Bowl scrapers conform to bowls’ curved sides, scraping up every last bit of dough for breads, cookies, and pastries. Which factors set the best models apart?
Published Nov. 13, 2020. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 22: Starring: Tomatoes
When we handle dough in the test kitchen, we often work with bowl scrapers. These small paddles are made of plastic, nylon, or silicone and have curved edges that help us manipulate dough. Unlike silicone spatulas, scrapers have no handles, which makes it easier to reach into bowls and create the leverage necessary to scrape up or gently fold dough. Bowl scrapers come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, textures, and materials, so we put together a diverse group to test. The prices of the eight scrapers in our lineup ranged from about $2 to about $13 per scraper. One model comes in a set with a pot scraper for handling stubborn cooked-on messes; we set the pot scraper aside until the end of testing and used only the bowl scraper in our initial tests. Another came in an affordable set of six identical scrapers; we tested only one. Multiple testers with various hand sizes used the scrapers to manipulate sticky, delicate Fougasse dough as well as dense speculoos cookie dough in both wide and narrow bowls. We also compared the scrapers with our winning silicone spatula throughout testing to see if they truly offered an advantage, and we washed each of them 10 times and bent them in our hands to test their durability. We were looking for a scraper with a versatile shape that could fit into all sorts of bowls, that was sturdy yet flexible, and that could hold up to long-term use.
As we worked with the scrapers, we examined each model’s size and shape, and some patterns in our preferences emerged. The scrapers varied in size from 3½ to 7 inches long and from 3¼ to 8 inches wide. One scraper was simply too large to fit comfortably in our hands. It was unwieldy to use in bowls of all sizes, especially in narrower ones such as that of our favorite high-end stand mixer. We found ourselves having to twist our hands awkwardly to wedge the scraper into the bowl. Conversely, we found a few scrapers to be too petite: Their curved scraping edges were shorter, so we caught less dough with each pass. Working with these models was inefficient. The remaining four scrapers were large enough to efficiently scrape large swaths of dough yet small enough to fit comfortably in our hands. One medium-size scraper that measured 5½ inches long by 4¼ inches wide stood out: It was comfortable to maneuver and worked efficiently.
The shapes of the scrapers also varied. Three models were shaped roughly like a capital D, with one flat edge and another curved edge. These scrapers weren't versatile. They worked well when their broad, curved edges exactly matched the curve of a bowl, but when we used them in narrower bowls, the...
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Chase is an associate editor for ATK Reviews. He's an epidemiologist-turned-equipment tester and biscuit enthusiast.