Baking 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 baking or 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 baking 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 matched by simply placing 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. For example, by placing a piece of freshly cooked meat on a cooling rack the fat will drain off easily, versus allowing the meat to cool down in its own fat to become soggy and less flavorful.
Once you have determined that baking racks are essential, what else do you need to know about purchasing a baking rack? Firstly, they come in varying shapes and sizes, so before considering your purchase, determine the use, or multiple uses, you will have for your baking racks. It is most likely that you will need more than one baking rack for your kitchen. Consider a round one for cooling cakes; a square one for cooling off cookies; and a rectangular one for allowing the fat to drain off cooked meats. If you are short on counter space, consider purchasing a tiered cooling rack, so multiple foods can cool off simultaneously.
Most baking racks are metallic, although some can be made of other materials. Whatever you choose, it is important that any baking rack have thick, strong wires so it will not sag in the center when food is placed on it. If you plan on using your cooling rack to drain off excess fat from meat, take the measurements of the roasting pan to determine the measurements of the cooling rack that will be resting in it. If you will be using your baking racks to drain washed food, choose a model that will not rust.
Lastly, consider how the baking racks you choose can be washed and stored. Check If they are dishwasher safe; if they can fit in the dishwasher; and if they will fit with your other cookie and baking sheets snugly in storage.