Fine Tune Your Kill Step

kill step baking oven

The kill step. Sounds pretty intense….and it is. It’s the absolutely necessary point when harmful pathogens, like Salmonella spp., are eliminated. And it has to be absolutely effective to ensure baked goods are safe to eat, plus have a proper shelf life.

And now you need to document it

The first deadline has passed for larger bakeries to be compliant with FSMA, and smaller bakeries have under a year to show documentation of their kill step. A thermal kill step above 165°F should be held for at least 15 seconds to make sure the product is safe from foodborne illness.

As a baker, you need to document the correct temperature for each product you bake. And yes, it’s different for each product.

This is where the kill step calculator comes in

It allows you to calculate the lethality of the kill step for your different products and print a report for your records—pretty slick, huh? With the tools on the market, you can collect data on the core temperature during baking and the kill step.

How do the recording instruments and kill step calculator work together?

Oven temperatures are monitored using a 6 temperature point probe (data logger) that is placed into a baked good. Temperatures are recorded at 15 second intervals by the data logger. The process should be monitored at least 5 times. After the final run, all oven temperatures from the data logger are downloaded into an Excel spread sheet and analyzed.

The data points that took the longest amount of time to reach 170oF should be selected for analysis in the Process Lethality Fahrenheit Tab (Process Lethality Celsius if using Celsius) of the Kill-Step Calculator. Twenty points of data for time and temperature are needed for proper analysis.

Once the data is imported into the Kill-Step Calculator, Process Lethality will automatically be calculated.


About the Author:

Lin Carson, PhD
Dr. Lin Carson’s love affair with baking started over 25 years ago when she earned her BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University. She went on to earn her MSc then PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. Seeing that technical information was not freely shared in the baking industry, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. Today, as the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the commercial baking industry, BAKERpedia is used by over half a million commercial bakers, ingredient sellers, equipment suppliers and baking entrepreneurs annually. You can catch Dr. Lin regularly on the BAKED In Science podcast solving baking problems. For more information on Dr. Lin, subscribe to her "Ask Dr. Lin" YouTube Channel, or follow her on LinkedIn.

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