Making and decorating cakes with pets around
So you have dogs and are allowed to sell your cakes from your home kitchen. Making and decorating cakes with pets around can be a challenge.
A Cake Decorator received a complaint
One cake decorator had a customer complaint that there were dog hairs in the cookies. She refunded half. But the customer also had dogs, so who really knows from where the dog hair arrived. No one could prove anything. But if you are making cakes for pleasure and free for relatives or charging your customers, the common sense remains the same – to keep from adding anything nasty into your creations.
Selling cakes with furry friends involved
So how can you navigate the Baking journey making and decorating cakes with pets around?
Some states in the USA don’t allow the combination of a baking business plus pets. Indeed some states make our cake decorators go and rent a commercial kitchen. But that is another story…
But if you are allowed to sell cakes whilst owning pets then there are precautions you can take.
And here are our suggestions…
Food hygiene course
Ensure you apply and take a food hygiene course and get the certificate. This action should be taken regardless of having pets.
Ban the pets from the area
Keep the pets out of the kitchen. Shut the door or invest in a baby gate to keep the pets put.
Clean all equipment
If you use a silicone mat or cooking equipment, including your mixer and all attachments too. Ensure you thoroughly clean all equipment to be used. Hairs tend to stick to silicone.
Here is a hint to try
Try rolling out using two freshly ripped sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the cookie dough or fondant icing between the two sheets. In this way, no stray hair could get caught in the customer’s order.
Clothes, hair and skin
Tie your hair back. Wear a clean top with short sleeves and a clean washed apron or even a plastic disposable one. Use clothes that come straight from the tumble drier. Think about wearing athletic type clothes. Fur is not attracted to Lycra type material. Use a lint roller on your clothes and on your hands, arms and face too.
Disinfect all surfaces. Vacuum and sweep and mop the area. Use a microfibre cloth as this really attracts stray hairs and dust. A robot vacuum cleaner would cut down your work.
One Cake decorator ensured she washed the pendant light before starting work. This overhung her workbench and attracted dog hair. These float in the air. So you have to be scrupulously clean and fussy if pets are in your house. Charging for cakes whilst looking after pets can be a challenging combination.
Advice from Food Safety officials
I asked Environmental Health in UK what they recommended if you had pets. They said to remove the animals from the house whilst baking and decorating. I don’t have dogs or cats. And can see problems arising in the depths of winter. This would be especially tiresome when someone had cakes to create and needed to get the pets removed! But trying to bake on a sunny day…might be a challenge in some climates. But when you think about it after all…there is a reason dogs are not allowed in commercial kitchens.
Beware of working near an air-con vent as it pushes air towards your surface. Get an attachment to redirect the air. Get an air purifier for the kitchen.
At the end of the day, we can take precautions and we can do our best. We can make our orders as safe as we can for our customers.
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