Baking Racks and Cooling Racks Explained
A baking rack, also known as a cooling rack, is considered an essential tool for cooling baked goods such as cookies, cakes and breads. A cooling rack is comprised of a grid of closely arranged wires with plenty of openings positioned on short legs so that it rests above the level of the countertop.
The design of a cooling rack allows air to circulate easily all around the food, thereby cooling the food down to perfection. In addition, when you cool down foods on a baking rack, it will prevent the condensation that occurs from steam that is released from hot food after it is baked, so that baked goods won’t become soggy.
Placing freshly baked goods on this raised surface will allow your baked goods to cool off evenly and quickly, a task that cannot be compared to simply placing your baked items on a plate, or leaving them in the pan to cool. Another important use for a baking rack is for cooling foods with excess fat. If you place a piece of freshly cooked meat on a cooling rack the fat will drain off easily, whereas if you allow the meat to cool down in its own fat, it will become soggy and less flavorful.
More About Cooling Racks
Another important thing to know about baking and cooling racks is that they can be found under different names. For example, steamer racks, which are usually round, can be used as cooling racks for cakes. Whereas wire grate pans, which are rectangular, can be used to cool off cookies and baked goods, or to drain the fat off meats To determine what type of rack you will need, you will want to determine the shape that is best suited to cooling off your food. Cooling racks can serve many purposes, so It is very likely that you will need more than one rack for your kitchen.
As mentioned above, racks come in different shapes. A round rack is perfect for cooling cakes and other baked goods, and are available in diameters that range from 10" to 18". Rectangular racks are suitable for cooling off cookies, or for allowing the fat to drain off cooked meats, and are available in half and full size models. If you are short on counter space, consider purchasing a tiered cooling rack, so multiple foods can cool off simultaneously.
Baking Rack Material
Most baking racks are made of chrome-plated or nickel-plated metal, although some can be made of other materials, such as stainless steel. Whatever you choose, it is important that the racks have thick, strong wires so they won't sag in the center when food is placed on it. If you plan on using a rectangular rack to drain off excess fat from meat, take the measurements of your steam table pan or roasting pan to determine the measurements of the rack that will be resting in it. If you will be using your racks to drain washed food, choose a model that will not rust.
Finally, it is important to consider how the baking racks you choose can be washed and stored. Check If they are handwashable or dishwasher safe. If they are dishwasher safe, can they fit in the dishwasher? Also, take note of their size and if they will fit snugly in your storage space along with your other cookie and baking sheets.