for the same amount of butter & flour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

But how do you like Ina's shortbread?  I use half that much sugar for the same amount of butter & flour.

 

I like it, but I use it just for cookies that are going to be a part of a bonbon filling (either with vanilla--and a little sea salt, as she specifies--or with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves to go into my "apple crisp" bonbon). When I eat the leftovers, they are delicious, entirely too addicting. Too much sugar?  What does that mean? :rolleyes:

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to put some constructive thoughts.

When dealing with food it's important to know what to avoid (things that can lead to food poisoning), but it's also important to know what you can do (there are no risks) and why. If you focus only on the first, then you loose sight of the second and third, which is not good.

Aw is not the only parameter to look at, that's true. It gives an idea on the multiplication speed of microbes. It does not say which microbes will be there, that depends on the ingredients you are using, the environment and so on.

How can you say if you can expect a food to be safe? If it has low Aw and has no risks due to ingredients and environment, then you can expect it to be safe.

So what about this specific case? We have something that is composed by butter, flour and sugar. Flour and sugar give no troubles (assuming they are dealt in the correct way, which should be the case here), they are shelf stable. Only troubles could come from butter. It's a given that butter can stand room temperature for a lot of days, this comes from direct experience from tons and tons of cases: first trouble that comes is rancidity due to oxidization, so your concern is that not bacteria. Just think about butter ganaches: they last LONG, simply because butter has few troubles at room temperature. As Merry Berry wrote, some countries do not consider butter an ingredient that must be stored in the refrigerator.

What happens when we add flour and sugar to butter? Aw is going to lower, since some water will get bound by flour and sugar. So even less risks.

Sugar behaves in different ways when it comes in contact to water. Do we know a case where butter is mixed with sugar and has no troubles after a day at room temperature? Yes, it's buttercream, if there were troubles then we would have heard about lots of food poisonings at wedding ceremonies, not so. Buttercream is riskier than this uncooked dough, since it contains egg whites and more water.

Is there a chance that bad bacteria will form after adding flour to something with water? There is the well know case of flour + water, used to create the sourdough starter. Microbes form there and multiplicate, yes, but they are good ones.

So we start from 3 ingredients that give no troubles after few days at room temperature, none of their combinations can ring an alarm bell. Besides that there is the high pasteurization in the oven.

Before screaming "IT'S RISKY!" it would be better to consider the whole scenario and remember what things can be done.

 

 

 

Teo

 

  • Like 2

Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By pastrygirl
      Anyone have a favorite recipe for chocolate cake using semisweet chocolate?  My usual chocolate cake recipe uses cocoa, but I have some samples of chocolate I want to use up for a workplace party.  Yes, I could make brownies or ganache frosting, or chocolate mousse or chocolate chunk cookies, just feeling like cake this weekend ...
    • By onemorebitedelara.com
      Has anyone used Valrhona Absolut Crystal neutral glaze particularly to thicken a coulis or to glaze a tart?  If so, how did you like it and is there another glaze you think worked as well but is less expensive or can be purchased in smaller quantities?  
    • By Jaymes
      Red Velvet Cake
      It does use a large amount of oil - 2 cups, but it sure ain't "dry." Red Velvet Cake was very popular back in the late 60's & 70's and there were frequently "Red Velvet Cake cookoffs." This recipe won the blue ribbon at several state fairs.
      2-1/2 c sifted cake flour 2 c sugar 1 c buttermilk 1 tsp soda 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp salt 3 eggs 2 T cocoa 1 T white vinegar 1 oz red food color 2 C vegetable oil - regular "buttery flavor" is good but, if you can't find it, use 1 Cup Orville Redenbacher Buttery Flavor Oil for Popcorn (available in the popcorn section at the store) and 1 cup regular vegetable oil to make a total of 2C oil Cream cheese frosting:
      1 stick butter 1 tsp vanilla 8-oz pkg cream cheese 1 16-oz bag powdered sugar dash salt 1 c chopped pecans Cake
      Combine all ingredients; mix well and pour into 1 large or two small buttered and floured cake pans. Bake 300º for about 40 minutes, or until done
      Frosting
      Cream well, then frost well-cooled cake. 
      Keywords: Dessert, Cake
      ( RG466 )
    • By Wholemeal Crank
      I remember making bundt cakes with 'baked-in' filling, and now I wonder:  would a basic fruit curd stand up to being baked in the middle of a bundt cake without horrible texture fail?
       
      Could something like this basic curd work, chilled enough to allow it to be applied with a pastry bag over the half-filled bundt cake batter, and topped with more batter?  Dreaming now of a pistachio cake with pomegranate filling, but thinking about other combinaions as well--what are the key characteristics required in a 'bake-in' filling?
       
      2/3 cup sugar
      2 T cornstarch
      1 cup pomegranate juice
      1/4 cup lemon juice
      5 egg yolks, whisked together
      1/3 cup butter, cut into chunks

      Stirred the sugar, cornstarch and juices together until there were no lumps, then brought it to about 160 degrees. Gradually added it to the whisked eggs, returned to heat, brought to near boil so the cornstarch thickened, then strained it into a bowl, whisked in the butter, and poured into serving dishes to chill.
    • By Galchic
      Hello, folks, thanks for reading.
       
      My husband thinks, I should start selling my popcorn seasonings (which I make for my family), it’s a good product. But I'm not sure if it’s interesting to other people... So, what do you think, guys?
       
      Our story: 
      We’ve bought an air popper machine, but popcorn came out pretty tasteless. Then, we’ve bought different “popcorn seasoning” mixes... But it always ends with all the seasoning at the bottom of the bowl. Then, we've added butter, oil and so on before seasoning...  we got soggy, chewy popcorn. Lot’s of disappointments…
       
      When we almost gave up… the magic happened! I figured out the way to make seasonings that:
      Stick to popcorn, but not sticky to fingers (or T-shirt  , Easy to apply, May be pre cooked in bulk and stored… And popcorn appears crunchy, tasty, thoroughly covered with seasoning.  
      Sounds good, yep? Now, when I want to treat myself  - I only need 2 mins to turn tasteless popped popcorn to a real treat.  
      The only moment - it request 1 extra effort: after you toss it over popcorn, you need to microwave it for 1 min, and stir after.
       
      So, I was wondering, if you like popcorn like myself - would this seasoning be interesting for you to purchase? Are you ready for a little extra work (microwave & stir) in the goal to flavor popcorn, or it feels too much effort?
       
      As I have no experience in manufacturing and retail, your answers would help me to make a very important decision - to dive in or not... 
       
      Thanks in advance for your answers, it means the world to me.
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...