Q:

Is eating raw flour bad?

A:

It is not safe to eat raw flour. Food Poisoning Bulletin warns that raw flour can contain pathogenic bacteria, and eating it can cause illness. Along with avoiding the consumption of any uncooked flour, it is important to treat raw flour the same as other potentially dangerous uncooked ingredients. To prevent cross-contamination, cooks should always sanitize surfaces exposed to raw flour and wash their hands after handling raw flour.

The New York Times reports that a 2009 E. coli outbreak was traced to the consumption of uncooked store-bought, ready-to-eat commercial cookie dough, and that the raw flour in the dough was likely the cause.

Dr. Karen Neil, a medical epidemiologist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains that raw flour was the only raw agricultural ingredient in the packaged uncooked cookie dough. Because it did not undergo any process to kill pathogens, it likely led to the contamination of the cookie dough. The eggs used in the dough were pasteurized, which kills pathogens, and the sugar, molasses, margarine and baking soda also went through several pathogen kill-steps during processing.

The New York Times reports that, according to a 2008 study, 53 percent of college students admitted to eating unbaked cookie dough.

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    Is plain flour the same as all-purpose flour?

    A:

    Plain flour is the same as all-purpose flour. It is an combination of hard and soft wheat and generally contains 8 to 11 percent wheat protein or gluten.

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    Where did flour originate?

    A:

    Flour is believed to have been produced for the first time during the Mesolithic or Neolithic Eras in the Middle East. The earliest forms of flour were made by grinding grass or wheat seeds between two stones.

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    What is gram flour?

    A:

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    How can I sift flour if I don't have a sifter?

    A:

    To sift flour without a sifter, pour the measured flour into a fine mesh strainer, and shake the strainer gently until all the flour falls through. If the flour still appears densely packed, use a whisk or fork to further aerate it.

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