By Elsie Callender, Contributing Writer
This post is part of the Kitchen Tools of the Trade series!
Are you trying to cook from scratch more? If you think that that’s a step toward a real food diet, you’re absolutely right.
Now…how do you rank in the realm of baking? Maybe you’re like me–you find the rhythm of measuring, mixing, and kneading therapeutic. Or perhaps baking isn’t your thing, but the extra sugar, hydrogenated oils, and artificial colors of many store-bought baked goods just doesn’t sound appealing. Either way, if you’re aiming for a less processed diet, baking will likely take a more prominent role in your kitchen repertoire.
A few years ago, I “discovered” a tool to simplify my baking routine: a pastry mat. I now consider it one of my top ten best kitchen tools. My 16” x 24″ silicone pastry mat is made by The Pampered Chef, but I’ve seen versions of it in department stores and online.
A pastry mat streamlines the process for many baked goods by providing a large work space for rolling out dough. It’s perfect for rolling pie crusts, farmhouse muffins, scones, naan, or yeast dough for caramel sticky buns.
I love my pastry mat because I don’t have to deal with prepping and cleaning up the counter, a task I’ve loathed since I was a girl. I use a nylon knife or a piece of string to cut dough straight on the mat. Once my creation is in the oven, I just rinse off the pastry mat, hang it to dry, and then roll it up for storage.
Easy. I’m pretty sure I bake more just so I can use it…