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If you know me, you know that I am extremely choosy about my kitchen tools. I don’t mean that I always have to have the very best or the fanciest; in fact, I often find that a $3 tool is better than a $30 tool. Instead, I mean that if I don’t use a tool, it will not last long in my kitchen. I will give it away or donate it or throw it out rather than have it create clutter.

Only tools that have real value will maintain a place in my kitchen, and that’s true whether my kitchen is itty-bitty (as it is right now) or palatial (as it has been in the past). The very best tools serve multiple functions.

Such is the case with one of my absolute kitchen essentials for baking and cooking: my bench scraper. As it turns out my bench scraper is also my go-to cleaning tool.

Why a Bench Scraper Is a Kitchen Essential

A bench scraper is intended to be a tool for cutting, scooping, and transferring dough. And it does this very, very well. But it is so much more than that! I would argue that it is one of the most versatile kitchen tools in any chef’s arsenal.

You may find yourself, for example, using your bench scraper to transfer a large mound of chopped vegetables, herbs, or whatever from your cutting board to the appropriate pot/pan/bowl. Want to make a garlic and salt paste? Use your bench scraper. Need to cut butter into chunks (for whatever reason)? Yes, your bench scraper will do the task.

But, actually, the task I find my bench scraper most useful for is cleaning. Crusty flour on the counter? Dried-on herbs on my cutting board? Old cat food on my dinner table? Bench scraper to the rescue.

The blade is dull enough that you don’t have to worry about damaging your kitchen surfaces or the blade itself, but it’s sharp enough that running it against your granite countertop will result in really satisfying results.

I find it most gratifying when I clean my large wooden cutting board. A pass or two with my bench scraper yields dirty, mucky stuff that I don’t question, but simply wash down the drain. I’m just glad whatever it is isn’t on my cutting board when I go to make my next meal.

If You Don’t Have a Bench Scraper

My bench scraper is nondescript. It it all metal. It doesn’t have a brand on it. I suspect I picked it up from a kitchen supply store. I wish I could recommend this specific one, but I honestly don’t know where it comes from.

The truth is: It does not have to be fancy. In fact, it is probably better if it is not fancy. This Norpro Scraper is a good bet and a good value at $6. Some Kitchn editors like this bench scraper from OXO Good Grips, which is only slightly more expensive at $10. Either way, I highly recommend investing in one.





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