I was interviewed by a baking magazine a few weeks ago, because apparently I am the foremost expert on cooking with beer. This was the second interview I’ve done on the subject for a print magazine. One question always gets asked, so I figure some of you might have this same question:
“Does the alcohol cook off? Is it safe for kids?”
The short answer is: yes. The long answer, it depends.
Let me explain. No matter how much you cook beer, or any alcohol for that matter, some trace amounts remain. So trace, that their effects will never be felt, nor will the alcohol enter your blood stream. The USDA deems the consumption of cooked alcohol safe for all ages as well as pregnant women, you can see evidence of this when you are able to order steak in a red wine sauce or a rum raisin cake without being carded.
In order for the beer to be cooked enough to remove the alcohol it must be cooked at 170 (or above) for at least 10 minutes. This isn’t much. Everything that is baked will meet these requirements. Pan fried items generally will also meet the requirements, and although beer battered items aren’t cooked for ten minutes, the heat is so high and the amount of alcohol so small (about 1tbs per serving) the amount of alcohol actually left behind is minimal.
Because of this, I see no health concerns with the consumption of cooked beer. The only concerns that I do have are moral. I cook often, and have a diverse group of friends, among them are people who have moral conflicts with alcohol, such as Mormons and people in recovery. I would strongly suggest that if you are cooking for others, let people who may be morally opposed to consuming alcohol know what they are about to be served. Someone in AA might be triggered by the taste of beer, and some religions condemn the consumption of alcohol in all forms, even trace amounts.
Wow, not that thats out of the way, I have a Stout Hot Chocolate for you. And with your newly acquired beer cooking knowledge you have full control over how boozy you make it.
Head over to Rachel Cooks for the recipe.