I was in my favorite cake supply store this week buying bavarian cream filling in the sleeve. I asked if it was ok to not refrigerate it and the lady said, "It has to be refrigerated once it's opened." No surprise! But then when I said "But the cake that has it for filling doesn't have to be refrigerated, right?" Her reply was, "It's ok for a few hours but longer than that it should be." I was surprised and I wonder if she's right. If so I don't see any reason to use it rather than to make my own perishable filling....... which tastes better anyway!
Bunny....I'm anxious to hear what they say. The lady who told me that may have been mistaken....I certainly hope so!! I hadn't planned to refrigerate the cake and I really don't want to. But then again I don't want to make anyone sick!
I just got off the phone with Brian, a Quality Assurance Manager at Brill, the company that produces Henry & Henry fillings in sleeves. I had emailed a general question about product shelf life and the result was this phone call. I'm impressed with the their customer service!
Many of us buy the H&H filling in clear plastic sleeves and there are often questions about how they should be stored and for how long they are good.
Brian said their products have a pH below 4.6 and that means they are shelf stable. They do not require refrigeration, even after they are opened. He said this is generally true of their competitors, too, with the possible exception of cream cheese filling. The H&H brand is definitely shelf stable but there may be other brands that aren't.
Ideal storage is at 68 to 72 degrees (comfortable room temperature) and out of direct light. Under those conditions they guarantee the product for a year, for maximum quality. Heat and/or direct light will age the product faster, decreasing the quality but not the safety of the filling. Light colors such as apricot may start to fade faster than dark colors such as raspberry.
Once the filling sleeve is opened it will retain maximum quality for 4 to 8 weeks. It will be safe much longer than that but quality may start to deteriorate.
It is important to note that this advice applies to as-packaged filling. If you mix it with something else, that could change its pH level and also change its storage requirements or shelf life. In particular, Brian recommends against thinning the filling with water.
I know that many of us like to use these products because so many homemade recipes require the cakes to be refrigerated, which isn't always practical. (They are also tasty and economical.) It is good to get this information from the manufacturer.
I am still waiting to see what they tell me as I contacted them this morning too by e-mail. Bunny
"Our fruit fillings and Bavarian crème filling does not require refrigeration and has a 360 day shelf life in the container. We are not able to advise how long the product will last once it is out of the container because there are many variables that could possibly affect the shelf life. Thanks for taking time to contact CSM Bakery Products.
Carol Sperlik Tradeshow Coordinator CSM Bakery Products"
That is how I am taking it too, SG. The variables they are talking about are the heat and humidity and direct sunlight. If it was me? To error on the side of caution, I would refrigerate the cakes for food safety.
I got to thinking about this thread and I sent an email to the makers of Henry and Henry, the brand of Bavarian Cream filling I use. Here is the message I sent last week, and the reply I received today:
I have a question regarding Bavarian Cream filling. I understand that once opened, the filling in the sleeve must be refrigerated. But what about the filling in the cake? How long, if at all, can the cake be left out? If used in a wedding cake, is there a problem keeping the cake on display in an air-conditioned room? I would be grateful for your reply. Thank you!
Please read the following in regards to your inquiry below:
These fillings, #111352 Continental Bavarian Crème and #20350520 Redi-Pak Bavarian Pastry Filling (see attached specs), are considered shelf stable as sold because the pH level is less than 4.6. After opening, these fillings may be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to two weeks provided clean utensils and proper handling. As long as the pH stays below 4.6 while in a baked product, these fillings should be shelf stable. Unfortunately, however we cannot advise neither guarantee the shelf stability of a baked good i.e. cake containing such fillings that we have not prepared.
So, it seems to me that Henry and Henry brand is ok for these type of circumstances. They do NOT guarantee that the Bavarian Cream sold by other manufacturers would be ok. ONLY HENRY AND HENRY.
If someone else wants to check with the makers of other brands, let us know what they say. I use Henry and Henry, and I know I'm clean and that I handle food properly. I wouldn't use this outside in the summer or in a room that was not air conditioned on a hot day, but for normal occasions and situatioons, I think it is ok to use Henry and Henry. The information that Jeanne got two years ago holds true today.
BUT..............BUT.......how can you insure that the PH level is 4.6 or less if out in say 75-80* temps inside of a cake?
I can not. That is the unknown for me. The manufacturers can not guarantee that either. That is why I say I like to err on the side of caution and still refrigerate because I can control if that cake is going to be at 40* inside of a frig therefore making it safe to consume. What controls PH levels to rises and to what degree? I dunno?????????
It is gamble. A sheer gamble I think when it comes to this.
I've sent a new email. This time I asked if temperatures affect the pH level, and if so, at what temperature do they recommend refrigeration. I also asked what other factors that we encounter might adversely affect the pH level. Stay tuned. I'll report back when I get a response.
Wow, yall are awesome.
Where can I get Henry and Henry products? Do I have to order it online? I looked at the grocery store for any tpe of cake filling and all I saw was pie filling. Is it ok to use this in a cake?
The temperature will not affect the pH level. That is the level of acid/alkalinity in the product. If it is below 4.6 then microbes can not grow, it is too acidic. I personally would advise to refrigerate, just because that is best, but if you have the cake out of the fridge for several hours while a party is going on you won't have a problem.
All the company emails are always going to err on the side of caution, and will NEVER guarantee anything, that's just because of the legal issues with food safety etc. If you have a fresh baked cake and you cut it open with a clean knife and fill it with this filling then you will be fine for the duration of the cake.
When I was a donut maker we had this kind of Bavarian filling sitting on the shelf in a big bucket and it was open and unrefrigerated until it was empty, usually about 8 days. It wasn't cool in the donut frying corner, but it wasn't hot either and this filling wasn't affected. It's a bit scary when you really think about it, what exactly is this stuff made out of??
Exactly Sweetgrandma! I don't have allot, but the things I do have I don't want to be taken away from me all because of a cake I made for someone. I always, always, ALWAYS err on the side of caution just to be safe.