Pastry making equipment
These are simple but so important in baking. Without a cooling rack, cakes and biscuits left to cool on a flat surface become soggy as steam gets trapped underneath. I think you'll find it useful to have two.
Sprinkling flour with your hands is not a good idea. (You try getting it even!) A dredger does the job perfectly and evenly without you having to think about it. An icing-sugar dredger, smaller and with a wire top, is also useful.
The flatter brushes (which look like miniature decorators' brushes) are the best for large surfaces, while the rounder shape is okay for brushing the rims of pastry. Warning: don't ever put pastry brushes in the dishwasher (they collect nasty bits and grit). Just wash them in warm, running water and a little washing-up liquid and rinse them thoroughly.
Fluted or plain or both, these come in tins where all the different sizes fit inside one another, from 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 3½ inches (9 cm). They're essential for making tartlets, biscuits and scones.
A pastry board is not absolutely necessary. A flat surface is all you need to roll out – a scrubbed kitchen top will do. If, however, you want to go on making pastry, you might like to invest in a piece of granite or marble. It is expensive and very heavy, but it lasts a lifetime and can be purchased from a stonemason or marble supplier. The ideal size is about 18 x 18 inches (46 x 46 cm).
This needs to be wooden, plain and straight without handles, which get in the way when you want to roll out large sheets of pastry.
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