Experienced bakers and pastry chefs know that the secret to the beautiful golden-brown pie crust is the egg wash. To get beautiful color, sealed edges, and a shiny finish, reach for the pastry brush. A longtime staple of commercial kitchens, the humble pastry brush, also known as a basting brush, has a place in home kitchens, too.
Pastry brushes come in a variety of styles and materials, including boar bristle, silicone and nylon. Sarah Kieffer, founder of The Vanilla Bean Blog and author of “100 Cookies,” says that she prefers a natural bristle brush because it holds whatever liquid she’s using (egg wash, cream, water) better and brushes on more evenly; silicone tends to drip quickly off the bristles and can cause a slight mess. Kate McDermott, James Beard-nominated author of “Art of Pie” and “Pie Camp” also uses a boar bristle brush that she gets from a hardware store, but mostly to brush off extra flour. She prefers to use a silicone brush when applying liquid, referring to it as her “sloshy brush.”
We tested numerous popular brushes to find the best pastry brushes out there.
What We Like
- Dishwasher safe
- Soft grip is easy to hold
- Angled head prevents bristles from touching countertop
What We Don’t Like
- Bristles can sometimes shed
OXO is a brand known for its affordable, durable products. This pastry brush is no exception with its slip-resistant, grippy handle that is designed for maximum comfort. In addition, the sealed base keeps food and liquid from accumulating and causing bacterial growth.
Beyond the intuitive design of the handle, the head is smartly crafted, as well. The natural boar bristles are pliable with thick bristles that hold enough liquid for basting large batches of cherry turnovers but are not so thick that the brush is stiff, ruining delicate pastry designs. The angled head keeps the brush elevated so bristles do not touch the countertop, even when we set the brush down during testing. The slight angle also means brushing harder-to-reach areas, like the edges, nooks and crannies of an Instagram-worthy woven pie crust is easier to do. Best of all, it’s dishwasher safe, unlike a lot of natural hair bristle brushes.