The egg is a vital ingredient to any bakery operation. Its functions range from leavening, binding, thickening or emulsifying to standing alone as its own dish. Regardless of how you use eggs in your bakery, the American Egg Board offers certain “rules of thumb” to remember to keep your eggs incredible and edible.
General Egg Handling and Storage
From the moment eggs arrive at your shop, keep them refrigerated. The best temperature to store eggs is at or below 45º F; do not freeze them. Shell eggs should always be stored in their case. Keep them away from other foods with strong odors, such as fish, apples or onions. Remove eggs from the refrigerator only when you are immediately ready to use them, and follow the “first in / first out” rotation—use up the older eggs first. When storing egg flats or trays, keep them away from grills and stoves.
As with any handling any food, always wash hands with soap and warm water before handling eggs. Be sure to discard any eggs that are cracked or not clean. When preparing foods that contain eggs, use clean, sanitized utensils and equipment, and do not reuse utensils, equipment or containers that have come in contact with raw eggs.
When preparing egg dishes, you want to cook in small batches, no larger than three quarts. Cook eggs thoroughly until the entire dish is firm and there is no liquid left. Do not leave your egg dish at room temperature for more than one hour—this includes preparation and service. The internal temperature for holding cold egg dishes should be below 40º F; the internal temperature for holding hot egg dishes should be above 140º F for no more than 30 minutes.
The Egg Safety Cycle
The American Egg Board recommends thinking of egg safety as a four-part, ongoing cycle, which consists of inspecting, cleaning, testing and timing.
Eggs should be inspected as soon as you receive your eggs. Be sure to pay attention to quality and signs of damage.
Cleanliness is at the heart of all food safety, including eggs. Be sure that you discard any eggs that do not appear clean, and be sure to wash your hands before handling them.
When preparing both hot and cold fresh egg dishes, be sure to constantly and consistently test the temperature.
Timing works hand-in-hand with temperature, according to the American Egg Board. Be sure your eggs and egg dishes are at the right temperature for the correct amount of time.
The American Egg Board, in support of all foodservice professionals, offers more egg safety tips and recipes at www.aeb.org/foodservice.