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This handy kitchen tool is called a pastry blender, or sometimes a pastry cutter. It’s a simple yet essential tool for bakers, especially those who love making pies, scones, biscuits, and other flaky pastries.

What It Does: The pastry blender is designed to quickly and efficiently cut cold butter or shortening into flour. This process creates small pieces of fat coated in flour, which is crucial for achieving a flaky texture in your baked goods. When the dough bakes, those little pockets of fat melt, creating steam that lifts the layers of dough, resulting in that delicious flakiness.

How It Works: The pastry blender’s design is key to its function. It has a series of parallel wires or blades attached to a handle. By pressing the blades down into the mixture of flour and fat, you can quickly cut the fat into small pieces without overworking the dough. This is important because too much heat from your hands can melt the fat, leading to a dense, tough pastry.

Why It’s Useful: While you can use a fork or your fingers to cut the fat into flour, a pastry blender makes the process much faster and easier. It ensures that the fat is evenly distributed throughout the dough, leading to a more consistent and delicious final product.


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