How to Clean a Dirty Baking Brush

Pastry brushes are essential kitchen tools, even if you’re not a baker. In addition to applying egg (or mayonnaise ) dressing to bread and pastries, you can use them to add a mustard sheen to a leg of lamb (to help the seasoning stick), drizzle over a roast, or color a whole chicken with mayonnaise. . However, they become quite sticky.

While silicone brushes are much easier to clean than their bristle counterparts, I prefer bristles. Silicone doesn’t absorb fat or liquid as well, and while a silicone brush does a good job of spreading sauces on large cuts of meat, it’s not very good at applying thin washes to delicate pastries and tends to leave large, visible brush strokes.

The main advantage of silicone brushes over traditional pastry brushes is that they are dishwasher safe. However, “regular” wood-handled brushes are cheap and not that hard to clean. You just need to do it by hand and make sure you dry the brush properly.

How to clean a pastry brush

Start by wiping off any hardened grease or grime with a paper towel. Grease is the enemy of plumbing , so remove as much as possible and throw dirty towels in compost or trash.

Then take a small bowl or coffee mug and add a healthy drop of dish soap. Fill it with water, then mash and swirl the bristles in a bowl. Rinse and repeat if bristles still feel tacky.

Scrub the handle (and the part where the bristles meet the handle), then rinse again. As you rinse, run your fingers over the bristles to make sure soap doesn’t build up at the base.

Now you must dry. Leaving the brush wet can cause discoloration and/or warping of the wood, and (potentially) mold on the bristles and handle. Pat the bristles dry with a clean kitchen towel and place them on a dish rack to dry completely. Kitchn recommends leaving the comb in salt overnight to absorb any remaining moisture (salt is naturally hygroscopic), but you can also blow dry it (my preferred method).

If you notice that your brush is starting to lose bristles, or is emitting a strange smell, or despite your best efforts, you are starting to notice a little mold, throw it away and buy a new one. (They cost as much as three dollars at a restaurant supply store .)

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