The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Do I have to clean my mixing bowl?

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JamieD's picture
JamieD

Do I have to clean my mixing bowl?

hi there,

I bake bread quite a bit during the week and it often annoys me to have to clean my mixing bowl as my sink is pretty small. I know this might sound a bit silly but do I have to clean it? I know that the people who wrote Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day recommend not cleaning it out as it can add flavour to the next batch of dough (though they are keeping their dough in the fridge).

so I waif wondering if anyone could help me out with this - would not cleaning it mean I get some sort of nasty disease? 

Many Thanks,

Jamie

mcs's picture
mcs

You shouldn't be getting extra flavors or even flavours from your mixing bowl.

-Mark

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Jamie,

Whenever I bake, I usually rinse my bowls, spoons, spatulas, etc., as I go. When I'm done, they sit there on the counter, waiting for one of two things, whichever comes first. Either they will be washed, because it is time for dishes to be washed, and they happen to be among the crowd, or they will be used again for more baking. I've never had any problem using a rinsed, but not washed, bowl, spoon, or spatula. If you think about it, the last organisms to have contacted your bowl were yeast and good bacteria, right? Now, having said all that, if they sit for more than a couple days, as sometimes happens at my house, I will squirt some dish soap on them, wash 'em up real quick, then rinse and use. But I really think even that is not entirely necessary. Back in the way-back days, all of their bowls were either rock or wood, and they didn't have soap. Nowadays, we have plastic and metal bowls, and the occasional dish detergent. Disclaimer: I also sometimes eat meat, and/or drink milk that got left out of the fridge all night. And by sometimes, I mean that it sometimes happens that it is left out all night.

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

We will often go from one batch of dough right into another one without even rinsing bowls and hooks. It works fine if you go from white dough to darker doughs... like say, baguettes to light whole wheat to whole wheat. If there is more than five or ten minutes between mixes, better to wash (or at least rinse.) so that no hard dried up dough makes it into the next batch.

Another thing, if any dough uses common allergens (milk, eggs, etc) it is always washed, rinsed, and santised before moving on.

Cheers

Paul

BreadBro's picture
BreadBro

Gross. Clean your bowls.

I use water, a small amount of soap and a plastic mini scraper to remove the dough. The quicker you clean it, the easier it is to remove. 

judsonsmith's picture
judsonsmith

We do the same as PastryPaul, go from a simple dough like baguette dough to a messier one like multigrain with no cleaning other than a quick scrape in between. We fully clean and sanitize after all the days mixing is done-  I wouldn't mix dough in a dirty mixing bowl from days ago without cleaning it first.

Jud

carefreebaker's picture
carefreebaker

From experience, I recommend cleaning the bowl. I decided to try not washing as suggested in AB in 5 and it ended up giving the bread an off taste after repeatedly not washing the bowl. In my opinion, it doesn't give a sour dough taste. I soak the container and when I wash it, it cleans easily. We didn't get sick. Try it yourself and see what you think.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

There is not washing and not washing, I don't think anybody is suggesting not washing up at the end of the day or going from yeast dough to chocolate cake batter.  If you do as Paul suggests going from similar dough to similar dough in a fairly rapid succession I don't see a problem.  Most bakeries will also rework small amounts of excess dough from similar batch to similar batch and over the last 10 to 15 years allergens have been kept in mind. 

Gerhard

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Do I have to wash my hands?  or how about...  Do I have to share my food?

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Hands probably spread more contaminants than anything else in the bakery so good hand washing practices can't be over empathized.  One of my pet peeves is the use of food service gloves where the user feels they are provided for the protection of their hands not the food.  I have seen employees at a fast food restaurant use gloved hands to handle money, scratch various body parts,  push garbage down in the garbage can etc. and then continue working with food preparation.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Like several others here, I start with my white dough and end with darker dough, without cleaning the bowl after each batch. But I make one after the other.

If you don't wash the bowl and dough hook, it's not bacteria you have to fear - because the dough will dry out, before it can get contaminated - but getting these hard, dried dough bits into your fresh dough. And they will not soften again.

Karin

JamieD's picture
JamieD

Thanks a lot for you responses everybody - they've been really helpful. 

i guess the conclusion is you can push it a little bit but not much which is what I figured anyway. I may want to save on washing up but even I wouldn't mix in a bowl that has been sitting there dirty for a couple of days - but changing from one dough to another probably isn't going to make much difference.

still a pain in the arse to clean dried dough off a round surface like a bowl though as I can't really use my dough scraper :P.... Alas, I suppose that's what god made fingernails for....

cheers everyone,

jamie

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Jamie, pick up a flexible dough scraper with a rounded edge, like these:

Flexible scraper at King Arthur

at thewebstaurantstore

For only 60c to just under $2, it's an affordable and very useful tool.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Jamie,

Dried dough bits aren't a problem if you just rinse your bowl after use. If you are in the zone, and don't think about or don't take the time, and dried bits happen, fill the bowl with water for a few minutes, and once again it will be easy to wipe away all the mess. I guess I am just a gross guy. If I rinse the bowl, it is clean enough for me to use again, even the next day. But, if it sat for a few days, I would wash it with soap. Now, if I were baking bread professionally, I would probably be a little more particular about the cleaning, because of regulatory agencies. They tend to be picky. Like I said before, if you jump into the way-back machine, and think about how it used to be, before we hit the chemical cleanser revolution (I just made that up), people weren't so paranoid. Even further back, before saponins were discovered, the "washing" was done with just water.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

If you think far enough back food borne illness was much more common.

Gerhard

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

gerhard,

I don't want to be too argumentative, but just for fun, let's go with your statement - "food borne illness was much more common." I guess you are probably right. I don't even know if that's true. We'll say it is. But, now we're in such ambiguous territory. When exactly was this true? Was there a time before when it wasn't so? In other words, was it an interlude in history, or had it always been that way, until it wasn't? Where was it true? Was it true everywhere in the world, or just in some cultures, or in some geographical locations? There are so many more questions we could ask. But let's not.

I simply believe that it is possible to relax a little from our modern standards, because I think they are generally overdone. For instance, it has been said that antibacterial soaps are actually bad, because they kill even the good bacteria that are supposed to be on our skin, plus they help create a culture of resistant bugs that are difficult or impossible to get out of our system once they are in. And why are there good bacteria on our skin? They help kill the bad bacteria, before they get a chance to kill us. The same reason that lactobacillus naturally occur in un-pasteurized cow milk. It makes the milk stay healthy. In many ways, we are killing ourselves, because we are trying so hard to stay alive. That's all I'm trying to say. I do believe in keeping things clean, just not so clean that it breeds death.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Well, it was certainly true in MY lifetime.  You won't catch me dead using a wooden spoon, EVER, or using a wooden cutting board to actually cut anything more food-like than bread on.  Why? Because people I know have been made sick by such things.  The supposed "self-sterilization" effects of wood are way over rated. Not to mention all the "flu" people got that was actually food poisoning from improperly home-canned food. 

I also hate sponges with a passion.  My son insists on buying them, but I keep about a dozen cheap wash clothes next to the sink, rolled up and standing on end in one of the new Pyrex loaf pans (which turn out pyramid shaped loaves so I refuse to use them for baking).  I have a small white plastic can near the sink.  I use the wash cloth, wring it out, and hang it on the side of the plastic can to dry.  They get washed and sterilized with bleach before being used again.  Sponges are just little bacteria factories yearning to spread the largesse.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

It is hard to argue with what you say but I would say generally we are safer now than at anytime previous from contracting food borne illness.  Now if the question is if this is at the cost of our immune system being able to fight off or live with bacteria naturally found in our environment that is probably also true.  The question the way I understood it was  is it safe to not wash your mixing bowl and I agreed that it was within certain parameters.  Generally bakeries produce safe products, bread is sterilized in the baking process but if toxins are present from poor production practices heat will not destroy those though I can't recall an incident with bread.  

On a side note in Canada we just had a death from raw milk cheese, hope it doesn't put the artisan cheese maker out of business but something in his process has to change.  I don't know the cause of the problem but  would think it be caused either by sanitation or contaminated ingredients.

Gerhard

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

gerhard,

Thanks for playing. Of course, you are absolutely right. There is a need for common-sense sanitation practices. I would be inclined to believe that most food-borne illness comes from the most basic sanitation practices not being followed at all. Like those employees you've seen that use gloves to protect their hands, and don't get that the gloves are there to protect the food from things that may be already on their hands.