It is a tool that helps spread liquids onto foods.
Pastry brushes were traditionally made on animal hair, then synthetic hair was used and now silicone is the modern material for kitchen brushes.
The brush featured in the images of this page has silicone bristles.
Whatever the material used, the bristles of a pastry brush have the same goal in mind as a paint brush (to spread liquid evenly over a surface).
While basting brushes and pastry brushes can be the exact same tool, they are classified as different tools by the Utensil Organization 1 List.
Earlier I compared a pastry brush to a paint brush and even though these two types of brushes could be the exact same tool they are referred to with different names.
No one painting their house goes to a hardware store looking for a large pastry brush.
Just as paint and pastry are different, so are pastry and meat juices. This is particularly true for vegetarians.
The size of the brush and the material the bristles are made of are the main things to decide on.
Silicone pastry brushes have become very popular and have great features (like not burning) and can come in colorful options.
Natural bristles are typically boars hair. These are the tradition brushes and they have been doing the job for hundreds of years, so they are doing something right!
Synthetic bristles are cheap but they are plastic or nylon fiber, which can be hit or miss as far as melting / burning / quality goes.
We think every kitchen should give the silicone brushes a try, but there is sometimes no replacing the traditional (natural) cooking brushes.
The best feature of silicone is that the bristles do not shed, fall off or end up on your food.
This is the tool we featured on this page. The Oxo silicone pastry brush is available in both large and small sizes.