Hello, my friends, and welcome back to another sweet instalment of Will It Sous Vide?, a column where I make whatever you want me to with my immersion circulator.
I asked people to come up with some sugary suggestions, and raw, completely-safe-for-consumption, cookie dough emerged as the king of Sugar Mountain.
Though I’ve been eating raw cookie dough my entire life, as I get older, I’ve become a slightly more cautious lady, so this project seemed pretty reasonable (and very delicious).
Unfortunately, this was not a task that could be done in one bag. Flour needs to be heated to 71°C to kill any nasty pathogens that may be lurking around and, as we know from various eggsperiments we’ve conducted before, eggs start cooking at temperatures lower than that (around 60 degrees Celsius.) Since our goal here is delicious raw cookie dough, fit to be eaten in pajamas while watching crappy TV, not cookie dough-flavored scrambled eggs, I decided to break the process up into two parts.
First, we needed to pasteurize the eggs. According to this study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, submerging raw eggs in a 57°C water bath for 75 minutes takes care of any salmonella that may hanging out in and around your eggs.
We didn’t really need the critter clips for this, but it just didn’t feel right without them.
Like all sous-vide egg cooking, this was a pretty easy process. I just heated up the bath, gently set the little guys down in there, and walked away. After 75 minutes, I removed them and placed them in an ice bath to stop any cooking that was going on and let them cool completely. When I cracked them open I noticed the whites were a little opaque, but nothing had coagulated, so we seemed good to go.
I spy an egg lurker.
Next up, it was time to tackle the flour. I set the Anova at 71°C, scooped the required amount of flour into a freezer bag, and threw a few butter knives in there to make sure it would stay submerged. (Pro-tip: Make sure to remove the knives before mixing the rest of your ingredients into your flour!)
I wasn’t sure how long it would take the flour to get to 160℉, so I checked the temperature every half hour or so until it reached the target temperature.
- 0:30: 53°C
- 1:00: 63°C, Making good progress.
- 1:30: 66°C, We had slowed down significantly, so I decided to give it a full hour — just enough time to pop out for a drink with my boyfriend and distract him from the very stressful Cubs game.
- 2:30: So there’s good news and bad news: The Cubs won, but my flour was only at 67.5°C (Even more good news: I found a bottle of wine I forgot about!)
- 3:00: 69°C, by this point I am drunk and sleepy and feel personally attacked by how long this is taking.
- 3:30: 69°C, I am going to murder the world.
- 4:00: 71°C, It is well past midnight. I hate sous-vide cooking and all it stands for.
So I wouldn’t say this is the most efficient way to heat up flour, but we got there eventually, and I now had perfectly safe flour and eggs with which to make perfectly safe cookie dough.
Oh look, it’s those knives.
Using the recipe printed on the package of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels — because I’m pretty basic when you get down to it — I mixed up a batch of delicious chocolate chip cookie dough and enjoyed it with my morning coffee. (Note: Though there was no chemical reason to include baking soda, I like the slightly bitter taste it brings, and left it in for authenticity’s sake.)
It tasted very good. (It tasted like cookie dough.)
But going back to everyone’s favourite — though I’ve been told grammatically incorrect — question: Will raw cookie dough sous vide?
The Answer: I mean, yeah, but the main takeaway here is how easy it is to pasteurize your own eggs. There’s a much easier tool in your kitchen for heating up flour to 71°C, and it is the science oven (aka “microwave”). I actually don’t own a microwave — I’m disappointed in me too — so I can’t give you empirical data on long it will take, but according to the blog HowToCAKEThat, 55 seconds in a 1200-watt microwave should get you there. (FIFTY FIVE DAMN SECONDS.)
So there’s not point in sous vide-ing your flour — it’s just a giant, frustrating waste of energy — but there is great merit in pasteurizing eggs this way. Though I’ve never personally been made ill by a raw egg, it can happen, and it’s nice to be able to make egg, mayo, and raw cookie dough with eggs you know aren’t going to eff up your shit, both literally and figuratively.