The Type Of Pastry Brush You May Want To Avoid

Whether buttering croissants or egg-washing a soon-to-be flaky pie crust, the right pastry brush can put the finishing touches on baked goods. Small yet mighty, these culinary tools turn average-looking recipes into something that could have been made by a professional. Yet pastry brushes come in an assortment of different sizes, warns Food & Nutrition, and certain kinds of pastry brushes require a bit more care to clean.

With so many different types of brushes out there, it's possible to start a collection devoted to this kitchen object, notes Bon Appétit. That's great for the serious bakers among us, but what about everyday home chefs?

If you're not eager to start a collection of pastry brushes, the site recommends investing in an all-purpose flat brush made of natural or nylon bristles. An inch to inch-and-a-half width is a strong starting point, and if you decide a different brush is needed for a specific culinary project, you can always consider purchasing another. But for golden coats and uniformly-applied washes, there's one brush, in particular, you'll want to leave behind at the store.

Time to retire your silicone brushes

Sure, brightly-colored silicone brushes might be fun to look at, but, as Food & Wine admits, these cutesy brushes are less than ideal for painting egg washes onto dough. The point of pastry brushes is to coat items with even washes, not clumpy ones, and since silicone doesn't absorb liquid like more natural kinds of bristles, washes are more likely to slide right off the rubbery material. 

Bon Appétit suggests that fine-haired brushes give crusts, biscuits, and pastries the rightful attention they deserve. Look for bristles made from nylon, recommends Food & Wine. And while nylon or natural bristle brushes might be a bit more of a hassle to clean up, they aren't as expensive as the trendy-looking silicone brushes and can easily be replaced when your brush becomes too ragged to use. Plus, these kinds of brushes have other uses: You can use them to brush away crumbs or swipe flour off of a surface. Utility and value? We're sold.