When it comes to baking and cooking in the kitchen, having a pastry brush can be an advantage. Basting brushes in baking are used for glazing loaves of bread and pastries with butter or an egg wash. A single pastry brush can be an all-around basting brush or even a spreading brush. You can use it on your roast, barbecue, marinades, and even doughs. But as a home baker, what can I use instead of a pastry brush?
Don’t let the product names fool you. A pastry brush and basting brushes are the same. If you are looking for the best pastry brush to keep your dough golden and your meat tender, we have a few tips and tricks you can try at home in case you are looking for a pastry brush substitute.
The Different Types Of Pastry Brushes
There are a ton of pastry brushes you can find online, and they come in different shapes and sizes.
- Wide, flat brushes are used to spread across wider surfaces.
- Round brushes work very well with small baked pastries.
- Hook brushes have a hook on the side that can hang along the edge of your bowl.
- Angled brushes are designed to get into tight nooks and crannies.
- Small brushes are used on small food types.
- Large brushes can hold a lot of liquid and can spread easily on large surfaces.
If you are choosing between regular pastry brushes and rubber kitchen brushes, you also have to consider the bristles. Just like paintbrushes, pastry brushes come in different bristles that absorb liquid and are needed for certain surfaces. When you ask, “What can I use instead of a pastry brush?”, you also have to know the different types of bristles. Here are the types you can choose from:
- Nylon Bristles works well for spreading thick liquids on large surfaces as it retains a high amount of liquid with its strong bristles. It is a tough pastry brush.
- Teflon Bristles have delicate bristles, but it can withstand being used in a high-temperature environment.
- Silicone Bristles are flexible bristles also designed to withstand heat and are ideal for spreading thicker liquids.
- Boar Bristles are ideal for absorbing oil and hold more liquid compared to other bristles.
Home Pastry Brush Alternatives
When you are working on a recipe that calls for the use of a pastry brush, and you do not have one on hand, you might be asking “What can I use instead of a pastry brush?” There are cooking brush substitutes that you can try, and these are also easy to make!
- A clean and unused paintbrush can work just as well. Make sure you’re using a paintbrush with bristles that do not easily fall off. A new and unused paintbrush is preferred because a brush dipped in paint can have toxic residues that you do not want in your food.
- An unused toothbrush also works but be gentle not to brush too much as the bristles may be tough.
- Coffee filters work great too. You can ball up the filter and dip it in your sauce or oils and gently dab it on your food or pastry.
- Paper towels work just as well but are thicker than coffee filters, which can hold a lot more liquid.
- Herbs and leaves give flavor. You can use your leafy greens as pastry brushes to baste your vegetables and meats. Use herbs from your garden to add flavor to your savory dish.
- A spoon also works just as well. Pour sauce on the food, and then you can use the back of the spoon to glaze.
How To Make Your Own Pastry Brush
Did you ever find yourself reaching for the drawer to find a brush for your dough because the recipe calls to egg-wash the crust? Only to find out you don’t have a pastry brush. Sometimes glazing with a spoon won’t do the trick because it may leave excess liquid.
Never put yourself in a tight spot again because you don’t have a pastry brush with you. Sometimes I ask the same thing – what can I use instead of a pastry brush? Well, it turns out, all you need is a roll of parchment paper!
- Cut a ten-inch strip of parchment paper then fold it over into a small rectangle. Fold it once more to make it smaller. You are basically making the bristles of the “brush.”
- Holding the paper at the fold, cut into the other side to make your bristles. Use a pair of scissors to cut strips. Make sure only to cut about half an inch away from the fold. You do not want to end up with shreds or bristles that easily fall off.
- Fan the strips out with your fingers before using them.
- You can use your hands to pinch the fold when brushing, or if you have clothespins, you can use that as the brush’s stick.
This little makeshift brush is perfect for basting and glazing with.
Most bakers and professional chefs love working with a standard and sturdy pastry brush with strong natural bristles because of its gentle touch. The only thing is that even the sturdiest brush with the loveliest bristles won’t last forever. Just like any object, no matter how much you clean it, it can be subject to wear and tear. You will find yourself buying pastry brushes often.
Don’t worry. A substitute pastry brush can work just as well as the regular thing. Substitute brushes can brush off excess flour, egg wash dough, glaze sweet pastries and cover delicious food with oil and melted butter. The next time I ask myself, “What can I use instead of a pastry brush?” Be sure to look around the kitchen, and even the art and crafts section! You and I may just have the perfect pastry brush substitute right under your own nose! Learn more tips about pastry brushes.