The Easy Hack To Turn Parchment Paper Into A Pastry Brush

A pastry brush is one of those specialty items that the average home cook may not have lying around. And yet, it can be helpful for making everything from baked tuna steak with sesame-miso glaze, to Italian Easter pie, to flaky British sausage rolls. Even if you don't have the actual tool on hand, as long as you have parchment paper and scissors, you've got all you need to whip up an impromptu pastry brush. So, if you find yourself halfway through a recipe and suddenly realize you need a brush that you don't currently own, you won't have to make a run to the store.

Here's what to do: Cut out a long piece of parchment paper and fold it in half twice. Then, make cuts along one of the shorter ends of the rectangle so that the fringe resembles the bristles of a pastry brush. Once you're done, unfold the paper once and roll it up so that it can act as a handle, while the bristles fan out slightly at the sides. If it feels like the whole thing will fall apart, you can loop a rubber band or hair tie around the roll to give you a better grip on the handle. It may sound a little complicated, but it can come together in five minutes or less. Plus, once you're done, you can throw the whole thing out instead of laboring over cleaning out your pastry brush's bristles.

A one-and-done pastry brush

Although this parchment paper hack comes together quickly, you're still going to want to make sure you cut everything somewhat proportionally to make a final product that resembles a brush. When you're tearing off the initial sheet, try to keep it to a 10 to 12-inch long piece. Then when you're cutting the bristles, make sure they're no more than ½ inch long — any longer and it'll be hard to direct your egg wash (or whatever else you're using this for). You may also want to loosen the bristles a little with your fingers before you put your makeshift brush to use so that they spread out your egg wash evenly.

It's worth noting that a parchment paper brush is a little less sturdy than the real thing, so you'll want to work as quickly as possible to get everything coated. The bristles may soak through after a while, making it harder to lightly move the spread around. But as long as you work efficiently, a little parchment paper and scissors can be the easy answer to your pastry brush prayers.