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ATK Kids

Why Dental Floss Is a Baker’s Secret Weapon

You can use it when making everything from sticky buns to cookies to cake.
By Published Mar. 23, 2022

The next time you bake, you might want to get one unconventional tool from your cabinet. And no, I’m not talking about your kitchen cabinet—but your medicine cabinet. Open it and you will find something small and mighty that will change the way you bake: dental floss.

This nifty “tool” has many kitchen uses you might never have considered that will make certain baking tasks faster, cleaner, and more precise. I’ll get into those uses below, but before you take floss to the kitchen, make sure it’s unflavored—you don’t want to risk any off-flavors in your final product.

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Portioning Sticky Buns (and Slice-and-Bake Cookies)

One notable use for floss in the kitchen is for slicing sticky buns. When developing her renowned sticky bun recipe, Cook’s Illustrated Deputy Food Editor Andrea Geary found that by looping floss around the log of filled dough and pulling it tight, it’s super easy to get perfectly portioned, perfectly round buns with clean edges. It’s a technique the ATK Kids team loved for teens, which is why we adapted Andrea’s recipe for our latest cookbook, The Complete Cookbook for Teen Chefs. Slicing the buns with dental floss instead of a chef’s knife is safer and cleaner, and the final result looks bakery-worthy. You could even try the floss technique on other kinds of rolled-and-sliced buns, such as cinnamon rolls or honey buns, and slice-and-bake cookies.

Unsticking Cookies from a Baking Sheet

Just spent precious time making picture-perfect cookies, but now they’re stuck to the baking sheet? Pull a piece of floss taut and run it between the bottom of the cookies and the sheet to help free them without leaving a sizable piece of each cookie behind.

Slicing Cheesecake and Cake Layers

If you’ve made cheesecake or round cakes for layer cake, you know that they’re not exactly the cleanest baking projects. Floss cuts through the creamy filling of cheesecake beautifully, turning out photo-worthy slices. And when it comes to stacking layers of cake on top of each other, trimming the domed tops of each layer with floss will help get them flat and level. 

And More

Once you start using floss in the kitchen, you’ll surely keep finding all sorts of ways to make the most of it—after all, I haven’t even mentioned how you can use it in non-baking applications, such as cleanly slicing hard-boiled eggs down the middle and trussing up a bird or roast when you’re short on kitchen twine.

And after eating all those sugary things, you can use the floss for one last thing: its intended purpose. I’m sure your dentist will thank you.

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