Baking Safety 101
Whether you bake professionally or for your own pleasure, baking is an enjoyable and rewarding activity. However, it's important to adopt proper safety habits while baking; the kitchen is home to many potential accidents, and a moment of inattention can have painful consequences. Don't allow your love of food to turn into a preventable accident.
Raw or improperly prepared foods can easily lead to serious illnesses; more than 76 million people are sickened from food-borne illnesses each year. Resist the urge to eat batter and dough, especially if your recipe includes eggs; consuming raw dough can expose you to dangerous bacteria. Use separate cutting boards for each of your ingredients. Wash your hands regularly with hot, soapy water.
Each year, more than a million people seek emergency medical treatment for knife-related accidents. Anyone can accidentally cut themselves, but you can take a few steps to reduce your risk. First, always cut on a cutting board, and always cut on non-slip surfaces. You're much more likely to cut yourself if the cutting board unexpectedly slips when you try to cut your ingredients. Keep your knives sharpened; you won't have to use as much force when you cut with a sharp knife. If a knife falls, don't attempt to catch it. No matter how expensive your knife may be, replacing it will probably be cheaper than a visit to the emergency room.
Avoid Burns and Fires
Baking causes more than 150,000 house fires and 100,000 burns annually. Always use oven mitts when pulling food out of the oven, and pay careful attention as you pull your dishes out. It's easy to carelessly touch the sides of the oven, leading to painful burns. After you've pulled your food out of the oven, allow it to cool before touching it. Finally, if you're cooking anything that may drip grease or batter out of its pan, such as a turkey or a cheesecake, place a cookie sheet underneath the baking dish to catch any spills. If too much grease drips onto the heating elements in your oven, it may start a fire in your oven. Always keep a small fire extinguisher near your kitchen for emergency situations.