Raw flour dangerous to eat?

OlychickJune 11, 2013

I was looking at recipes for making truffles on a stick, like cake pops, and found one on Pinterest called Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough truffles. It contains no eggs, but the rest of the ingredients are about the same as for the cookies. There was a link in the recipe to this article from the NY times about the dangers of eating raw cookie dough (well known because of potential salmonella in the raw eggs) but also the potential of E.coli in raw wheat! Who knew?

So my question is, if I want to make this recipe and use raw flour, could I just bake the flour to make sure it's safe? What temp and how long would you think? Would it change the taste or texture of the flour if I didn't let it brown?

Thanks for your ideas. (I have other recipes, but my friend would LOVE this one).

Here is a link that might be useful: Raw cookie dough dangers

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grainlady_ks

I'm going to contact my food safety guru at Kansas State University for more information. You need to be careful heating flour because it's also combustible. Much of today's grains, seeds, nuts, spices, etc., are irradiated or pasteurized for the purpose of controlling microorganisms such as E. coli and other foodborne pathogens. I do know Wheat Montana wheat is NOT irradiated or pasteurized, and that information is probably not mandated on labeling, so it's going to be impossible to know for sure. The question will be at what temperature and for how long will it take to pasteurize?

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:16AM
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sleevendog

I would think microwaving for 1-2 minutes getting above 160 should do the trick? Do any commercial flours label 'heat treated?". When we 'flour' the surface for bread baking, the non-wet flour goes along with the cooking process and comes out still raw tasting flour. Hmm.
(...and why i use a cracked grain instead. do not like the raw flour taste on my bread)

Just guessing. Will be interesting to hear what the experts think. I don't like raw cookie dough, never have. Nestle heat treats their flour now after realizing their TollHouse fridge dough is very often purchased to eat raw. (gross)

This post was edited by sleevendog on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 8:52

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Olychick

After posting here, I looked around on the internet and a few people did suggest microwaving, stirring frequently to keep from browning and testing the temp to above 160F. But I couldn't find any gov't sites, just bloggers and I'm curious what food experts say. Thanks for your replies and I appreciate your help, Grainlady. Wait to hear what your expert says.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:22AM
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grainlady_ks

Here's the information I received via e-mail from K-State:

Flour is a very low risk food on its own as far a bacteria is concerned. So there is no reason to heat treat it or pasteurize it.

The concern is when it is mixed with other ingredients such as to make cookie dough or [homemade] play-doh. In cookie dough there are raw eggs which are much more of a foodborne illness concern if raw cookie dough is eaten. With the play-doh, once it is handle by dirty hands or put on dirty surfaces, that is where contamination comes from.

So the flour is not the problem. Flour is not pasteurized or irradiated from any mill. If it were irradiated, it would have a statement saying so and/or a Radura symbol that indicated it was irradiated. If it were pasteurized, it would also be stated on the label.

So I do not have recommendations to treat flour.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: K-State Rapid Response Center

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Olychick

Thanks, Grainlady, I appreciate you checking on it.

It's still confusing because the raw cookie dough illness from Nestle refrigerated dough wasn't caused by eggs because they were pasteurized and the only thing that wasn't heated in the dough was the flour (and the choc chips), so now Nestle heat treats the flour to make sure it is safe to eat raw. Hmmm. Still makes me a little nervous, so guess I'll just find a different recipe.

Here is a link that might be useful: cookie dough illness

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:03PM
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annie1992

Grainlady, my friend at the Michigan State University extension service agrees, flour is a "extremely" low risk food and there are no recommendations that she is aware of to treat it in any way.

My only issue with uncooked flour would be the taste, I don't care for the "uncooked flour" taste in some gravies and sauces if they are not cooked long enough, and that's why I don't really like raw cookie dough or cake batter.

As I understand it, the illness from the cookie dough was caused by e.coli, which is generally associated with feces or contaminants unlike salmonella, which is linked to raw eggs, among other things. The FDA did find e.coli in samples of the recalled dough, although it was a different strain than that found by testing the people who became ill. The response from Nestle was to shut down the line, do an "investigation", clean the line, obtain fresh ingredients and immediately proceed to make new cookie dough, which did not make anyone ill (apparently). It appears that the culprit was contamination in the equipment, from the workers, or in the ingredients, not an ongoing problem with any particular food substance.

So if you like raw flour, I think you're pretty safe eating it but if it makes you uncomfortable I certainly wouldn't do it.

Annie

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:40PM
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sleevendog

I'm with Annie about floury flavors. Pale thick gravies and gluey chowders. NewOrlean style gumbo caramel roux is more my style. Never understood the cookie dough obsession. I get a stomach ache just thinking about it.

I'm always overly cautious with pot-luck party food. Often double batches not chilled enough or not as hot as should be. I tend to er on the safer side when making something for a crowd. My neighbor just had a book come out for her chocolate very impressive creations. (we get plenty of samples!). Her truffles are wonderful and she has a 'cookie dough' look-a-like but is cooked. (i don't have the book or recipe yet)
Must be something similar to what you want doing a search. Something cooked, then chilled, then formed...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 7:16AM
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dcarch7

Somewhere along the way from the manufacturer to the store shelves to your pantry, insects can get in and multiply.

That's what I found recently, a new pack of flour crawling inside with some very tiny bugs.

Although I don't think eating live bugs is harmful.

dcarch

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 7:39AM
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ruthanna_gw

This doesn't answer the safety question but at this very moment, there is a pint jar of cooked flour on my kitchen counter.

I put about a cup and a half of AP white flour in a frying pan and cook it over medium heat, whisking frequently, until it is a deep golden brown color. It takes a while.

Browned flour is an essential ingredient in PA Dutch kitchens. Mixed with water into a slurry, it adds a depth of color and flavor while thickening gravies, soups or stews. When added to melted butter, it becomes the base for white sauces without that raw flour taste that Annie mentioned.

Bacteria isn't the reason I make browned flour but it's not a difficult process.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Olychick

Thanks everyone. Sleevendog, let me know the name of the cookbook; maybe I'll get buy it and use her recipe. I make truffle cake pops with oreos or thin mint cookies mixed with cream cheese, then rolled and dipped in chocolate. The mixture almost has the texture of raw dough.

I wonder if using an already baked sugar cookie with some butter and brown sugar whirled in along with the cream cheese might replicate the raw dough. Then stir in the choc chips... maybe I'll do some experimenting.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 12:27PM
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sleevendog

Yes, that is the idea to give the cookie dough texture. Maybe just make half-baked cookies, cool and cuisinart with crm cheese, then add the extras like choc chips to the ''batter'. Now that i might try! No raw taste.

Hey, that browned flour sounds swell ! I'm going to use that, thanks!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:11PM
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espicer

It'd be hard for me not to eat peanut butter cookie dough! On par with eating the cookies to me! I wonder on the illnesses just how much was caused by the end users hands, counters and the like. Sounds like a kneejerk reaction to blame the flour since it was the only thing they could think of. Did someone not wash their hands after using the bathroom? Sounds more likely than flour infecting them.

Thanks Grainlady and Annie1992 for checking on this.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 1:18AM
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