L.A. Times Test Kitchen tips: The handy bench scraper
A simple thing, really, it's nothing more than a flat piece of metal or plastic, sometimes with a handy grip at one end. Unassuming, but totally indispensable.
True to its name, the bench scraper is perfect for scraping your work surface clean. Whether you're cleaning up after kneading a batch of dough, shaving tempered chocolate, or collecting all your freshly minced carrots, a scraper's wide edge makes quick work of it.
It also works well when you're portioning dough for rolls or cutting cookie logs (hence the name "bench knife"). Many scrapers come with both flat and rounded edges, making for a super-size spatula of sorts -- great when you're scraping every last bit of frosting or appetizer dip out of your mixing bowl.
Best of all, they're cheap. That plain white one on the left of the photo above should set you back no more than $1. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I'd recommend a sturdy metal scraper with a wooden or plastic handle (I have one at home that even has a ruler on one end for quick measuring); I've seen them run around $10.
If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Noelle Carter
Photo credit: Noelle Carter