Cooling racks really are an essential piece of equipment for a baker. They create a perfect place for a hot pan, or a de-panned baked good, to cool down evenly and quickly. Unlike a trivet, which will simply hold a hot object off of your countertop or table, the design of a cooling rack allows air to circulate through it, reaching all sides of a pan. As the pan cools down far more quickly than it otherwise would (especially if placed directly on an insulating surface, like many countertops), your cookies/cakes/etc. are prevented from overbaking in the residual heat of the pan. The same applies to baked goods that have been removed from their pans to cool down individually on wire racks. In these cases, racks also serve the additional purpose of preventing condensation, from the steam released of the hot food, from collecting and making the edges of your baked goods soft or mushy as your baked goods cool.
Size does matter, to an extent, when it comes to cooling racks. Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and other smallish baked goods don't need a rack of a particular size to cool because they are small and can be placed close together on a rack, although you might need an extra one or two if you routinely bake large batches and have dozens of cookies cooling at once. Once you get into cakes, you're going to want a cooling rack that is large enough to comfortably hold an entire cake. 10-inches seems to be the largest standard pan size (for bundt cakes and round cakes), so a rack that is at least 10-inches across should serve just about all of your needs.
I don`t do a ton of baking, but I do my fair share of it. The Bellemain Heavy-Duty Pastry-Chef Quality Oven Safe Cooling Rack
is a nice cooling rack that is easy to store and of course functions as it should. Using cooling racks prevents soggy, burnt, brittle or dry baked goods. You can also use the rack for to prevent heat scorching of countertops while quick-cooling hot pans - who would have thought right?! Makes sense, but not something that generally pops into mind when purchasing a cooling rack. The baking rack is well made, durable, and fits in most standard baking pans. It`s also easy to clean by tossing it in the dishwasher. Overall I`m satisfied with my cooling rack. When not in use it`s easy to store in the storage compartment under the store or in a kitchen cabinet - the choice is yours.
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