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Photo: Karen Culp (Shutterstock) Pastry brushes are essential kitchen tools, even if you’re not much of a baker. In addition to applying egg (or mayo ) washes to breads and pastries, you can use them to apply a slick sheen of mustard to a leg of lamb (to help the seasoning stick), baste a roast, or paint a whole chicken with mayonnaise . They do, however, get quite gunky. While the silicone brushes are much easier to clean than their bristled counterparts, I greatly prefer the bristles. Silicone isn’t as good at grabbing on to fat or liquid and, while a silicone brush does a decent job slopping sauces onto large cuts of meat, it’s not-well suited for applying thin washes to delicate pastries, and tends to leave large, visible brush strokes. The main advantage silicone brushes have over the traditional pastry brush is that you can chuck ‘em in the dishwasher. “Regular” wood handled brushes are cheap, however, and not that hard to clean. You just have to do it by hand, and make sure you dry the brush properly. How to clean a pastry brush Start by wiping off any congealed fat or gunk with a paper towel. Fat is the enemy of plumbing , so remove as much as you can and toss the dirty towels into the compost or trash. Next, grab a small bowl or coffee mug and add a healthy squirt of dish soap. Fill it with water, then mash and swirl the […]